Danielle Clough

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Art Craft Design

Danielle Clough Reimagines Sportswear and Athletic Gear in Vibrantly Expressive Embroideries

January 24, 2023

Kate Mothes

Am embroidered portrait of eyes surrounded by colorful, loose threads.

All images © Danielle Clough, shared with permission

Utilizing vintage tennis rackets, T-shirts, and tie-dyed fabrics as canvases, Danielle Clough’s expressive embroideries (previously) sport summery motifs like flamingo pool floats, bright citrus, and bucket hats. The artist continues to expand upon the traditional hoop as the framing device and considers how the medium translates to unexpected surfaces like surfboards or apparel. And she isn’t afraid to experiment: her design for a surfboard—a bird perched on a large flower with a stem that trails into loose threads—didn’t go as planned when the time came to apply the piece to the physical board. However, the learning experience shaped the way she approaches future projects.

A recent series of vibrant human eyes stitched onto Adidas shirts comprise a collaboration with the brand to produce limited-edition wearable artworks. “The brief was broad: to create a sense of individual expression through the community,” Clough explains. “This collection of ‘expressions’ looks out from the wearer’s chest. Standing alone, but all together; a part of a group, like a bouquet.” She has also been experimenting with different threads and watercolor, focusing on the fabric background as an important part of the overall composition.

Clough says, “I’m currently working with a South African clothing brand called Poetry on creating a collection for spring using a variety of techniques to translate my work onto apparel,” and shares that she is also collaborating with Florida-based boxing glove maker 1V1 to create embellished mitts. Toward the end of this year, Clough will also present a series of workshops at Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia. Find more of her work on her website, and follow the latest updates on Instagram.


A series of tennis and badminton rackets that have embroidered flowers in the nets.

A series of tennis and badminton rackets that have embroidered flowers in the nets.

Am embroidered portrait of eyes surrounded by colorful, loose threads.

Embroidered flowers in the net of a vintage tennis racket.

A series of portraits of eyes embroidered onto t-shirts which are rolled up to display all of the portraits.

Two images of embroidered flowers in the nets of vintage tennis rackets.

An embroidered portrait of a young woman wearing a bucket hat in profile, on a blue and purple watercolor base.

Embroidered lemons on a colorful watercolor base.

Am embroidered portrait of eyes surrounded by colorful, loose threads.

A pink flamingo embroidered on a blue fabric.

An embroidery of a bird perched on a large flower, on a blue background.

A detail of an embroidered bird.

An embroidery of a bird perched on a large flower, on a blue background.





Skillshare Spotlight: Learn Danielle Clough’s Thread Painting Techniques

February 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

We’ve written about Danielle Clough’s intimate embroidered portraits and botanical works stitched on everyday objects on Colossal, and now the Cape Town-based photographer, designer, and embroidery artist is offering a Skillshare class to teach her thread painting methods. Tailored for beginners, her lesson plans include basic stitches and French knots and instructions on creating textures, color gradients, and dimension. She also provides a full guide to preparing your fabric, hoop, needle, and thread. When you’ve completed the 14-part class, you’ll have created a floral embroidery. Head to Skillshare to dive into Clough’s creative process.



Art Craft

Intimate Embroidered Portraits by Danielle Clough

November 14, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski


Cape Town-based artist Danielle Clough (previously here and here) embroiders portraits of friends and loved ones, adapting black and white images of subjects into multi-colored works. By working from black and white images the resulting works are not tied to the colors present in the original images, creating vibrant pieces that feature bright oranges, purples, and blues.

The portraits featured here were produced by Clough for the upcoming book Queer Africa II, a collection of new stories about love on the continent of Africa. The editors, Makhosazana Xaba and Karen Martin, were drawn to Clough’s work for the publication because of the conceptual linkage of her layered yarn to the personal narratives told in the book, which Zaba explained “adds meaning and speaks to the zigzagging nature of our lives.”

Queer Africa II will be published next month through MaThoko’s Books and be available online through both Amazon and African Books Collective. You can see more portraits by Clough on her Instagram, and take a look into the artist’s process on her blog.




danielleclough_05    danielleclough_01



Art Craft

New Embroidered Works on Rackets, Shoes, and Fences by Danielle Clough

May 10, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski


All images provided by Danielle Clough


Embroidering rackets rather than swinging them, Danielle Clough (previously) uses thick thread to create multi-colored images of aloe and other fauna on vintage tennis rackets, the strings acting as her loom. Recently the Cape Town-based artist and designer was commissioned by Vans to embroider four pairs of shoes—a task that lead to kicks decorated with kiwis and pears, Pussy Riot, and a rat seen below.

Clough has also begun to embroider on fences, taking her craft to public arenas such as this years Upfest where she will be completing her first public street art embroidery. You can see more detailed images of her work on her Instagram, and a behind the scenes look at her process on her blog.













Art Craft

Flowers Embroidered on the Strings of Vintage Rackets and Other Thread Artworks by Danielle Clough

January 5, 2016

Christopher Jobson


Cape Town-based designer and embroidery artist Danielle Clough uses thick, bright thread to create stunning images of flowers, portraits of people, and other images including fast food, emojis, and birds. Some of her most unusual pieces are different flowers hung on the strings of vintage badminton and tennis rackets. You can explore more of her work in this gallery and over on Instagram.