thread week: Debbie Smyth


I've had Debbie Smyth's website bookmarked for quite some time and when I was working out the concepts for issue 16—which includes both thread/string/knitting/knotting as well as concepts of home and nesting—I asked to see if she would share her work on our cover. Fortunately she agreed and the result is a very attractive cover that touches on multiple themes.

Debbie Smyth is textile artist most identifiable by her statement thread drawings; these playful yet sophisticated contemporary artworks are created by stretching a network of threads between accurately plotted pins. Her work beautifully blurs the boundaries between fine art drawings and textile art, flat and 3D work, illustration and embroidery, literally lifting the drawn line off the page in a series of “pin and thread” drawings.

“On first glance, it can look like a mass of threads but as you get closer sharp lines come into focus, creating a spectacular image. The images are first plotted out before being filled out with the thread, the sharp angles contrasting with the floating ends of the thread.  And despite the complexity of the lengthy process I try to capture a great feeling of energy and spontaneity, and, in some cases, humour.”

Debbie plays with scale well; creating both gallery installations and works for domestic interiors. Her unique style lends itself to suit corporate environments, public spaces, window display, set design, graphic design and illustration. By collaborating with interior designers, architects and other creative practitioners, Debbie pushes the expected scope of her work even further.

“I feel as if I am taking thread out of its comfort zone, presenting it on monumental scale and creating an eye-catching, and in some cases, jaw-dropping effect.”


This post kicks off "Thread Week" here on the blog. Each day we will be sharing posts related to thread, needlework and all variety of creativity related to string—from the simple to the extraordinary.

For our local friends, make sure that you join us this Saturday for our Embroidery B and issue launch at Stash in Inglewood! Click here for details and to RSVP.