Photos courtesy of Claire Coles
Claire Coles in her London studio
While checking out some emerging talent out of London, I made a design discovery that stopped me with Stendhal Syndrome. Clare Coleses stunning embroidery defies anything you have ever seen. I have been feeling a "return to pretty" and this surely signals its comeback. Her beautiful, highly detailed sewn wall panels take on a life of their own, while they teem with life-- that of birds, flowers and fauna. Captured with quirky charm, in hand and machine led embroidery, she combines silk threads, vintage wallpaper flowers and leather in scenics that awe. Her artistry with embroidery takes it beyond the surface, with 3D relief, and the panels make them portable to move around at will like a piece of art. She also creates custom installations and fashion collaborations, so far only in England. I love the presence of the artists hand, and how the work takes on a different feel, depending on if it is on a light or dark silk background. Coleses work is extraordinary- I am so taken with her talent. The Brits really know how to move the needle.
On a dark, brooding steely gray silk ground, a classic vase in monochromatic threads holds an ebullient, free-form still life flower arrangement called Dutch Masters. Coles has tremendous skill capturing a hand-drawn quality out of threads.
Leather and silk threads in closer detail
Vivid tomato red, teal blue and spring green in Tropical Garden take their cue from hand-painted chinoiserie papers.
The movement and realism her work captures is truly astonishing.
Bird on a wire, a chic bird, surrounded by bright blooms.
Miami Deco, inspired by Florida's unique pastel facades, shows flowers strewn about as if blown by a gust of wind.
The applique flowers add such a delightful charm.
Another view of creeping flowers and stems.
In Hollywood Pineapple, she takes a classic symbol of welcome and hospitality and goes glam, with gold leather and palm fronds in flashy colors.
Set against a green silk background, the unusual color pairings and artistry really emerge.