Danielle Clough is mak­ing her mark on In­sta­gram for her fresh-yet-nos­tal­gic em­broi­dery work. Phum­lani Sithebe Langa catches up with her

CityPress - - Trend­ing -

Young artist Danielle Clough has be­come a hit on In­sta­gram for tak­ing a medium that most would as­so­ciate with el­derly aun­ties and breath­ing a gust of vi­brant en­ergy into it. Her work is an ex­plo­sion of colour gleaned from a sewing nee­dle.

Of course, she isn’t the only South African artist to trade in the rein­ven­tion of em­broi­dery as a se­ri­ous art form. Per­for­mance artist Athi-Pa­tra Ruga has for some years been cre­at­ing dark and exquisite ta­pes­tries that el­e­vate cu­rio themes to high art.

This week, Clough told #Trend­ing she draws in­spi­ra­tion from the nov­elty of things – new ex­pe­ri­ences, new peo­ple and new colours viewed in dif­fer­ent light set­tings and dif­fer­ent con­texts. But why em­broi­dery? “I have al­ways been around sewing. My mother used to make clothes, and, while study­ing, I would make plush toys for money. The first thread sketch I cre­ated was through a series of op­por­tu­ni­ties and mis­takes. Work­ing at a gallery once, with idle hands, I had noth­ing but cot­ton, a nee­dle and a scrap piece of felt – so I started to draw a rab­bit. This slowly grew into a por­trait, and I kept ex­per­i­ment­ing ... My choice in sub­ject mat­ter typ­i­cally stems from an idea of a colour pal­ette or an im­age I have taken.”

She told us In­sta­gram has played a ma­jor role in her ca­reer so far: “It’s been a mas­sive in­flu­ence. Us­ing In­sta­gram as a way to lever­age your artistry is some­thing that we’re see­ing with a lot of South African cre­atives, most of whom will tell you it has helped ac­cel­er­ate their ca­reers.”

She said the ma­jor­ity of her work is sold through In­sta­gram, which had also in­tro­duced her to a wider in­ter­na­tional em­broi­dery com­mu­nity and led to a lot of com­mis­sions from in­ter­na­tional clients – a net­work that would have taken her years to cul­ti­vate with­out the so­cial net­work.

Her best-known work? “A stand­out is a por­trait based off a shoot I did of the artist Pe­tite Noir for Rolling Stone magazine.”

She views it as a turn­ing point in terms of her tech­nique.

“I also love the ten­nis rack­ets be­cause they’re dif­fer­ent, a lit­tle ec­cen­tric and a bla­tant ode to burst­ing forms of bright colour!”

View and com­mis­sion her work on Twit­ter or In­sta­gram at @fi­ance_­knowles, or

visit her web­site at daniel­le­clough.com



WHAT A RACKET 2 PE­TITE NOIR IN COT­TON Danielle Clough made plush toys for money while she was study­ing

One of Dolce & Gab­bana’s of­fer­ings



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