Clara Nartey - Featured Artist

My artwork explores using machine stitches in a variety of ways - to draw lines, to shade, and color. In my explorations, I discovered that drawing a line with a sewing machine is like sketching with a pen! 
For me, the sewing machine has become a sketching tool. I’ve developed my sewing abilities to a point where I can now use my sewing machine to simulate traditional sketching techniques like making hatch marks for shading. I render my ideas with a needle as my drawing tool, a thread as my ink and fabric as my drawing surface.


One area of focus for my work is portrait drawing with textiles. My portraits examine issues of identity and culture, especially as they relate to women and how society passes judgment based on one’s appearance, for example, one’s hairstyle.

Can women separate who they are from how they look? It’s the question of image versus identity. Is society right to judge you based on what’s on your head rather than what’s in it?  How do women choose to respond to this dynamic – conform or rebel?