British illustrator Chloe Giordano has spent the last few years redefining embroidery, kicking off an online craze for her work. With a combined social media following of over 70,000, Giordano has collected fans from all over the world for her intricate works of art.
"I hate field mice, but I don't like it when they die. They make tunnels in the ground, and then they eat up Papa's bulbs. And they teach their children to make tunnels and eat bulbs. And at night they all sleep with their arms around eachother. They don't know they're unfortunate creatures." - The Summer Book, Tove Jansson #actuallyaharvestmousebuthey #needlepainting #embroidery #mouse #harvestmouse
"I began to sew in the last year of my illustration degree at the University of the West of England, and since graduating in 2011, I have continued to experiment with freehand embroidery, using sewing thread and hand dyed fabrics to make my work," Giordano explains on her website.
A quick visit to her Instagram page reveals the complicated detail in her embroideries with close-up images and in-progress shots. The subject of her drawings are primarily animals ranging from mice, foxes, bunnies and other woodland creatures. The best part? They are brought to life from Giordano's own sketches. The marriage of her pencil drawings and complex embroidery is arguably the secret sauce, giving her pieces both individuality and personality.
Giordana is interactive with fans, taking questions via Tumblr and providing tips and tricks to aspiring embroidery fans. It's clear that the animals' realistic appearance is, in part, due to Giordano's careful shadowing and realistic coloring. One fan asked the question so many are dying to know the answer to: how does she use so many colors?
"There's nothing particularly mysterious going on, I'm just packing the stitches together and using sewing thread," she says. "I wanted to go into traditional illustration before I began sewing so I've spent alot of time drawing and painting and still work from a detailed sketch, which I think probably helps."
While Giordano is no longer accepting commissions due to her busy schedule, she does still sell items through her Etsy store. Check it out here.