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The Cutting Edge (& Stitching) – Ema Shin – Mr X Stitch Embroidery

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Ema Shin is a Melbourne-based mixed media artist.

Ema Shin - Soft Alchemy (My Pelvis Bone) - (2018)
Soft alchemy (my pelvic bone) – (2018)

Ema Shin’s work presents body organs and flowers as symbols of her life and feelings. Her work includes tapestries, embroidery, prints and paper mache and shows mental and physical experiences and the fertility of the female body.

Ema Shin - Devoted Body (2019)
Ema Shin – Devoted Body (2019)

Since her first child in 2014, she combines her artistic practice with everyday life and works in a home studio to create domestic works that celebrate the life and body of women. Shin aims to create compositions that express sensitivity to tactile materials, the contemporary use of historical techniques, physical awareness, femininity and sexuality.

Ema Shin - Devoted Body (detail) (2019)
Devoted Body (detail) (2019)

Ema’s work is fascinating on so many levels. From a technical point of view, she combines countless types of handicrafts to create these soft versions of organs and body parts. Woven surfaces are decorated with cross stitch and pearl embroidery; Free-form textile pieces are attached to surfaces to bring the pieces to life. Progress shows that she shares on Instagram are a great insight into the construction of their art.

Ema Shin - Soft Alchemy (Lily) - (2017)
Ema Shin – Soft Alchemy (Lily) – (2017)

By emulating these elements with textiles, Ema gives us the opportunity to study them without aversion and to appreciate the splendor of their natural form. Although there is definitely a creative license, these pieces are pretty accurate, so we can look at Daphne’s heart and connect with the embroidery, anatomy, and ultimately the narrative behind the work.

Ema Shin - Daphne's Heart (2019)
Daphne’s heart (2019)

Ema Shin’s recent work is summarized in the Soft Alchemy project. An extremely fitting title that not only reflects technical alchemy, but also recognizes the magic with which a selection of basic elements are naturally combined to form the lungs, nervous system, skin and much more. If we were presented with these organic elements on a plate, we could be struck back, but Ema arranges them as abstract tricks and gives us the freedom to admire them.

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See also

Regi Cherini - NSFW cropped image
Ema Shin - Daphne's Heart (2019) (detail)
Ema Shin – Daphne’s Heart (2019) (detail)

We can marvel at Ema’s work and see the power and beauty of our own physical creation. And maybe we can take the time to be grateful for our being. It is a rare pleasure when this happens, and it is one of the ways that textile art can lead us past our prejudices to more meaningful moments.

Mr. X





The kingpin of contemporary embroidery. Committed to changing the way the world thinks about handcraft.

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