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Emma Whitehead - TextilesCraft NI Directory - Emma Whitehead

Space Junk

About Emma's Work

Emma Whitehead is a textile artist who uses traditional and innovative embroidery techniques to create  three dimensional artworks.  

Emma's has recently had solo exhibitions in Berlin (February 2014) and Downpatrick, County Down (February 2015). 

In her own words;

'I create three dimensional, sculptural embroideries. I incorporate my clients’ personal history of place and possessions using a combination of their own and my recycled items. I use Irish Linen, sourced and made in Northern Ireland and pure silk embroidery as the base and mechanism of my work. My work is entirely hand sewn on hoop frames using a variety of embroidery techniques. I transform vintage maps, star charts, satellite images, silks, linens, recycled beads, clock and watch movements and circuit boards into framed artworks that incorporate origin, entomology and astronomy. 

I make 3 series of work; Space Junk, Map Butterflies & Time/Jewel Bugs

Space Junk is a modern phenomenon; the disused satellites and other man-made debris in orbit around the earth. For the Space Junk series I explore the connections between space, time, the historical developments of technology and the detritus circling the planet by using recycled items; jewellery, watch movements & circuit boards and constellation maps & satellite images of the earth & sun.

For the Map Butterfly series I explore the ephemeral and transitory nature of our personal histories and memories using embroidery. I use vintage maps to examine the personal connections people have with their own geography, the journeys they’ve taken during their life and how they mark significant events; pinning down their memories of place in a manner evocative of how the Victorians pinned butterflies for display.

I’ve designed a way to make 3D sculptures of insects and bugs using recycled beads with stitched silk thread as the mechanism that holds them together - all stitched on a base of linen or watercolour paper. A recycled watch movement forms the thorax, head or abdomen, hence the name Time Bug. They are unique in design, construction and form.

It is important to me that I use recycled materials in every piece I make; the only newly manufactured constituents are the Irish linen (locally sourced), heavy weight watercolour paper and silk thread. It is also important to me that they are created using just a needle and thread; one of the oldest, simplest, truly transformative and mobile technologies still in use today.'

Emma is currently working on her series of 'Jewel Bug' artworks which will be developed into a series of prints. She is also involved with the Passion & Legacy International Design Project.


Time Bugs & Map Butterflies

Can't find what you are looking for?

Emma regularly takes commissions - if you would like a particular place highlighted in a Map Butterfly artwork or wish to incorporate a personal item in a bespoke embroiderey  you can email Emma here Or call with her during her Open Studio days on Wednesdays & Saturdays.

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