Ingenious Hand-Embroidery Uses Cascading Thread to Mimic Flowing Hair

Embroidery artist Sheena Liam thinks outside of the conventional wooden hoop to produce unique portraiture. Over the past year, she has stunned the craft world by creating hair braids with embroidery thread and adding a three-dimensional element to her two-dimensional stitched women.

Hair is at the center of Liam’s creative work. Most of her subjects are ladies, sewn in black thread, with long tresses that cascade from the circular canvases. They convey an almost carefree attitude towards their locks, as the women nonchalantly braid their hair or let a few strands fall from behind their ears. From a technical sense, this requires careful planning by Liam; she must plot the points of each stitch and the amount of slack in each strand. A misplaced thread could shatter the illusion that these ladies are emerging from the fabric and into real life.

Liam has continued her exploration of hair embroidery, and her commitment to the subject has allowed her to try a variety of hairstyles and poses of her models. As she creates more hoop art, her work continues to grow in its complexity. Follow her on Instagram to see where she goes next.

Artist Sheena Liam continues to think outside of the hoop and create hair braids with embroidery thread.

Sheena Liam: Instagram

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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