Cheryl Bridgart- Master of the stitch

Cheryl Bridgart cropped at MB opening -001Cheryl is an internationally recognized master of the art form of  Fine Art Freehand Machine Embroidery. She is an Adelaide artist who creates in a variety of themes; portraits, family pieces, landscapes and animals. She begins with a blank canvas and  uses stitches directly onto it, she does not do anything else to the surface and uses not photography or computers to aid her work. The thing I admire most about her work is the raw purity that can be seen on the surface of her works. I was able to ask Cheryl a few questions about her current exhibition.

How is it Cheryl, that you were inspired to become an Artist?

I always dreamed of being an artist or a fashion designer. I have created art all my life. On my first day at Kindy- I drew everyone in the class a horse! At my grandmothers, as a small child, I used to sketch ideas from her Woman’s Weekly Magazines and sew them on a little Singer sewing machine at home. And from the age of 6 I began scribbling designs on calico to create my own fabric on my Grans machine. I have drawn; painted and stitched always, it’s who I am.

Page 1 Front cover web copy-001I used this scribble sewing technique to decorate my clothes and by the time I was a teenager I made all my clothes. They were always embroidered on, most looked a bit like costumes. Today I still only wear clothes and hats that I have designed, drafted, embroidered and tailored myself. That’s the beginning.

I went to Art School to study Fine Art and did a teaching degree to please my parents. On leaving Art School to be different, I taught myself to stitch portraits from life; friends and family, with the rule that nothing would touch my canvas but the stitch.

Today my art still has that rule, there is no paint, pencil, or print under my stitching and I never work from photos. My images come from my life drawings and my dreams (I keep detailed diaries of my dreams; these are a constant reference material). But today I constantly break rules to keep my work original & different.Now I stitch on art paper-not easy but I have invented a way!


Painting on traditional media only began in 2010, I badly injured my ankle climbing and had to be operated on. As I was on crutches I could not stitch and as I was preparing for a solo

Art exhibition, my John bought me linen canvases and said paint your dream until you can stitch again. As a result I am now taken more seriously as an artist because I paint. So now I have a few paintings in my shows-but my passion is the stitch.

detail---Lose Yourself-2014How long does it take on average to complete a painting using this technique?

My embroideries on paper take over 250 hours to stitch. The paper is so heavily stitched, over hundreds of hours that it becomes a tactile piece of divine fabric.

Thank you for your interest.

This is what’s happening over next few months-My exhibition is on at Murray Bridge Regional Gallery (main gallery) until June 2.
Next I am involved in the RSASA Portrait Exhibition June 23 to 14 July opened by Nick Mitzevich (Director Art Gallery of SA) During the exhibition there are 8 sessions, 29 selected artists to create a portrait live with a distinguished Adelaide sitter eg Chloe Fox MP, Alan Smith- Director State Library, Amanda Pepe- CEO Helpmann Academy. I have been chosen to embroider a portrait of Amanda Pepe on July 4 (11am to 1pm ) & then in the afternoon stitch a portrait of Peter Agilla, African mentor /leader working for DECS. This group of about 32 portraits will be exhibited during SALA July 21 to August 18.
After all this I am having my own solo SALA exhibition at Beltana House, “A Little Attitude” August 11 to 18.

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More of Cheryl’s work is found on her website

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