Horrifically Sickening

Hollie Philips

“I learnt about the RSN three years ago whilst researching specialist Degree courses. At the time I was unaware that such a course existed and I quickly knew that this was what I wanted to do. Throughout the past three years, I have absolutely loved my time at the RSN, arriving at Hampton Court Palace every day and being able to have lunch in the gardens really does make the stress of the Degree worth it.

I believe the future of embroidery to be as grotesque, interactive, and surreal as the creator can imagine, morphing into something that is completely different to what embroidery once was. I use embroidery to tell a story, no matter how traumatic. I believe embroidery has the power to bring sometimes horrific narratives to life. As a woman in embroidery, it is important to have a voice, very easily I could let my work plateau among the other stitchers in my field, so instead I choose to go against the norm, whether this is met with celebration or disgust.

I enjoy the uncanny juxtaposition between an unsettling scenario being presented through a very tactile medium like embroidery. It can be rather jarring to see beaded blood and gore presented on a sanitary product, automatically making the viewer feel uneasy and possibly sickened, until your brain realises that it is only embroidery. Traditionally, embroidery is perceived as a feminine task, sometimes for necessity (mending), sometimes for hobby, usually something rather proper and ridged, full of pretty things. But embroidery doesn’t just have to be a feminine task, it can be a feminist task, creating questions that demand answers, showing a stance and breaking boundaries that are set in place. So, this is probably why, in my practice, I am driven by ‘the horrific’ and try to bring a sense of unease through my work with embroidery, to break the stigma attached to this art-form and the stigmas that have been attached to myself, while also expanding the audience’s awareness of what embroidery can be.

I have loved everything about my time at the RSN, from the friends I have made that have the same interests as me, to the location and even all the live projects and industry connections. I have worked in industry for Patrick Grant at E. Tautz, Ralph & Russo, Jasper Conran and I was even lucky enough to work with Hand & Lock on the Bentley EXP 100 GT. The RSN has really helped me as a creative and a freelance practitioner to set up in a field I feel so passionate about. Now that I have graduated from the RSN I see myself going on to work in costume and film. I plan to take some time out to perfect my portfolio and freelance within industry before applying to do an MA at Central Saint Martins.”


You can follow Hollie on her Instagram page.


« back