Most of the art we come across are paintings or ceramics (both of which we LOVE!). So imagine our delight and surprise when we came across the magical embroidery art from New Zealand artist, Fleur Woods.

Describing her style as ‘stitched paintings’ we were intrigued to chat to Fleur about her creative process for these unique and beautiful pieces.

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Fleur Woods with piece
Embroidery artist, Fleur Woods. Photography: Rachael Brown Photography
Fleur Wood_pink flowers_styled
Styling: Greenhouse Interiors. Photography: Armelle Habib

Hailing from beautiful New Zealand, embroidery artist Fleur Woods felt an instant connection to her craft.

“I live with my husband and our two girls — 9 and 11 — in Upper Moutere at the top of the South Island, New Zealand.

“It’s a beautiful small rural community surrounded by vineyards, hop farms, orchards and near a stunning national park. This area attracts a lot of creativity from wine making to ceramics, cheese, baskets, artists and growers.

“For as long as I can remember I have always felt connected to textiles and florals. I’ve found something nostalgic and comforting in them,” Fleur says.

“During a time when I was building my first body of work, I started experimenting with stitch. I just taught myself using what I had in the studio.

“For ages I simply muddled along but persisted because something about the method and the texture really resonated with me.

“Even though my skills were fairly lacking and my knowledge was inadequate, I just kept going and kept experimenting.

“Sure enough, after a fair few fails, I gradually developed the process I use today.”

Fleur Woods_pink flower
Styling: Bec Deacon Design. Photography: Rachael Brown Photography

The embroidery art Fleur creates is something she likes to refers to as ‘stitched paintings’.

“When I started to blur the lines between art and craft with the introduction of stitch into my paintings, I needed a way of describing my work,” Fleur explains.

“The term ‘stitched painting’ seemed to honour my intention behind stitching, which was to extend the mark-making of my paintings.

“To me, it doesn’t feel like a separate craft or skill. It’s just another way to describe flora and a process I really love.

As I’m largely self taught, it was lovely to come up with a genre of sorts for my work, so I felt I could own my process as a contemporary artist.

A celebration of joy and colour, Fleur’s embroidery pieces make a real statement in the art world.

“My main goal with my work is to shine a light on the magical details found in nature, from moss to roses, to leaves and berries… I am just in awe of the diversity found in our natural world.

“In terms of colour, I definitely feel like there’s a folk-art element to my work that comes through, particularly in my colour palette.”

My works are a way for me to celebrate nature, femininity, and bring joy and beauty to myself as well as for others. 

Fleur Woods eye_styled
Styling: Greenhouse Interiors. Photography: Armelle Habib

With her pieces being featured on Marie Clare’s Instagram, in Inside Out magazine, and stocked by amazing retailers Greenhouse Interiors and Jumbled, Fleur’s work is being noticed… and for good reason.

“A pretty big career highlight for me was one I experienced quite early on. I got an email from Jessica Hanson, then Style Editor at Inside Out magazine. Jessica asked me if I could create a large piece to use for a table cloth backdrop to a Mother’s Day feature,” Fleur recalls excitedly.

“It was the biggest piece I’d ever made and I really had no idea what I was doing! But her colour palette was beautiful, and something told me to throw caution to the wind and just do it.

“I worked like crazy for 7 days and held my breath as the piece went express courier to Sydney, imagining that I may end up with a tiny glimpse of my work in one of my favourite magazines.

“It ended up becoming the background for a 6-page spread!

“Just prior to Jessica’s email I had been rejected by so many galleries and was really having to explain my work. People weren’t embracing it like they do now. I was really close to giving up.

That email will always be a very special turning point in my career.

“Other highlights include when Pip at Jumbled and Julia at Greenhouse Interiors contacted me to stock my pieces in their wonderful stores. All game changers for me.

“My current career highlight is yet to be published and I can’t wait to share!”

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Upclose details of Fleur’s intricate work. Photography: Rachael Brown Photography

Never a dull moment, Fleur enjoys creating original, one-of-a-kind pieces as well as prints and embroidery kits for others to give the craft a go.

“Genuinely I feel very grateful to have found a process and subject matter that feels really, truly me. It means the process is endlessly inspiring and important to me — I get to tell my heart stories,” Fleur says happily.

“Stitch is the perfect tool for me as an artist, even though it takes forever, because it slows me down and allows me to describe visually in more thoughtful ways.

“I really do love the whole process — which is lucky because I spend a LOT of time doing it!

“I’ve been very lucky to be in the position where I’ve been creating non-stop for the last 4 years and it’s rare that an original sticks around in the studio for more than a week or two. 

“Generally, an original sells while it’s still a work in progress via Instagram, which is just amazing! My current best seller is my ‘Don’t Be A Dick’ print collab with Greenhouse Interiors.

Fleur Woods_don't be a...
Fleur’s best seller embroidery art

Understanding how tough the art and craft world can be, we asked Fleur her best advice to those wanting to give art a go.

“Be yourself, ignore trends, just follow your heart and make lots of work. Remember, it’s ok if much of it is crap! Just keep making more!

“Invest as much as you can in quality materials, framing and imagery.

“This one seems simple but is often the hardest… ask for help,” Fleur says.

“Find a tribe of fellow creatives to be your support network — Instagram is amazing for this — and remember, don’t give up! Often when things are really tough are when you’re close to something really, really good.”

Massive thank you to the lovely Fleur for taking the time to show us inside the artistic, crafty world of embroidery art. To see more, visit her Instagram page, check out her website or find her prints and originals at Greenhouse Interiors.

More art inspired stories here

Fleur Woods_frangipani
Styling: Greenhouse Interiors. Photography: Armelle Habib
Fleur Woods_rainbow
Image via Julia Atkinson-Dunn: Studio Home
Fleur Woods_at work
Image via Julia Atkinson-Dunn: Studio Home

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