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Meet Embroidery Virtuosa Sue Rangeley

The English countryside inspires fiber artist Sue Rangley
Threads #207, Feb./March 2020

Many artists—from painters to photographers and embroiderers—strive to capture the beauty of nature in their medium. Sue Rangeley creates visions in thread. She grew up surrounded by lush fields in rural England and her designs mimic flowers, leaves, and other elements of nature. Her pieces have been featured in museums and private collections around the world. Published in 2010, her book, Embroidered Originals (d4daisy Books), showcases some of her favorite works and examines the techniques she used to create them. See more of her stitchery at SueRangeley.co.uk. Threads asked Sue about her inspirations and designs. In addition to her answers, Sue provides a technique for free-motion-stitching lacy leaves.

Threads: What is your background in sewing?

Sue Rangeley: The craft of embroidery caught my imagination at an early age, when an aunt showed me her sewing boxes bursting with threads and fabrics. She taught me the first stitches. By the age of 10, my head was already swirling with fantasy fashions and a love of sparkle. I cherish a memory of the first embroidered wearable I made at school, when I was 11 years old. I used needle and thread to emblazon fairyland wonder on a modest apron. Nearly sixty years later, the free spirit of the embroidered stitch continues to inspire my artistic textiles.


TH: Is there a designer whom you draw inspiration from?

SR: One name always comes into my head: Elsa Schiaparelli, the famous couturiere who bewitched Paris with her inventive designs in the early 20th century. Elsa’s amazing embroidered jackets of the 1930s first caught my attention in 1982 when I spent a few hours in their company at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; it was my lucky day, as I was left alone to sketch them. Schiaparelli’s creations directly inspired…

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