We’ve been following the work of Sophie Standing, an incredibly talented textile & fiber artist, for years and are completely enamored with her breathtaking works of art. She brings her subjects to life with a stunning combination of fabric and thread, pulling from countless hues, layering various patterns and thread weights, and expertly piecing them all together to become one amazing image. Sophie references both her extensive artistic background and her physical surroundings to create these artworks.
We’ve been working with Sophie as an artist for quite some time. We even featured her right here on Auribuzz back in March of last year. Earlier this year, she let us know that she would be traveling to the US from her then home in the Seychelles, and we saw it as a tremendous opportunity. Sophie has been traveling more and more, teaching lucky groups of quilters how to get started with textile art and embroidery. What better way to honor our admiration than with a curated thread collection. Sophie pulled together her absolute go-to threads, her must-haves for getting started with her medium of choice. The resulting collection is not only gorgeous, but incredibly versatile.
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Thread Painting: The Mammal Collection
100% Aurifil Cotton, 12 Large Spools (1422yds/spool)
2021 – 2318 – 2605 – 2360 – 2630 – 2692
2270 – 2530 – 2120 – 2870 – 2735 – 1148
To view this info on our website, click here. For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.
What first drew you to to the world of sewing and quilting?
Sewing was always a big part of my life. From the age of 11 or 12 (I can’t quite remember), I was working in a craft shop run by an Italian woman. It was a tiny little space, filled with skeins of cotton and silk and wool. It was like an Acadians cave. I didn’t earn much money but always managed to spend it all in the shop on threads, cross stitch samplers, or ‘make your own teddy’ kits.
As I got older my sewing and creative flair turned more towards clothes and fashion. I loved fabrics and would buy them without even knowing what they were going to be used for. I was a total fabric hoarder… and not just quilting and haberdashery fabrics. Also woven textiles from Guatemala, Indian silks, Indonesian embroideries. Two of my most treasured possessions are the large hand woven and embroidered bed throw/wall hangings that my husband, Andre, bought me in Bhutan when he was on business there. They are both more than 70 years old. The hand embroidery is exquisite and the amount of hours it must have taken to create is mind blowing.
I started doing a bit of machine embroidery on skirts and dresses, just the odd heart and group of bubbles or balloons, and gradually started experimenting more. Whilst living in Cape Town my friend Saskia asked if could create some fabric art pieces for the walls of her shop on Long Street, Misfit. These were the first pieces of textile embroidered art that I made. It was three pieces in total: a rabbit, three swallows and a meadow of flowers.
I had never worked like that before, creating animals with coloured fabric appliqué and then sewing the details with threads, but I loved it. I guess it just combined my love of of so many things… flora and fauna, fabrics, threads, sewing, & art.
Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
I would say my greatest inspiration comes from the world around me. I’m a wildlife artist — my work has been heavily influenced by my past 17 years living in Africa. The fabrics of KFC (Kaffe, Brandon and Philip) and Liberty London… they are what make my work what it is. Together with the vast array of colours from Aurifil, I can use thread to paint on these fabrics so beautifully to make my animals come alive.
What do you love most about the process of thread painting?
Turning a 2d colourful and floral fabric surface into a 3D sculptural mammal.
Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve created?
I have a few, actually… and some of them, I don’t like much at all! My favourites are the silver back gorilla, Satao the great tusker, the hunting lioness, and neon kifaru (rhino).
When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I was first introduced to Aurifil when both Luke Haynes and Liza Lucy told me how wonderful they were and that I should try them. I couldn’t find them in Kenya so Liza sent me a few spools from the US to try out and I loved them immediately.
The amount of colours that are available is fabulous. I have the colour chart on the wall of my studio like a piece of art, it’s delicious! They are glossy but without giving too much shine to my work. They are very rich and almost glow!
The weights are brilliant. I mainly use 50 weight for all the very fine detailing, facial features and hair, and whiskers. I switch to 40 for the areas of the body that still need hair or wrinkly skin texture — it covers a bit faster. The 28 and 12 weight are really great for extra definition in certain areas. They work best in fish and birds in my work.
Oh, and the different spool sizes too. For my work, using all four thickness, its ranges from 1300mt to 750mt of cotton on a spool. For my last exhibition, I used approximately 22,000mt of thread. That was finished spools so it was a lot more than that as there were many half and quarter used spools.
How did you go about selecting colors for Thread Painting: The Mammal Collection and what excites you most about releasing the collection to the world?
My mammals created first with fabric appliqués. I use fabrics from Kaffe Fassett, Brandon Mabley, Philip Jacobs, and Liberty of London’s Tana Lawn. These are mostly colourful bright fabrics, bold and fun, and some. like the Liberty prints, are small in scale. With this in mind, when I work with thread painting, I need a color palette of naturals and neutrals contrasted with the brights. This collection features all of my go-to threads for mammals.
To enter-to-win Sophie’s Thread Painting collection, click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page, or simply click on the image above. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have! Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Monday, September 18! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Tuesday, September 19. Good luck!
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Sophie Standing was born in England and grew up in Hampshire. She studied wood, metal, ceramics, and textiles at Liverpool Hope University. Since graduating, Sophie has worked as an artist in many different mediums, including works in ceramics, stained glass windows, weaving, dress making and more recently experimenting with textile art. She was fortunate for many years to be part of the team that designed, installed and displayed the award winning windows at Fortnum and Mason, Piccadilly, London. She is also an accomplished wedding florist and fine artist, life drawing being a specialty.
