Contemporary embroiderers have revitalized an age-old craft with their exceptional hand-stitched art. And some, like Yuliya Kucherenko, are not only pushing the boundaries, but they’re breaking free of literal boundaries. Her aquatic-inspired embroidery depicts colorful jellyfish whose long tendrils drift off of the hoop.
To depict the buoyancy of the gelatinous jellyfish, Kucherenko uses a variety of embroidery techniques, including thread painting, needle felting, and beading. Each “head” of her jellyfish is layered with several different colors of thread, which creates a sense of three-dimensional depth. Then, to bring the free-floating sea creature to life, the artist attaches dozens of long threads that unfurl over the hoop’s boundary. In some pieces, Kucherenko will add beading and mix fabrics for the tendrils to enhance their wild and freely moving appearance.
Although the embroidery is stunning in of itself, the artist also stages her pieces in a creative way. Before photographing, Kucherenko lays each jellyfish hoop atop delicate layers of blue and green tulle—which imitate the dynamic movement of the ocean. And, depending on the piece, she adds pearl-like beads, small starfish, and seashells as thoughtful finishing touches.
Scroll down to see more images of Kucherenko’s embroidery and, to keep up with the artist’s latest creations, you can follow her on Instagram.