Designer Edge: Meet Danielle Edge
South Africa-based artist Danielle Clough loves squash and embroidery … and embroidering on squash rackets, or any racket that she thinks is beautiful. “I don’t discriminate! The first few I got at a car-boot market in Cape Town, but since then I have been sourcing wherever I go,” she says. by Janai Velez
Danielle started stitching (embroidering ) on rackets last year, translating vibrant blooms, including proteas, aloes, tulips, poppies and roses, into embroidered masterpieces. “A friend showed me simple hearts woven onto a racket, and I took it as a challenge.
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I wanted to figure out how to interpret my style onto them,” she says. Danielle begins by creating a reference image, using photographs and sometimes paint, then with a sharp tapestry needle and wool, stitches across the network of strings, adding finer details with embroidery threads.
“Initially, when I first started embroidering, it was just ‘drawing with thread’ but, as I did it more and more, I realised it had a name, and that people had been doing it for centuries!” she says.
Along with designs on rackets, she also embroiders small animal pendants, birds on local fabrics and large portraits. “I don’t have a set idea of what I do. I’m completely governed by feelings,” says Danielle.
And her creative pursuits don’t end there, she’s also a designer and “visual jockey” (“It’s like a DJ, but with pictures!”)
Her sewing takes place in a small, chaotic studio in the city centre. The floors are covered with threads, the shelves contain “really twee” porcelain animals, the walls are lined with a (slowly) growing collection of tapestries, and by the window is a small couch – the perfect spot for stitching.
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All this sitting and stitching has led Danielle to start playing squash again. “I stopped playing for the simple, universal reason of sheer laziness. But it does help to take a break to stay fit and healthy when you are sitting and sewing for hours because you can really lose track of time,” she says.
Unlike with squash, what Danielle loves most about embroidery is that there is no competition, as such. “There’s an incredible community of followers and fellow stitchers, who are kind, open and supportive,” she says.
For more of Danielle’s craft meets sports designs, check out her website (www.danielleclough.com), Tumblr (www.fianceknowles.tumblr.com) and Instagram page (fiancé_knowles). Or you can email her directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).