Embroidery is a form of needlework characterized by decorative stitching onto fabric, leather, or other materials. It has a rich global history that dates back to Eurasia over 40,000 years ago.

Like most forms of handicraft, embroidery is often relegated to the category of archaeological objects or decorative arts, thus being denied the cultural significance afforded to fine art. 

Over the past several decades, many artists have been challenging the hierarchy that has valued painting and sculpture above the art and craft forms traditionally considered women’s work. These artists have found compelling ways to explore topics including gender and sexuality, history and tradition through methods that push the boundaries of traditional embroidery.

Our favorite embroidery artists include:

Judy Chicago 

  • Learn about this iconic and ever-evolving mixed media feminist artist

  • Watch her describe her experiences as a pioneer in the feminist art movement

Orly Cogan 

The Wonder of You

  • Read this fascinating interview with Cogan and learn more about her practice and what inspires her 

Elsa Hansen Oldham 


  • Read about how Oldham incorporates elements of pop culture into her work in very witty ways