February was National Embroidery Month and to celebrate we spoke to Chloe O’Malley, an amazing embroider in Leeds, about how and why she does what she does.
Although she loves embroidery, Chloe’s full time job is tattooing and creates brilliant designs at Rose and Thorn Tattoo studio which is based inside Gray’s Salon. Whilst pursuing her career in tattooing she put her embroidery on the side until she felt it was the right time to start stitching again. This time around she put her work out there a bit more, and has created a separate Instagram to her tattoo work to showcase both her creative sides.
“I love that embroidery is something that is just for me. I don’t have to please anyone and I can completely indulge what I find interesting into stitch with no boundaries or limits to what I can create.”
Chloe has a lot of inspirations that influence what she stitches, and she tries to find it wherever (and whenever) she can. She uses things like old field guilds, natural history, museums, long walks and generally nature to help her gain inspiration. The nature aspect can be seen greatly in her work, as she produces floral stitches in such detail that it will truly astound you.
“Sometimes the designs I tattoo crossover into my embroidery work and that also gives me ideas for new pieces. Following people you look up to creative also helps you to keep trying harder at your own craft and to dream bigger at what you can achieve.”
Although Leeds is thriving with creativity, it seems there is only a little patch for embroidery, which Chloe would love to see expand more. She says: “right now the embroidery scene for me is my living room stitching away with my cats to keep me company. If there’s any embroidery people out there that know of any places or events coming up, I would love to know!”
When Chloe first moved to Leeds, her favourite place to visit was Roundhay Park, she went all the time and saw it through the season. Walking around the park greatly influenced her and helped her think of new ideas. The same goes for Harewood House which is a beautiful historic place she loves to visit. Living in Leeds has helped her creativity, and allows her to work alongside some amazing people in her embroidery and her tattooing.
“I think Leeds is an excellent place for creative individuals, I work with really talent and like-minded people that constantly influence my work- and with my job I also get to meet new people everyday with different backgrounds, cultures and opinion and it is great!
There are also lots of galleries and next exhibitions popping up every week – right now there is an exhibition called ‘Queens of Industry’ at Leeds Industrial Museum which I am planning on seeing very soon!”