January 2018, I’m reading the latest issue of Embroidery, the textile art magazine. I turn a page. And hold my breath… when facing the work of Alexandra Drenth. Wów. I am so impressed… So many details. Such a bright red yarn used. Meaningful texts. Beautiful used linen fabrics, expressing history. I’m sold.
Her start as a needlework artist
In 2007, Alexandra, being a photographer at the time, started a charity embroidery project. She asked people to send her used household linen, to re-use for this cause. Somehow this appealed to people, she received lots of those. All had their own story and history. Her experience with these fabrics with a past, would lead to the main theme in her later work. Namely transformation of the past, by expressing inner feelings, mostly of women. In some way Alexandra facilitates journeys in time, without feeling time.
Alexandra’s needlework art
Wall objects, 3-D textile objects, wearable and unwearable pieces of clothing … these are the works Alexandra makes. Many of her works of art are textile collages. They are a combination of different existing embroideries and textiles, sometimes together with (embroidered) poems and song lyrics. It results in works with a kind of mystical sense.
Plants, flowers and humans are also often portrayed on the fabrics. This combination of nature and humans is not a coincidence. Alexandra is quite worried about mankind creating pollution and climate change, which she expresses in her textile works. Her work shows looks can be deceiving. They look so cheerful at first site, but there’s a serious message in it… At the same time her works resemble this kind of mystical world, which softens. As Alexandra puts it: “people need consolation”.
Alexandra’s needlework techniques
Alexandra uses a combination of techniques in her artwork. The running stitch, stem stitch, french knots… they all come along. Even our good old cross stitch is incorporated in her work. You see some examples in the photos down here. Furthermore she uses strips of used fabrics, beads and small objects.
You want more?
To me Alexandra’s website is a great source of inspiration. You can find all her work there. See for yourself at http://www.alexandradrenth.nl/alexandradrenth/dreamtravel.html.
If you have some patience, you can see her work in real time at the Hooglandse Kerk, Leiden, from May 13 till May 16, at the exposition C H A N G E S, Turn and face the strange. This work is inspired by the equally named song of David Bowie.
This expo is part of the Textielfestival Leiden next year. Me myself I’m really looking forward to visiting the festival. Three long days of textile art and activities all over the city, what a pleasure! At this website you can already take a peek at the programme: https://www.textielfestival.nl/.
By the way, I will expose at the festival also, at the Volkenkundig (ethnographic) Museum. Still lots of work to do for it!
Interested in more embroidered art?
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For now have fun and enjoy creativity!