A New Spin on Traditional Techniques: Crewel Ghoul

Amanda Neely: Embroidery artist

Embroidery Main

There’s a revival going on in the arts and crafts world. Artisans are using new techniques, materials, and technology to give their works a modern twist; and buyers, perhaps trying to escape the ubiquity and impermanence of the digital age, are looking for unique, custom-made artifacts. 

Here are three local craftswomen whose work exemplifies the new levels of artistry and innovation that are hallmarks of today’s arts and crafts revival.

  • Crewel Ghoul: Read more about Amanda Neely and her embroidery work below.
  • Sea Tied Goods: Click here to read about Elise Siegel and her work with macrame.
  • Salty Ceramics: Click here to read about Meghan Harper and her work with ceramics.

AMANDA NEELY learned embroidery as a child, but her work today bears little resemblance to the simpler floral patterns and cross-stitching she did with her grandmother.

Neely creates modern embroidery pieces that often replicate a picture or resemble a painting. Her work includes pet portraits, landscapes, and nature images.

Neely’s embroidery has a deep, textured look, which she achieves with a technique called thread painting (also known as needle painting or silk shading). With thread painting, the embroiderer uses stitches of different lengths and various hues of floss to create the look of brush strokes.

“My style is more realistic,” Neely says. “Depending on the image, the embroidery looks more three-dimensional.”

Embroidery In Article

Though Neely occasionally creates works that conform to current trends or fads, she prefers making classic pieces that are timeless. That’s why she uses antiques, vintage postcards, and old-school tattoo designs as her inspiration. Then, she adds her own spin to the images.

“I use the image for a reference,” Neely says. “I’m more inspired by the style than the actual image.”

Neely also teaches embroidery. Her online platform, crewelghoul.com, provides a mix of free and paid resources. In addition to embroidery tutorials, it also has video classes, an instructional blog, and Neely’s original patterns and embroidery kits. Her embroidery products can be found on Etsy at etsy.com/people/amandaxn.

To view more of photographer Terah Hoobler’s work, go to terahhoobler.com.

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Categories: Features