Interview printed in Embroidery Magazine (Nov/Dec 2017)
Sorrell Kerrison’s expressive style of embroidery made her the perfect choice for a unique album cover commission
What attracted you to working with embroidery?
I’ve been creating using a wide variety of mediums
as long as I can remember. Sewing and embroidery came through a make do and mend attitude in my childhood. In my teenage years I loved to embellish my denim jeans and backpacks with band slogans andlyrics. I pursued lm making and music at university,yet I still made my own clothes and embellishedthem, as a hobby more than anything else. As my skills grew, I was able to weave in various art forms to create better and better embroidery pieces, and these in uences still inform my work to this day.
The tactility and wearability of thread and textile always brings me back to working in embroidery.
How would you best describe your style
I’ve always loved using simple tools and methods
that can be made into something complex and intricate. Biro is one of my go-to drawing tools – nothing expensive – just straightforward biro onpaper. I scribble, never lifting my pen from the paper,or use lines and cross hatching. I thought I could applymy style of drawing to my embroidery pieces, using
a range of stitching styles to mimic the pen.
What tools do you use?
I usually do a few sketches from reference photosrst.When I’m happy with that I’ll transfer it onto the material I’m working on, using transferable ink. I stretch my material in a hoop, gather myDMC threads and an embroidery needle and
go from there.
How do you select your subject matter?
My embroidered portraits are always of individualswhom I nd inspiring. Some have inspired my work directly and others are just people I nd fascinating
in some way or another. My work is steeped in music, lm and literary culture.The individuals I choose
to portray all have faces that seem multi-layered, asif their complex personalities come through in their physical features. It’s my job to try and capture
as much of this depth as I possibly can.
Can you tell us how the album cover commission came about?
I met Andrew Hung whilst he was producing an album for the band Zun Zun Egui back in 2015,whom I was tour managing at the time. I’d stayedin touch with his manager, Zoe Davis, through Instagram. She told me that Andrew was yet to nd artwork to suit his new record.When she showed him a piece I’d recently nished (a portrait of grime MC Wiley) he thought I would be a
great t, and so they asked if I would be interestedin running some test pieces. I then received anadvanced, roughly mixed and unmastered copy ofthe album to listen to and they asked me to createa portrait of Andrew using my embroidery style.
I listened to it (Realisationship by Andrew Hung
on Lex Records) to garner the feel of the piece and just went with my intuition. Luckily, Andrewwas trusting enough to hand me a lot of creativecontrol, which is practically unheard of whencreating a commission of this nature.
What memorable responses have
you had to your work?
Most of the responses to the album cover art have been great. I love it when people ask which computer program was used to create it and they’re told that it was hand stitched and scannedonly once it was nished. It’s nice to show thatthe analogue arts of old are still represented in
a contemporary forum.
What are you working on currently?
A portrait of the author Margaret Atwood. I ndher literary works incredibly insightful and scarilyprophetic, especially in the current climate, and
I admire her greatly. I’m also working on a major commission for Bolton Museum’s Egyptology Collection. I’m making four embroidered portraits of the museum’s major archeological collectors and benefactors.The pieces will be available to see in the museum in September 2018.