Hoop Art: Tips and Ideas

Here you are, you’ve fallen in love with embroidery, it makes you happy. It relaxes you, perhaps it keeps you busy, but also, finally, after years feeling creatively dry, it’s happened: you’ve found your Holy Grail of a hobby. Maybe by now, you’ve become obsessed, and spend your evenings learning new stitches. Great!! We have something in common you and I.  But, you ask yourself – awake in the middle of the night:  what to embroider next? Where to find inspiration? And what is hoop art? Should you try it out? Can you do it? Are you good enough??
First of all, of course you are good enough. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. But also, you know, the more you practice the better you become, and you’ll find your own style, I’m certain of it. Then, let me say one thing about the so called ’embroidery hoop art’: it’s a categorisation that is generic, to say the least. You really don’t have to embroider in a hoop for the rest of your life. In fact, here’s some advice I can give you.
Charles Henry holding his embroidery hoop

Embroidery Artist Charles Henry is inspired by architecture around him. Pretty cool.You should definitely check him on Instagram.

  • Embroidery art isn’t all floral. 

Whenever I mentioned embroidery, floral was definitely what people had in mind, and to be honest, there’s nothing too wrong with it. I love embroidering flowers. But hey, let’s be a bit more open-minded! The spectrum is huge! Abstract designs, mark making, architectural, narrative embroidery, you name it. Explore your infinite options!

  • Think out of the hoop.

You’d be surprised by some of the incredible textile art out there. As you may already know, the world of embroidery is an old, ancient, wise world, and the more you look into learning its language, the more you’ll discover rich traditions, historical techniques, tweaks for stitches, tips and so on.




Magnolia Heather's photo of an embroidered leaf

April Heather embroiders on magnolia leaves! And this is an homage to certainly a great artist loved by all…I know you know it, but hey let’s put it here anyway: this homage to “The Starry Night” by Van Gogh has probably never featured on a leaf before!

  • Be Brave.

A lightbulb might light up in your head and you might find yourself embroidering something no one else has ever thought of embroidering, and we’ll go crazy about your stuff (that is if you relentlessly post on Instagram and hashtags every photo the right way, but that’s another story. Aren’t we all on Instagram all the time these days?).  Look at Magnolia Heather Riniker, for instance, she embroiders magnolia leaves! And they are super unusual, so why not experiment every now and then?!

  • Don’t worry about how long it’s going to take!

The point is to enjoy it, there’s no rush. But if you do intend to give yourself deadlines, fair enough. Just be reasonable: you’ll never finish a 6″ hoop in one night. So take your time. Enjoy the ride!




Had you ever thought of anything like this? I really hadn’t. You’ve got to check @usedthreads! She’s just awesome.

    • Hoop art can be lighthearted and cheerful!

We’re not all on this planet to make important statements about the existential condition of the human soul in the modern age. Sometimes a hoop with quirky quotes and silly things can bring a smile on someone’s face, so bring them on. We’re not all the same.

And what if you like portraits? or rather realistic art? Great, then I’m sure you’ll love to free style with your long and short stitches! Forget all rules, make your own!! I’m a big fan of that. And look at Rachael’s work, such details are incredible, I’ve been following her for a while and love her 3D embroidery! Certainly a way to challenge your hoop space and make it more interesting.


So whether you’re all flower power, quirky-cute, or perhaps a bit more bitnik  and minimalist, I hope you can see: there’s not one way of loving embroidery art, call it hoop art if you like, but more than anything else, play with it and don’t worry too much. There’s thousands of faces that embroidery hoop art can take on.










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