About Isobel Currie
Coming from a home where making things was the norm I developed an interest in stitching from an early age. My first attempts at embroidery at the age of four marked the start of a lifelong passion that led me to study embroidery at Manchester Polytechnic (now Manchester School of Art) During my degree I became interested in the shapes that threads make as they travel through fabric to form stitches. Since graduating in 1990 I have continued this exploration, gaining a growing knowledge of the techniques and materials I need to enable me to create increasingly complicated designs as I investigate the unique interaction that stitch has with its supporting medium.

Isobel Currie PortraitI am driven by a desire to see how my ideas translate into completed works. The near-impossibility of sketching the designs before making means that each work is a an act of exploration. When I start a piece I doesn’t know whether it is technically achievable or how it will look. The effort involved in finding a way to overcome the challenges presented in creating each piece is rewarded by a kind of alchemy. As each piece progresses unexpected and beautiful shapes, patterns and interactions start to emerge. For me this process of discovery is one of the joys of working in three-dimensions.

Inspiration begins with a traditional embroidery stitch. The chosen stitch is analysed to reveal its shape and form, and this analysis generates ideas about the design of the finished work. I use transparent acrylic boxes and translucent supporting materials to reveal the three-dimensional shape of the stitches, creating continually changing perspectives and allowing the paths of the threads to be viewed from a variety of angles. I prefer to keep my works small scale, so that, like a precious miniature, close study is rewarded by the wealth of detail.

Vibrant colour interactions are another important part of my work. I have a form of synaesthesia, which manifests as a subliminal attribution of colours to everything, including abstract concepts so I always know instinctively what colours a work is going to be from the beginning of the design process.

About Isobel CurrieI plan designs in detail on a computer and drill the acrylic boxes myself before stitching directly into them. Each new work presents new challenges and I often re-start a piece many times before finding a successful method to create the idea I have in mind. Keeping the threads correctly tensioned is always a challenge, as is reaching inaccessible areas of the box. I use very long fine tweezers as an extension of my fingers, and have collected a variety of needles and tiny tools to assist with tricky manoeuvres.

In my ongoing work I continue to explore further the boundaries of three-dimensional stitching and to challenge preconceived assumptions about what embroidery could look like. My aim is to explore the three-dimensional beauty of stitch in an innovative and contemporary way.

In 2011 I entered the Embroiderers’ Guild Members Challenge with my work ‘Or Nué Reimagined’ which won the Valerie Campbell Harding prize for Innovation and the Embroiderers’ Guild President’s Cup.

In 2023 my work ‘Interlaced and Fly Stitch Estuary’, was the winner of the 2023 Prize for Innovation in Textiles in the Fine Art Textile Awards.

I have been an exhibiting member of the 62 Group of Textile Artists since 2013. I work from my home in Stockport, England.