I like thinking that us humans are a part of nature rather than invaders of nature.Loji Höskuldsson
The old design adage, “the medium is the message,” is woven within each embroidered stitch of artist Loji Höskuldsson’s work. Using textured burlap canvasses as his base, the Reykjavík-based artist embroiders thoughtful still-life tableaus that marry organic materials, such as plants and flowers, with consumer goods, including food packaging and trash. The delicacy of his thread work is soothing and serene, featuring bright and airy color palettes that pop against the grey burlap backdrop.
Höskuldsson’s artworks are visually splendid at surface level, while their subject matter adds depth and even an element of cultural commentary. He makes the mundane beautiful to unite the human-made with the natural. Completely captivated by his practice, I reached out to Höskuldsson with a few questions about his work.
Why is embroidery your medium of choice? What does embroidery offer you as a medium that others don’t?
Embroidery is not a time efficient medium, so it’s understandable to ask: why embroidery?
For me, it’s a meditative and mindful craft. It gives me time to think and reflect as I’m working. It is a way to work with natural material, like wool, which offers a variety of textures and color variations.
When and how did you first get into embroidery? How did you develop your signature embroidery style?
While at the Iceland University of Arts, I wanted to try embroidery. I was getting a little tired of all that conceptual art that was going on at that time. My mom is a quilter and a textile artist, and has been encouraging all types of textile work since I was a kid. For a residency I did while studying, she handed me a small tufting tool and, since then, I’ve done nothing but embroidery and tufting.
It took me a while to develop, and a lot of research went into finding the right stitches for my pieces.
What is your creative process like? Do you sketch out a design or composition before embroidering it?
I do a rough sketch in a notebook where I mark dimensions and a rough layout of main themes. Embroidery takes time, so as I’m embroidering the larger objects, I have time to think about smaller details in the picture.
Many of your pieces combine nature and organic elements with consumer products. What are you hoping to communicate with this juxtaposition?
I like thinking that us humans are a part of nature rather than invaders of nature. A consumer product in conversation with organic elements tells a story, and there is a sense of movement that comes along with it. It asks the question of how did this get there?