In 2003 Sophie moved to Cape Town, South Africa and is now living in Kenya. Sophie’s textile embroidered art is inspired by the flora and fauna around her in Africa and combines this with her passion for fabrics and textiles. Her one off pieces are created by appliqueing an intricate collage of fabric onto the canvas where her image is already sketched out. She then draws the details over the top of the fabric with her sewing machine using many different coloured threads.
Sophie has an extensive collection of fabrics from all over the world and in a vast array of designs and textures, ranging across haberdashery, dress making, quilting, new and vintage, floral, modern, wool, cotton, silk… Liberty and Kaffe Fasset being among her favourites.
Although Sophie enjoys working towards exhibitions she usually works to private commission and enjoys the process of working closely with clients on a project. She has sold works to clients in Kenya, South Africa, UK and Germany.
** Images, biographical text, and interview text by Sophie Standing
So much creativity in every piece you make!!!
The vibrancy of her color choices and the beautiful stitching! Thanks for sharing!
What is there NOT to love about her work – It is beautiful.
Her thread paintings are so lifelike that they draw you in. Then upon more careful examination, the fabulous use of prints amazes me.
I am in total awe… the colors, intricate stitching…everything!!!
Beautiful work! I love the details the most. Amazing colors!!
I love the way you have created the eyes. It seems like the animal is alive and may come through the artwork….twilight zone………..
The unexpected use of the bright bold fabrics.
The colors! So rich and vibrant, and realistic.
What’s not to love the.. depth and beauty!
Her work is so creative and beautiful.
Absolutely gorgeous colors and textures.
I love the layering on the design – so intricate looking!
Love the fact that they look lifelike yet still have the pops of fabric color:) Just amazing!!!
Sophie’s work is just amazing – a true artist!
So intricate and detailed! Beautiful!
Fascinating work…an incredible artist.
Oh my this work is
Carla from Utah
Her work is incredible. I admire her artistry and patience. What a gift to have an eye that can reproduce an image so lifelike. Thanks for sharing her interview…amazing!
WOW! It is beautiful. I would LOVE to be able to do this.
Oh my I love everything she has created. Sew beautiful.
I love Sophie’s use of color. The thread set has a wonderful selection. Thanks for a great giveaway.
She is “sew talented”!! Her work is unbelievable! So lifelike and beautiful!
I love how detailed Sophie’s work is and the unexpected colors she adds to her pieces.
such amazing work. I love the expression she gives to the animals
I love how natural the whimsical fabrics and threads look on Sophie’s creations.
these animal are amazing, so creative and colorful.
Absolutely beautiful pieces of work. I wish I knew how to create designs like these.
Sophie’s thread painting is amazing- all the thread colors bring each & everyone to life!
Wow!! What imagination.
I love how realistic they look. Just amazing work!
just love Sophie’s beautiful art – the little bits of fabric coming through, the awesome thread work, and the beautiful faces she creates – such stunning artwork
I love her work. I would so love to take one of Sophie’s classes.
Amazing attention to detail and great use of color.
I love the way patterned fabrics and thread sketching come together to create these beautiful animal portraits.
Beautiful! Love the rhino.
Thank you for introducing us to Sophie! I had seen a few pictures of her gorgeous work. Great article! Another creative use of the great Aurifil colors of threads!
She has a wonderful talent.
what a talent…..these are incredible artworks…..just love them. would love to have a class with her
I love the detail and the stunning results! They must be wonderful to see in person!
OMGosh – what a fantastic talent – her work is absolutely amazing!
Wow oh wow!!! Such detail, such talent, such beauty. Her work is stunning. Just beautiful.
tushay3 (at) yahoo (dot) com
I like everything about it, the detail especially.
Sophie’s work is so unique and the attention to detail is just amazing! Such talent!
This work is incredible! So beautiful, and so different. I need to see more up close, and see how she uses thread. Awesome talent.
LOOOOVE Sophie’s work!! Have never seen such Amazing projects!! The colors & stitching makes the animals Pop off the fabric at you! 🙂
Beautiful thread paintings!!! Love her work!!!
The color choices are amazing but the detail is truly impressive.
Sophie is so inspirational!!!
Her work is absolutely stunning. It would be amazing to take one of her classes, Thanks for sharing. grinnie1961 at gmail dot com
I’m in awe of your talent. Keep up the great work!
Beyond amazing. Hope I can see her work in person some day.
The animals are so realitic, wonderful!
I hope to be able to see her work in person some day….and even take one of her thread painting classes!!
These thread paintings are awesome! They are so lifelike and expressive. Sophie has real talent! Thanks!
ONe forgets that the image is made up of so many different fabrics and colors when viewing them. They are so lifelike and have such depth. I can only imagine the hundreds of hours that are invested in each work of art….for that is what they are!!!
What a talented artist!
I love how the colored threads and the fabrics meld together to breathe life into the animals!
I love the amazing way that she uses fabrics, especially florals, like paints to create her animals!
I love how the fabrics and threads create such realistic images. Amazing!
Love the way the animals come to life with the thread sketching! So talented!
Love the work. Love sharing it with friends in the art world.
Your work is amazing!
I stand in awe of your talent
Love these! Such a smooth blend between fabric and image!
I love how the bold floral fabric and beautiful threads are used to show the detail of each animal. Amazing artistic vision & design!
Inspirational work, I love the contrast between the realistic detail achieved with the stitching and the colourful fabrics
this is amazing! I would love to be able to do that.
It is in the eyes it brings the piece alive…amazing talent….Noelene from Australia…