Embroidery is increasingly being practised by artists who ply their thread with passion and innovation. The three leading names - Richard Saja, Elaine Reichek and Jordan Nassar - are using the medium with thought and flair, developing their own style within the tradition, and combining it all with some radical ideas.
Richard Saja makes use of embroidery to transform well-known toile patterns into a panorama of dreams. The most interesting aspect of his work is the colourful stitches that form a second layer, making a new narrative visible. Saja learned embroidery out of necessity when he formed a cushion company, and now he is usually occupied with fashion collaborations because of his skill with hand embroidery. If you have the chance to see a Richard Saja piece, see how neatly he embroiders the gestures that express humans thoughts.
Elaine Reichek started as a painter who began using thread to beautify her canvases. Reichek has become well known for her digital embroidery and tapestry which depicts images from art historical or documentary sources, and she is particularly interested in the relationship between image and text.
The magic of traditional Palestinian embroidery has been mastered by Jordan Nassar. The essence of his contemporary embroidery work is dedicated to highlighting issues of colonialism, rural life, and his Palestinian heritage. Most of Nassar’s canvases depict desert landscapes, curving coastlines, and placid green hills.
Through the work of artists such as these, contemporary stitch is finding a beautiful balance between tradition and modernity.