Founded by stitch based artists Cat Frampton and Emily Tull in 2018 after a conversation about the inclusion of (or lack of) stitched/embroidered artworks in the art world. Both artists had experienced negative opinions that this category of work could only been seen as craft, but both agreed that yes of course stitching is a highly skilled 'craft' but can also be an art-form. The aim of S.E.W is to promote and support artists who have an element of stitching in their artworks, hand or machine and traditional or contemporary forms of embroidery.
The Society for Embroidered Work
The Royal Watercolour Society, the Fine Arts Society, the Pastels Society, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the Society for Wildlife Art, the Society for Women’s Art, the London art scene is littered with art societies, but there was no society for us, no society for an artistic medium that is as old as the needle.
If you paint in oils with enough skill and have a good artistic eye, you can apply to have ROI after your name. If your drawing of boats and water is brilliant you can become a member of the Royal Society of Marine Artist. Becoming a member of the Society of Embroidered Work will show the world that you are an artist of note in your field and having a society will lift all stitched art a bit, by association, as long as we push S.E.W. forward in the right way.
The fight to get embroidery recognised as an art form has been a long one with roots mired in misogyny and it’s got a long way to go yet. Having a society dedicated to the best in stitched art is one step in the right direction.
We hope that at a very basic level, having a society behind them, artists will be able to face the comments (‘embroidery is not art, it’s just a craft’) and the misunderstandings (‘Victorian ladies stitching idly’) with a straight spine and a steady eye. As a society we can work on getting, at the very least, a ‘textiles’ box to click when applying for open call exhibitions. We know that we can put on a brilliant, talent filled exhibition to which gallery owners and art buyers can come to find new and established artists and their work.
S.E.W. Promoting and supporting the best in stitched art worldwide.