Artist Embroiders Delicate Designs on Dried Leaves to Stitch a Connection With Nature

Embroidery on Leaves by Hillary Waters Fayle

Richmond-based artist Hillary Waters Fayle merges her passions for nature and textile design in her ongoing embroidery project. She stitches geometric and abstract designs onto found leaves, creating a connection between people and nature.

These delicate creations shine a spotlight on materials that often go unnoticed and underappreciated. Fayle hand-stitches various motifs and patterns onto their surface, showcasing the resilience of natural fibers. “Plants are the base of the food chain for all life on the planet, they're our major building materials, they are what we make cloth from—they shelter and feed our bodies, but their beauty also nurtures our spirit, and we need that, too,” she tells My Modern Met.

Although using a needle and thread with leaves may seem challenging, Fayle is able to combine the two with mindful work. “Leaves are a really interesting material to work with—they're delicate and ephemeral, but they can be stronger and much longer lasting than you may think,” Fayle tells My Modern Met.

“They are ubiquitous to the point of being taken for granted but also uniquely exquisite—remarkable, yet invisible. They're also plentiful and infinitely replenishable, which nods towards thinking about sustainability not only through the pieces themselves but in working with a material that is so fragile, I think of it as a celebration of what can be achieved when we're deliberate and careful.”

You can see Fayle's art in person in fall 2022 at the Momentum Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina, and keep up to date with more upcoming exhibitions by following her on Instagram.

Richmond-based artist Hillary Waters Fayle embroider dried leaves.

Embroidery on Leaves by Hillary Waters FayleEmbroidery on Leaves by Hillary Waters FayleEmbroidery on Leaves by Hillary Waters FayleEmbroidery on Leaves by Hillary Waters Fayle

She stitches geometric and abstract designs onto found leaves, creating a connection between people and nature.

Embroidery on Leaves by Hillary Waters FayleEmbroidery on Leaves by Hillary Waters FayleEmbroidery on Leaves by Hillary Waters Fayle

Although using a needle and thread with leaves may seem challenging, Fayle is able to combine the two with mindful work.

Embroidery on Leaves by Hillary Waters FayleEmbroidery on Leaves by Hillary Waters FayleEmbroidery on Leaves by Hillary Waters FayleEmbroidery on Leaves by Hillary Waters FayleHillary Waters Fayle: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Hillary Waters Fayle.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. When she’s not writing, Margherita continues to develop her creative practice in sequential art.
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