Artists, designers, and embroiderers

Artists, designers, and embroiderers

Also written acu pictura. This is a medieval Latin term meaning ‘painting with a needle,’ referring to embroidery.

Adnan Akbar is a late twentieth-century Saudi fashion designer, who uses hand and machine embroidery for decorating women’s clothing. From an early age, Akbar was interested in designing clothing. As a young man, he was sent to a college in Pakistan in order to study political science, but at night he learnt how to embroider and create elaborate designs from local embroiderers.

Yahya al-Bishri is a Saudi Arabian fashion designer who uses embroidery to decorate men’s wear. Yahya al-Bishri was born in Abha, southwestern Saudi Arabia, and later moved to Jeddah. He was trained as a fashion designer at the Istituto Marangoni, Milano, Italy and the Paris American Academy, Paris, France. He also spent a period at the fashion house of Jean-Louis Scherrer (Paris).

Born in Seoul, South Korea and having emigrated with her family to Modesto, California (USA) in 1992, she earned her BA in Art and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008. She then went on to gain a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Fine Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011, followed by an MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013.

Manish Arora, born in Mumbai in 1972, is one of India's leading fashion designers. He trained at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi, where he graduated in 1994. He launched his own fashion label ('Manish Arora') in 1997. He showed his creations at the London Fashion Week in 2005, and at the Paris Fashion Week in 2007.

Ana Teresa Barboza is a textile artist from Lima, Peru, where she still has her workshop.  Much of her earlier work focussed on the human body and the means by which embroidery could be applied to fragment, recompose and decorate the body. She also is interested how dress is used to reflect different relationships. She also explores the use of 'feminine' embroidery to articulate situations of affection and agression. 

Sarah Bland (1810-1905) was listed as a 'gentlewoman' in the British 1851 census, and she is not listed as having an occupation in succeeding censuses. She is however known for her many designs, of a very high quality, that she copied or designed for embroidery, and which she collected into an album. Many of the designs are now held in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. 

Agnes Blencowe was an English embroideress and one of the founders of the Ladies Ecclesiastical Embroidery Society. She was the daughter of John Prescott Blencowe and Pleasance Everard, who had a total of eleven children, most of whom never married. Agnes Blencowe acted as housekeeper to her brother, the Rev. Edward Everard Blencowe.

Mabel of Bury St Edmunds was a thirteenth century English embroideress, whose name is often mentioned in connection with the production of opus anglicanum. Her name is linked to King Henry III (1216-1272), for whom she worked various embroideries.

David Catá is a Spanish artist who uses his own body as the ground material for embroidery. Catá studied Fine Arts (B.A.) at Vigo University, Pontevedra, and then in 2010 photography at Madrid’s EFTI. He has won or been cited for various art and photography prizes between 2010 and 2013.

Cennino d'Andrea Cennini was an Italian painter who also produced patterns for embroidery and lace. He is most famous for his book, Il libro dell’Arte, which includes details of various painting techniques then in current use.

Judy Chicago (USA, 1939) is an American artist whose large-scale projects incorporate embroidered elements. Chicago is best known for The Dinner Party, a collaborative installation on permanent display in the Brooklyn Museum, New York. It travelled throughout the USA from 1974 to 1979.

Emma Colston (c. 1796-1877; neé Hubbert) was an Anglo-Irish lace designer and lace runner, who established the company of Kells Lace in 1825. Being the daughter of Henry Hubbert, she and her brother Henry were brought up at Kells (Ireland) and later went to Nottingham. Their father was a lace manufacturer and Henry was trained to take over the family business, while Emma was taught to be a lace runner and a lace designer.

Andrew Crummy is a Scottish artist, born in Edinburgh in 1959, who designed the panels for several commemorative embroideries. These include the Prestonpans tapestry (2010), Great Tapestry of Scotland (2013) and the Scottish Diaspora tapestry (2014). 

Beryl Dean (1911-2001) was an influential English embroideress, who helped to revolutionise ecclesiastical embroidery in the UK and elsewhere. She was married to Wilfred Phillips (died 1993). Dean graduated from the Royal School of Needlework (London) in 1932. She then went to the Bromley School of Art (London), graduating in dress design and leatherwork.

John Henry Dearle (1860-1932) was a British artist and designer who was trained by and worked with the famous Arts and Crafts Movement designer, William Morris (1834-1896). Dearle initially worked as a shop assistant and then became a design apprentice. In 1890 he was appointed as Morris & Co.’s chief designer.

Mrs Mary Delany (1700-1788), née Granville, was an accomplished embroideress, designer and artist (her paper cuttings were famous), and writer, who commented in her extensive and extant correspondence on the garments and their cut and decoration, of the men and woman of her social circle.

Jean Démosthène Dugourc (1749-1825) was a French designer, who worked for various royal and noble families in the late eighteenth century. His clients included the French nobility and the royal houses of Europe. In 1780 he was named as designer to the Comte de Provence (the future Louis XVIII) and helped to redecorate the Château de Brunoy (just southeast of Paris).

Eanswitha was allegedly an embroideress from Hereford (England), who was granted 200 acres of farmland for the period of her life.

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