Embroidery as Art

 A laborer creates with their hands.
A crafter creates with their mind.
An artist creates with their soul.
-A Native American Proverb
Cayce Zavaglia
Karen Nicole
Michele Carragher

Cayce Zavaglia


"I still consider myself a painter and find it difficult not to refer to these embroidered portraits as “paintings”." -Cayce Zavaglia

The first time I saw a Cayce Zavaglia piece I thought it was a painting. The detail she is able to create with thread is unbelievable. The depth brought on by shadows and highlights give the portraits a breath of life. Her subjects gaze at you. You gaze at them. In this exchange you become relaxed. Their is no judgement, only understanding and acceptance.

Cayce Zabaglia 1

Cayce Zavaglia 3
Cayce Zavaglia 2
Karen Nicol


Karen Nicol has an impressive list of clients for fashion embroidery. Like Anthropologie, Marc Jacobs, and Vera Wang to name a few. While her fashion embroidery is beautiful, that is not what I'm featuring. What I am featuring is what she calls ‘couture creatures.' Large scale pieces that can measure a meter or two. Created with mixed media and a vast range of embroidery techniques. These three dimensional textures beg you to touch them even though you know you can't.

Karen Nicol 1 Karen Nicol 2 Karen Nicol 3  


Michele Carragher


Michele Carragher is a costume hand embroiderer. She has been working on film and television productions for over 15 years. Her most current work is the embroidery on the award-winning costumes in Game of Thrones. The extra details her work provides for the show helps tell the story of each character and 'house.' For Daenerys Targaryen's main dress she used a stitch that she fittingly calls dragonscale. A pattern of a smocking stitch and a locking stitch. As the character Deanerys evolves in the show the dragonscale on her costume becomes more elaborate and pronounced. Cersei Lanister's costumes change in tone as the show progresses as well. She starts with a light blue colored dress that has pretty birds stitched onto it. Later her dresses begin to look more like armor, in a deep red color with menacing lions stitched on them. Sansa Stark's wedding dress tells the story of her 'houses.' Tully fish representing her mother, diawolf representing her father and lions representing her marriage to the Lanisters. For some of the costumes, Michele created creatures that she attached to them. In addition, Michele is so nice that she has provided images and videos of her process on her website!

Michele Carragher Daenerys

Michele Carragher Cersei

Michele Carragher Sansa

Michele Carragher Creatures 

These embroiderers provoke feelings. They put you into deep thought. They make you speechless and awestruck. They have ignited inspiration in me. Go forth and create my friends. Find out how limitless art can be.


The Gingham Ginger, aka Nena, has been a life long crafter. She learned how to crochet so young she doesn't even remember how old she was. Recently she has gotten into embroidery hardcore. HARDCORE! The Gingham Ginger is an entrepreneur extraordinaire and community enthusiast. Always ready for an adventure to spread positivity near and far.