Twisting Tornadoes Come to Life in This Artist’s Stunning 3D Embroidery

Embroidered Scene Showing Tornado Going Across Grain Field

Artist Erika Tu'avao reimagines the classic landscape embroidery hoop by giving it a three-dimensional edge. Tu'avao, who lives in Provo, Utah, is frequently inspired by the stunning nature scenes around her, and these often translate into her work. By using needle felting techniques along with her embroidery thread stitchings, she is able to provide her sublime scenes of nature with perceived depth.

“I especially like layering felt to make 3D shapes like tornadoes and mushrooms, and yarn to make fluffy clouds or trees,” Tu'avao tells My Modern Met. “I am always trying to come up with new materials to add to my landscapes.”

Her creativity and ingenuity definitely pay off. From lush fields of grain to delicate flowers to huge, weathered trees, each of her embroidery creations are filled with beauty and rich color. She is also adept at adding visual drama with her twisting tornadoes, energetic lightning storms, and colorful cloud puffs. Each eye-catching scene only goes as far as the edges of the embroidery hoop it is stitched into, but one can't shake the feeling that they could stretch on for miles if they only had the space to do so.

Tu'avao initially picked up the art of embroidery in 2019 to help with her mental health. “A few years ago, my anxiety and depression was so strong that I was having a hard time functioning in day-to-day life,” she says. “Working on my embroidery hoops every day is what made me want to get up every day. Embroidery is a slow art, so every time I start a new hoop, it helps me to slow down my mind and focus on each little stitch that I make. I think part of that is just keeping my hands and mind busy, but I also think that being creative in general can be very healing. The colors and scenes of my embroidery hoops brought a lot of peace and joy to my life.”

Even though Tu'avao's creations have been woven with embroidery thread, some pieces resemble sprawling, immersive landscape paintings. By cleverly using color to provide an illusion of light and shadow, the artist is able to use tricks of dimension that are normally seen with paint rather than thread. Additionally, her expressive skies seem limitless, as they stretch on forever above the landscapes and add a dramatic edge to her work.

You can purchase original embroidery art via Tu'avo's Etsy shop, and keep up with her creative journey by following the artist on Instagram.

Erika Tu'avao is an embroidery artist known for her three-dimensional landscapes.

Embroidery Of Tornado Above Field

Embroidery Of Tornado Above Field

Embroidery Of Withered Tree On Top Of Hill

Tornadoes and other natural weather phenomenon often make appearances in her work.

Tornado Embroidery by Erika Tu’a

Lightning Embroidery by Erika Tu’a

By merging needle felting and thread painting, she is able to mimic fluffy clouds and lush trees in beautiful sprawling landscapes.

Embroidered Field Of Grain With Blue Sky Above

Landscape Embroidery by Erika Tu’a

Rainbow Cloud Embroidery by Erika Tu’a

Embroidery Of Fluffy White Clouds In Pink/Orange Sky

Much of her work is inspired by the natural landscapes around her in her home of Provo, Utah.

Embroidered Ocean Scene With Multicolored Clouds


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Erika Tu’a (@erikatuaart)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Erika Tu’a (@erikatuaart)

And though some of her embroidery creations are more subtle in their three-dimensionality, they are no less beautiful.

Embroidered Red Tree On Hill With Clothespins Holding Embroidery Thread Beside It

Embroidered Mountain Scene With Clothespins Holding Embroidery Thread Beside It

Erika Tu'avao: InstagramEtsy | Blog

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Erika Tu-avao.

Related Articles:

Embroidery Artist “Paints” Colorful Landscape Scenes With Thread

Embroidery Artist “Paints” Lush Landscapes Using Only a Needle and Thread

Embroidery Artist Mimics Lush Forest Landscapes Through Brilliant Stitching Techniques

Sarah Currier

Sarah Currier is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Based in central Iowa, she is currently enrolled at Iowa State University and is working toward a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in English. She loves all things creative, and when she’s not writing, you can find her immersed in the worlds of television, film, and literature.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content