Am I dating myself, or is embroidery and crewel a lost art?  When I was young, I learned to do crewel work, using needle and crewel yarn to create scenes with specific stitches, and using fun techniques, like french knots.  I never hear of it any more, or see things done with this intricate craft. I was delighted to find Kirsten Chursinoff’s textile art, showcasing this old fashioned technique with a beautiful up to date result.

Kirsten ChursinoffKirsten Chursinoff, Autumn Umbrels 2

Here is a close-up of some of her work, and you can see the incredible amount of detailed work in each piece.

Kirsten ChursinoffKirsten Chursinoff

Kirsten does use a sewing machine to “collage” fabric onto a cotton base. She uses the machine as a sort of “free-motion machine embroidery”, moving the fabric in all directions while she “paints” with the thread.  Hand embroidery stitches are added to fill in the fine details.  She is especially fond of the french knot, (see – I told you it was a fun stitch)  and you can see those at the ends of the flower forms above and in the pink below.

Kirsten ChursinoffKirsten Chursinoff, Fibre art nest in a blossom tree

I look for organic lines, forgiving textures, embroider-able details. I think about what kinds of stitches I’ll need to use, or the threads and yarns that will be applied to the surface. Colours are important too. -Kirsten Chursinoff

Kirsten ChursinoffKirsten Chursinoff

Chursinoff draws much of her inspiration from the natural world.  I love the incorporation of real shells into this undersea sculpture.

See more of her work on her Flickr site:  http://www.flickr.com/photos. REad more about Kirsten and her work on her website: http://www.chursinoff.com/kirsten/index.html