This past year has seen more and more people immerse themselves in the delightful craft of embroidery. Said to relieve stress and improve brain function, keeping our hands busy has never been this urgent. But for some people, embroidery isn’t just a hobby—it’s a way of life.
Such is the case with master embroiderer Danielle Clough. With some 190,000 followers on Instagram, Clough’s passion for needle and thread is evident.
“I’d always loved fabric,” she gushed in an interview with Colossal, relaying how she was introduced to sewing early on in life.
“My mom used to sew, and she used to make me clothes,” she recalled. “I always thought I was going to be this amazing fashion designer. I was so sure, and I would make these really horrible jackets out of old curtains. I’d make a jacket that you couldn’t put your arms down, but I’d still wear it proudly. I’d always loved fashion.”
These days, her sense for color and style comes across her work. Colorful to the max, her embroideries stand out for their unique backdrops and subject choices.
“I love just making stuff that feels fun, feels light, feels colorful, and that evokes some kind of memories,” says Clough. “I love pop culture references, and there’s a lot of connection that comes from that.”
Amongst her portrait subjects, for instance, you can find pop icons like Biggie Smalls and Bob Ross with nods to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and even Furby.
Based in South Africa, Clough also teaches embroidery, online and in person. “My role hopefully will be in expanding that idea that embroidery is considered women’s work now,” she says.