Almost anyone who’s ever laid their eyes on the colourful embroidered sketches of designer-photographer-VJ Danielle Clough has wanted to own one. And now anyone with an Internet connection and fast reflexes can.

The gifted 2016 Design Indaba Emerging Creative launched an online store on 25 February to give fans first-come-first-serve access to her one-of-a-kind fibre artworks, including all her work done on vintage tennis rackets and all her intricate sewn jewellery. Plus, she’ll also be selling prints of her work via the virtual platform to make her one-offs more accessible to many.


This exciting step for Danielle comes on the tail end of a lengthy educational journey, one that started out almost by accident.

‘I never made a conscious decision to make this my life,’ she explains. ‘Like with other hobbies and passions, I just made choices that led me to include embroidery in my day-to-day and then before I even realised it, it had taken over’.


Her success can, of course, be attributed mainly to her very unusual but remarkable ability to turn threads into fine art, but social media played a big role too. From the beginning Danielle shared photos of her work on Facebook and her blog and the positive online response encouraged her to continue, but it was Instagram that got her an international audience, multiple commissions and a place on the global map (her success on this platform was so great that it even caught the attention of CNN).

Interestingly enough though, it’s actually the very non-digital, non-technological nature of her work that seems to appeal most to people. She believes that the popularity of her pieces is in part due to the fact that, in a reaction to the fast-paced online age, ‘there is a growing appreciation for crafts that take time and come with a story’.


Naturally, Danielle’s journey has also been one of great self-growth and she’s picked up a number of lessons along the way.

‘I’ve learnt to make sure I keep good scissors in every room of the house and that putting needles in the couch is NEVER a good idea,’ she says. ‘More emotionally, I’ve also learnt not to compare myself to other people and their successes and to be grateful for the little things.’


And in fact, she says she’s definitely still learning and developing her style. So we can expect many new and exciting things from her in future – she plans to tackle larger works and multimedia pieces and is currently, in her words, ‘experimenting with something MUCH bigger that I can hopefully take to the streets, literally’.

In other words, now is a very good time to get your hands on her pieces…so you can own one before her fame skyrockets and so does her value.


To call an original Danielle Clough thread sketch your own, visit her new online shop at anytime after 5pm from 25 February onwards.

You can also follow her Instagram account: @fiance_knowles.


South Africa might be a far cry from New York, but that hasn’t stopped three clever Cape Town artists from making their work known across the waters through the smart use of the social media platform Instagram.

Origamist Ross Symons, miniaturist Lorraine Loots and embroidery artist Danielle Clough, who stitches artwork onto old tennis rackets and other found objects, have been lauded by CNN for their hefty combined Instagram following of 370 000.


Ross Symons’s origami horse.

Each artist has been one of House and Leisure’s Rising Stars in the past, with Ross featuring on our list in 2015 and Lorraine and Danielle both on the list in 2014.

Danielle Clough's Aloe racket.

Danielle Clough’s Aloe racket.

Thanks to their activity on Instagram, all three have seen international interest in their work. Lorraine exhibited 730 of her works in New York at the Three Kings Studio gallery last year, while Ross did a stock frame animation for Christian Dior’s tour from Paris to Tokyo and Danielle has created work for Converse. Their success is a lesson in how powerful social media can be in turning art into business.


Lorraine Loots’s platypus.

Read more about each artist over here:

Q&A: Lorraine Loots

Rising Star Danielle Clough

Don’t stop folding: Ross Symons


Give them each Instagram love here:

Danielle Clough

Lorraine Loots

Ross Symons

No longer the boring, traditional pastime of yesteryear, embroidery has re-emerged in a much more exciting, contemporary and painstakingly detailed way. There’s been a considerable move towards miniature art, as we’ve seen in the steady success of Lorraine Loots‘ 365 Painting for Ants. In the case of embroidery, with nothing more than a needle, some brightly coloured thread and whole host of ideas, these local and international embroiderers are taking the art world by storm:

1. Danielle Clough

One of our 2014 Rising Stars, Danielle Clough of Motherclougher is a local embroidery queen. For this Cape Town-based artist, living in a mess of threads and needles is the norm. ‘I like to think I’m not a closet nerd, but my love for embroidery suggests I am,’ Danielle told us in her Rising Stars interview. Moved by colour combinations, Danielle likes to find fresh ways of exploring traditional tapestries. ‘With the right mind-set, we can be inspired by the simplest things.’ With her desire to keep creating, travel more and exhibit her work, Danielle says it feels like she’s living her dream – ‘and that’s pretty big’.




2. Stephanie Kelly Clark

With a focus on tiny households, Stephanie Kelly Clark of Salt Lake City, creates mini domestic scenes that look more like paintings than thread. On her website, Stephanie explains that she considers herself ‘a painter who paints with thread… blur[ring] the lines between fine art and craft’.




Images credit: stephaniekellyclark


3. Ana Teresa Barboza

Mimicking the flow of nature, Peruvian-born Ana Teresa Barboza creates stunning, (literal) boundary-breaking art. Her embroidered landscapes emerge out of the tiny frames that house them, bursting wildly outwards as if charging through into the viewer’s space.



Images credit: anateresabarboza


4. Chloe Giordano

This Oxford-based embroidery artist specialises in miniature woodland creatures. Highly detailed and almost three dimensional, the threads behave as shading and contouring in creating these adorable little animals.




Images credit: karenin


Read More:

Q&A: Lorraine Loots

Rising Stars: Illustrators

Winter Embroidery

Gorgeous Embroidered Book Covers

We love Instagram for helping us  to uncover the creativity of ordinary people from around the world.

Here’s our list of favourite Insta-crafters, the awe-inspiring users whose weird and wonderful talents have caught our eye and got us hooked on their feeds.


Danielle Clough (fiance_knowles)

A South African embroidery artist is making this old school craft cool again through her brightly coloured, intricately shaded pieces of hoop art.


Seb Lester (seblester)

 A calligraphy artist recreates iconic brand names and titles from pop culture in these 15 second clips that are strangely soothing to watch…

Doodling A video posted by Seb Lester (@seblester) on


Anna Kliewer (butherightthing)

This locally based artist uses some clever cutting skills to twist vintage images into mind-bending collages.

thursday. #papercollage #collagecollectiveco

A photo posted by anna bu kliewer (@butherightthing) on


Ariele Alasko (arielealasko)

A woodworker from America posts daily pictures of everything she makes in her workshop, including some stunningly hand carved spoons and butter knives.


Anna Bond (annariflebond)

This illustrator and entrepreneur co-founded Rifle Paper Co., a company producing her intricate designs on everything from invitations to iPhone covers.


Ross Symons (white_onrice)

Ross is an origami artist from Cape Town who uses his folding skills to come up with an array of masterpieces that fit in the palm of his hand.




Watch: A Tradition of Craftsmanship

Fabric-covered Crockery

Top 10 Craft Beers



For game-changing home makeovers, insider industry contacts and fresh decor updates, get your copy of the July 2015 Renovations issue, on sale now!