The Iberian Lynx

Our 2021 Color Builders (40wt) are dedicated to an incredibly worthy cause that falls in line with our goal to increase Aurifil’s sustainability and positive environmental impact — Endangered Species. We’ve drawn our color inspiration from 12 magnificent animals, currently in dire need of attention, advocacy, and compassion.

For this year and beyond, we are collaborating with Earth League International and are looking forward to a strong and effective partnership. We’d encourage you to visit their website to learn about the work that they are doing to help give these precious beings a stronger voice.

April’s featured animal was the Iberian Lynx. Learn more about the Iberian Lynx Color Builder HERE.

The Iberian Lynx is considered to be the world’s most endangered feline. Located in Spain, there are now estimated to be nearly 700 Iberian lynx individuals, a number that has increased over the last decade thanks to the joint efforts of the Spanish national and regional administrations, different NGOs (like WWF), and the European Union (via the LIFE+Iberlince program). The species was downgraded from Critically Endangered in 2015. This would not have been possible without the hard work of dedicated conservationists, breeding in captivity, re-release, and close monitoring of the species. It’s a wonderful success story, still in progress and we’d encourage you to read more via the links below.

How the Iberian Lynx Bounced Back From the Brink of Extinction, Smithsonian Magazine — Oct 2019
Saving a Fussy Predator in Europe with Help From 50,000 Rabbits, New York Times — Mar 2018
Bringing Back the Iberian Lynx, World Wildlife Federation

We love getting to see such gorgeous animals creatively represented in art and were delighted to learn that not only had Aurifil Designer and Textile Artist Sophie Standing created her own Iberian Lynx, she actually taught a virtual class earlier this year, hosted by Fabric Chicks (NV).

Iberian Lynx by Sophie Standing

In a 2016 interview here on Auribuzz, Sophie described her process for textile illustration:

First of all I trawl through images of the mammal subject matter, — sometimes photographs that my husband and I have taken, other times images from friends or other photographers. If they are copywrited, I will approach the photographer for permission to use the image as the basis of my art.

Then, I set to work drawing, using the photograph of the mammal as inspiration. I could simply print out the photo and then enlarge for the artwork, but I like to go back to basics — to study the mammal and draw all the intricate areas before I attempt to draw it with threads!

Once the drawing is finished I then enlarge it to the appropriate scale on a photocopier, sellotape the A3 sheets together (we don’t a photocopier in my town that can print large than A3!), cut it out, and lay it down on a pre-painted canvas cotton background. I pin it in place and trace around it, making sure the nostrils and eyes etc are in the right place.

I then remove the picture and am left with a pencil outline of my mammal. I begin to choose all the fabrics and pin them down on the pencil outlined image.

Then begins the hours of sewing! I always start with the eyes of the mammal and slowly stitch all the details, changing my thread colour continuously to achieve the layers and textures of the creature I’m trying to bring to life in blues and purples and pinks!

Sophie with Bonobo

Sophie brings this expertise to her classes and the resulting student work is truly remarkable. She uses and recommends a variety of fabrics for her technique, but pulls largely from Kaffe Fassett Collective and Liberty London. She always uses Aurifil thread, with a heavy emphasis on 50wt and has reported that about 95% of class samples are also created with Aurifil. It’s absolutely jaw-dropping to see the progress images — from fabric placement to finished project once the thread painting has been completed. With permission from Sophie and her students, we are delighted to share a few examples here today.

Iberian Lynx by Britta Gutling
Iberian Lynx by Jolien Doeschot
Iberian Lynx by Judi Corrado
Iberian Lynx by Judy Barnet
Iberian Lynx by Kim Hickey
Iberian Lynx by Leilani Puurvis
Iberian Lynx by Mickey Ramey
Iberian Lynx by Phyliss Reed Lewis
Iberian Lynx by Stacey Feeney
Iberian Lynx by Toni Nicholas

We’d like to offer our sincere thanks to Sophie and her students. We were only able to share 10 student works here today, but there were over 30 participants total. We honor and respect how much time and attention goes into creating such detailed works of art and we applaud them for their remarkable efforts.

If you’d like to learn more about Sophie’s textile art or if you’re interested in taking one of her classes this year, we’d encourage you to reach out to her via Facebook or Instagram.


  1. Thank you so much Aurifil for the great write up. Aren’t the lynx’s that the students created, with a whole medley of unusual fabrics and the aurifil thread just amazing 😻

  2. Taking this class with Sophie was such a great opportunity and amazing learning experience. I can definitely recommend this to anyone interested in thread painting. And I am absolutely thrilled to see my lynx in this article! Thank you 😊❣️

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