Sophia Narrett’s embroideries require you to look more than once; in fact, they will make you stop and stare. With their minute details and beautiful intricacies, they push sewing to the extreme. We question how it is humanly possible to create such miniature, elaborate scenes. “Embroidered images are immediately intimate and visually tactile”, Sophia explains. “The pace that embroidery dictates has become a meaningful way for me to commit to images, feelings and ideas”. The artist spends weeks working on a single piece; this means that she has time to commit to a narrative and understand the story that she actually wants to tell. As she is making with her hands, there is an even stronger relationship than usual built between her and her art, mimicking the human connections that she recreates within her work.
Sophia’s painterly embroideries explore the interplay between reality and fantasy. “I want to depict confusing interactions between people, especially those that let the imagination and desire blur real life and involve some kind of role-play”, the artist tells It’s Nice That. Sophia has been heavily influenced by pop culture, exploring how it seeps into our thoughts. What we see on the screen can often be troubling. We are often made to desire things that are in fact bad for us — not only through irresistible chocolate adverts but also in scripted reality shows which, as an hour’s episode of Love Island shows, relationships are intoxicatingly over-dramatised and can lead to viewers misguidingly wanting the same thing. Sophia’s work explores this; it retells the fantasies that we dream up in our heads and often try to recreate (mistakenly) in reality.
“I am interested in the way that adults play”, Sophia tells It’s Nice That, “whether their games are consensual or manipulative, and the emotional results of escapism”. The over-the-top images and the carefully captured frenzy in the work highlight how these embroideries are balanced between fantasy and reality. Sometimes, when we replay our dreams in actuality, they can backfire, becoming nightmares. Sophia’s art can be funny, sexy and erotic but there are also deep, dark undertones. In her pieces, we experience the intensity of relationships, how they can quickly turn toxic. All of us have been there. We are familiar with how love can consume us, and this artist’s work recalls our deepest heartbreaks, our naughtiest desires and our overwhelming passions. Each embroidery is an intricate story, a twisted fairy-tale created in one beautifully sewn, colourful panel.