Cover A snapshot of the iconic playground at Toa Payoh, part of Local embroidery artisan Teresa Lim's Sew Wanderlust series (Image: Teeteeheehee)

Armed with their needles and threads, these homegrown embroidery maestros are crafting textiles with stories.

Embroidery has been slowly threading its way into the hearts of homebound craftmakers on social media. The delicate textile craft isn’t a new concept by any means, but it’s experienced a huge surge of interest over the past year, ever since the pandemic disrupted travel plans and made working-from-home part of the new normal.

There’s also something undeniably cathartic about slowing down to patiently stitch and create a bespoke piece throughout a turbulent period. Whether you’re a fervent fan of the grand millennial-chic style or you’re a hoop embroidery enthusiast, these local embroidery makers should serve you a dose of inspiration. 

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Teresa Lim of Teeteeheehee

Embroidery artist Teresa Lim is no stranger to the limelight. Known by her moniker Teeteeheehee on social media, the embroidery artist and illustrator has garnered the attention of both local and international media with her illustrative embroidered works.

Lim’s knack of storytelling through thread is presented through several series of works; The Twelve Rooms illustrates the pains of growing up, while Sew Wanderlust is an ever-growing collection that captures Lim’s travel moments worldwide. 

The 2018 Gen.T honouree also does commissioned-based embroidered works, working with a notable list of clients the likes of Gucci, Swarovski, Michael Kors, Netflix, Volvo, and Singapore Airlines.

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Zoey Wong of Naked Works

Contemporary embroidery artist Zoey Wong is known for her unconventional take on the craft. The young artist is famously known for using hair in place of thread for embroidery works, adding a truly personal—albeit slightly macabre—touch to its piece. 

For commission-based works, Wong turns to the customary floss and thread to create personalised and unique hand-embroidered hoop pieces; these customisable works can feature names, portraits, and even ultrasounds delicately captured in embroidery. She takes inspiration from botanical influences, featuring floral and fauna motifs prominently in her embroidered works. 

Working with notable brands like Coach, Lexus, Clarins and F1 Singapore, Wong also conducts workshops for those wishing to learn the medium.

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Agatha Lee of Agy Textile Artist

With a vividly creative spirit, textile artist Agatha Lee ingeniously crafts embroidered works that each have a story to tell. An environmental advocate, Lee upcycles findings from her home and surroundings to create her embroidered pieces. 

Deeply inspired by nature, Lee creates unique stitched artworks that each embody a theme; one particular series, for example, was inspired by corals, whilst another series was focused on weeds and the notion of “making the invisible visible”. For those interested in more of Lee’s works, the local embroidery artisan also offers wearable embroidered art in the form of brooches and pins.

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Inez Tan of Inez Designs

Artist Inez Tan has a series titled She Draws I Thread—a heartwarming collaboration between Tan and her toddler daughter, Miya. With her embroidery work, Tan brings to life her daughter’s love of storytelling and drawing. 

Besides threading Miya’s drawings, Tan also stitches local heritage landmarks and inspiring quotes. The former fashion merchandiser and buyer has an eye for intricate detail; the eclectic collection that she offers features vibrant colours and precise stitches.

Tan also does commission-based work, where she transforms doodles on paper into a piece of artwork via needle and thread, not unlike her She Draws I Thread series. The embroidery recreation is perfect if you’d like to immortalise a memory with a loved one, or if you’re simply seeking a personalised housewarming gift.

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Cheryl Tan of Beadbadwolf

The face behind the Instagram account @beadbadwolf, Cheryl Tan is an embroidery artist known for her colourful, crafty style. Her passion for crafting was ignited by her grandmother, who showed Tan the ropes when it came to sewing, crocheting, and more.  

Using a combination of vibrant colours, beads and textures, Tan creates embroidery works that embody a playful sense of character. She incorporates her Peranakan heritage into several of her pieces, using a vibrant mixture of colours and texture with a contemporary. The multi-talented artist also hosts beginner-friendly craft workshops frequently, where you’ll be able to try your hand at embroidery.

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