Stumpwork Still Life Art

Wild Blackberry in July detail by textile artist Tracey Lawko

Detail of Wild Blackberry in July

My still life art compositions are inspired by my garden and elements of nature near my studio in the Niagara Escarpment. I find beauty in nature is often in the details of simple forms, for example a five-petal rugosa rose rather than a multi-petalled hybrid tea rose. As with the changing seasons in landscape, I am also interested in portraying the cycles of life in still life.

Like a botanical illustrator, I take careful note of the details of my subjects. I examine them from many angles, making reference notes or sketches and document their natural colours. Then I work on the composition and structure of the still life, all before I ever pick up a needle and thread. Some result in what I call “plant portraits”, or studies of a single fruit or flower, and others in a more formal still life art composition. Each piece is an exploration, using stumpwork techniques that I think will best represent the subject.

“Modern Stumpwork” is the term I use to describe my still life art. Like traditional stumpwork, it is a raised stitchery technique. Three-dimensional effects are achieved by padding and applying detached motifs to a background. The difference is that I apply modern tools to this 16th century art form. I combine centuries-old hand-embroidery techniques with modern free-motion machine stitching. I use an APQS Freedom longarm sewing machine for the machine stitching. The result is richly textured, dimensional still life art.

View my gallery of stumpwork still life art.