Sophie Rawlingson is an artist-illustrator experimenting with embroidery and textiles to bring texture to her illustrations. Her unique illustrative style has been commissioned by well-known brands including Teen VOGUE, The Hoxton hotels, Camel Assembly and The Debrief. With influences from her studies in Graphic Design at the University of the Arts London, Sophie offers a modern take on embroidery with her bold colours and structured graphic lines.
Inspired to learn embroidery by her grandma, Sophie’s embroideries are where the digital world meets an ancient craft, the online and the offline worlds coming together in her stitches. Her work grounds us back to what really matters, our own traditions and history. She opens the door to memories of lost times and makes us treasure the simple pleasures in life. When she picks up her needles, she immerses herself into her own world, finding her alone time and escaping the noise of the city.
But Sophie’s practice is anchored in the present. Through her bold style, her illustrations are a lesson of bravery, fearlessly comparing past and present societal paradigms. She is not afraid to ask the questions we try to ignore and offers an acute depiction of our present society. Her work resonates with our deepest fears making us acknowledge them. At the heart of Sophie’s practice is a strong sense of female empowerment. Through her minimalist graphic lines and bold colours, she empowers women and celebrate the curves of female contours. She keeps things simple, drawing faces and aspects of their personality, making them look confident, empowered and sassy women.
Cathartic and frustrating at times, embroidery is a process and patience is key. Sophie takes us through her rituals of organising the threads and the needles on the table, planning the needle work and working through the colours and patterns. She pulls through the repetition of the stitches on a monotonous patch of colours, undoes her mistakes and starts again. Following her instincts, she intuitively figures out where to move the needle next. One thread at a time, Sophie pushes the limits of art to become an object that can be held and touched.
Education | BA Graphic Design, University of the Arts London
Group Exhibitions | CUNT curated by Laundry Arts at KK Outlet (London), 2017