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Yiling Wu

Embroidery Artist

1. Your artistic journey spans from Taiwan to London, and you draw inspiration from nature, cultural traditions, and social issues. How have these diverse influences shaped your unique approach to embroidery?

A: I will say growing up in Taiwan provides me the opportunity to see and interpret my inspirations in different angles. Landing in London later on provides me the platform and training I can speak up for myself. Both cultural backgrounds affect me as an embroidery artist in multiple ways from research analysing to materials selection while creating my embroidery works.

2. In your work statement, you mention pushing the boundaries of 2D and 3D embroidery. Could you share some examples of how you combine various techniques and materials to achieve this artistic exploration?

A: When thinking about pushing boundaries between 2D and 3D, I will first think about how my embroidery can act without fabric support, does the design be enough to support themselves without having a base fabric? Later I will start researching materials that can become additional support to my embroidery designs. If in some cases there’s no possibility to turn embroidery into fully 3D artwork, then I will go back to the 2D basics.

3. Your distinctive style of embroidery involves digital embroidery skills and hand beading methods. How do you balance these traditional and modern elements to create cohesive and visually captivating pieces?

A: I will say there is never a true balance between traditional embroidery and digital embroidery.

All it takes is to keep testing, add-on, take-off, add-on and take-off, until a point I feel myself is physically and mentally comfortable with how my artwork looks. Is not a short process, sometimes it takes 5 minutes but most of the time I want to punch myself in the end.

4. Your works are described as embodying a conceptual and minimalistic approach. How do you communicate complex ideas and emotions through the seemingly simple medium of embroidery?

A: I will say sketching is a very important part of my work, not saying delicate drawing, most of the time my sketching are simple quick sketches. Through this process I can visualise how I would like my embroidery to look like, where can I add-on or where can I take-off, also play around with different collages of materials and techniques. Of course later on I need to visualise my design into delicate sketches for the digital embroidery process, but apart from that, I think the quick sketches process helps me a lot with translating complex ideas to simple stitches.

5. Each stitch in your embroidery seems to carry a profound aspiration. What do you hope your audience takes away from experiencing your pieces, and how do you convey your inner peace through your art?

A: I hope the audiences or whoever walks past my works can find their own freedom through my works. We might all be trapped inside some stereotype once in our life, but I hope the audience can take away the feeling of “we are enough to be ourselves, we are all blooming in our own timeline.”

I convey my inner peace through simple stitches and colours in my artworks. Instead of layering multiple stitches in one artwork, I always prefer the simplest stitch that I could express while creating my embroidery. Besides, I always prefer less colour appearance in one artwork as I believe the less colour I involve in one artwork the stronger my emotion can express.

6. Your dedication to creating one-of-a-kind embroidery pieces is evident. How do you approach the process of ensuring each artwork bears its own individuality and charm?

A: I approach the one-of-a-kind idea with embroidery material called water soluble fabric. After embroidering on the fabric and washing it out, my embroidery design will become uncertain. Until this stage, each of my embroidery artworks will be one-of-a-kind, even if they are coming from the same embroidery design.

7. Could you tell us about the role of colours in your embroidery and how you choose the palettes to enhance the narrative and emotions in your work?

A: Colour is how I express the theme of my artworks to my audience. Usually I will set the bigger theme of my artwork collection first, later on I will play with multiple colour combinations to see if they speak to me in the right way I want to deliver to the audience, normally I will give myself a limitation to the colour options as I always feel the less colour I use, the more my work can speak.

8. Being featured in prestigious events like Premiere Vision and Taiwan Expo must have been exhilarating. How have these experiences impacted your artistic career and the direction of your work?

A: Being able to be part of these prestigious events does help me with getting a clearer image of how I can sit in this industry as an artist and designer, and also inspires me to think deeper about the relationship between embroidery and fashion. However, after attending these events also guided me to rethink my vision of embroidery, does embroidery need to align with fashion? Can embroidery become the main character of its own?

9. Looking ahead, what exciting projects or themes are you planning to explore in your future embroidery artworks?

A: I would like to push the limits and explore the limits of 3D embroidery, also experiment on the scale of my embroidery as well. Apart from that, I would like to explore different mediums apart from resin that could bring my embroidery to another level.

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