Johannesburg – One of South Africa’s finest embroidery artists, Danielle Clough, has embarked on an online embroidery art coaching programme aimed at reviving and promoting the dying art.
“I have an online workshop with Skillshare. It is a Skillshare Original, so produced and supported by them. The online class has a similar structure to the live workshops, which is geared towards learning the basics and instilling confidence to find and explore your own voice in the medium of embroidery,” she said this week.
Embroidery is the art of decorating material, primarily textile fabric, by means of thread and needle, and sometimes fine wire. The basic techniques include crewel work, needlepoint, cross-stitch embroidery, quilting, quillwork and feather work.
“I feel very differently now and research the history of needlework continently, which is so fascinating and dates back to paleo man and needles made of fishbone. We dub this medium old fashioned; only because of the value we have given it and its dips in popularity over time.
“We don’t consider painting old fashioned because unlike painting, which is consistent, it goes in and out of style. Despite this, I feel like it will always be around. Our innate desire to embellish cloth has been around for centuries and crosses into every culture. It will always have new forms of ‘contemporary’ as we go on,” she said.
Clough, whose vibrant and unique embroidery creations have seen her gain attention locally and internationally, says with the rise of the internet provides an opportunity to grow the art; and encouraged people to take advantage of social media to market their talent.
“South Africa is bursting at the seams with young creatives. With the internet and social media giving space for self-promotion, I think the growth is going to be exponential. There isn’t the same need for galleries, agencies and platforms to gate-keep these talents. Because of this, I feel that the ‘scene’ and industry is shifting rapidly and I’m really excited about what’s next,” said Clough.
She has in the past worked with big brands such as Gucci, Instagram, David Letterman, Netflix and Adobe. She has also featured in the New York Times and CNN.
“I have had the opportunity to travel with my work to New York to film a class, Australia for a workshop tour and the UK for a street art festival.”