Artist who embroiders landscapes hopes to spark renewed care for environment
A self-employed artist who embroiders landscapes hopes to inspire others to pick up the craft and “spark a renewed sense of love and care for the environment around us”.
Taylor Brooker has embroidered aerial landscapes for just under two years and said that one of the main reasons behind the idea was to help others see the beauty in nature.
“It can be easy to take nature for granted, especially if you live in a busy city, but I hope that my embroideries might spark a renewed sense of love and care for the environment around us,” the 28-year-old, who is based near Banbury in Oxfordshire, told the PA news agency.
Her most viral embroidery was the first one she created, which was of her friend’s wedding venue in the Burton Dassett Hills. It garnered around 160,000 likes on Twitter.
One of the people who took a fancy to this landcape was actor Ben Stiller.
“Amanda Abbington quote-retweeted it saying it was amazing, then Ben Stiller liked it that way,” Ms Brooker said.
“It was amazing to have my art be seen by people who weren’t already following me anyway, let alone celebrities who I never thought would see my work!”
She added that from that initial landscape, she had requests for personalised embroideries.
“So I began offering them as commissions.
“It’s lovely to get so much support from people all over the world who I don’t know – I’m always so grateful!
“I particularly love getting comments from people who’ve commissioned me. There’s no better feeling as an artist than finishing a piece and getting lovely feedback.”
She said that, on average, it takes seven days to work on a single hoop, but more complicated landscapes make take up to 16 days.
One of the scenes she “particularly enjoyed” making was of Cropredy Canal.
“I’m from Cropredy, so it has special meaning for me,” she added.
“I also loved working on a commission of Langshott Manor because of how much texture there was in it – it had big buildings, trees, a lake, tiny flowers and hedgerows, and a car park – the more variety in a piece, the more fun it is to work on!”
She said that the trickiest part of the craft is planning out how each one will look and how to ensure that images of landscapes are accurately represented when embroidered.
“Some landscapes I’m asked to embroider are more built-up, so I need to think carefully about which threads I’ll use to embroider roofs, so you can tell that they’re roofs and not flat blocks,” she said.
“What I enjoy most about doing the embroideries is how therapeutic it is when I start stitching.
“I also love feeling connected to women who came before us, since embroidery has been a popular craft for centuries.”
Ms Brooker has been working on honing her craft, adding that she has become more detail-oriented, which has helped make each embroidery “neater and more recognisable as the specific landscape”.
“There’s a fine line between not having enough detail, and having too much detail – not enough detail and it doesn’t register as a landscape; too much detail and it takes a while for the eyes to focus, losing its impact.”
She hopes to inspire others to get involved with embroidery, particularly because of the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) art.
“With the rise of AI art, I think it’s more important than ever to inspire people to learn new craft skills,” she said.
“AI is scary for artists who’ve spent years learning their craft, but the one thing it can never take away is the handmade, human element, which I think is evident in my work.
“I’d like my work to show people that embroidery doesn’t just have to be one thing – just like with paint, you can create anything you want.”
As for advice for those wishing to dip their needles into the craft, she said: “Just start creating.
“Whichever medium you want to start working with, whether it’s embroidery, paint, pencils etc., the best thing is to just have a go, and be really patient.
“Any craft has to be learnt, which can be frustrating, but it takes time and if you enjoy creating then it doesn’t matter much how good you are at first.
“There are so many amazing artists who share their work online, and looking at their work can sometimes help you figure out what sort of art you might want to create.”
She is in the process of creating tiny landscape embroidery necklaces, and has plans to embroider important historical landmarks and buildings, including Stonehenge and Warwick Castle.