The embroidery of Sarah K. Benning

Sarah K. Benning

In each issue of Flow, we ask three creative entrepreneurs: ‘what are you up to’? In Issue 29, we talk to Sarah K. Benning, an American embroidery artist who lives in New Hampshire. 

When did you first discover embroidery?

“I started stitching back in 2013 as a hobby after graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I had just moved to Albany, New York, where I took an unpaid internship working in the scientific illustration department of the New York State Museum. I was feeling burned out with the art world, and even though I had graduated with a Fine Arts degree, I had no interest in pursuing a fine art career. What I did know is that I needed some kind of creative outlet to keep my hands busy. Embroidery became that outlet. It just felt perfect. It didn’t take very long to fall in love with embroidery and it began to take over my life—in a good way!”

How did you learn it?

“I am self-taught in terms of stitching, and learned through trial and error and experimentation. But the physical act of embroidery is only part of what defines my work. The formal elements of art also come into it: composition, line, color, balance, perspective and more. I think of my pieces as illustrations and drawings that happen to be made with thread rather than ink. And I have eight years of art school to thank for those skills.”

Have you always been creative?

“Yes, I always knew I wanted to be an artist. I grew up in Baltimore and had the opportunity to attend The Baltimore School for the Arts. This very special secondary school divides the day between academics and the arts, and it was there that I got a sense that it is possible to be an artist as a profession.”

  • Read the full interview with Sarah and other creatives in Issue 29.
  • Find out more about Sarah’s work on her website.

Text Jeanette Jonker  Photography Sarah K. Benning