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Getting to know designer Cindy Steiler

The discarded, the old and the forgotten – they are all given new life courtesy of Cindy Steiler embroidered artworks, which have stitched characters flying kites, crocheting and riding horses and elements of the designs escaping from the constraints of frames and hoops – Janai Velez

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Double-hooped embroideries, dioramas, stitched portrait photographs and clay dolls with lace dresses are all part of the portfolio. “I would call myself a mixed-media textile artist and alternative process photographer,” Cindy Steiler says of her fresh approach to traditional techniques and antique materials.

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Utilising embroidery, crochet and photography, her work is remarkable eye-catching considering its fine tracery and quiet illustrative style. And there’s texture and dimension despite its spidery lines. The sense of yesteryear is due in large part to the antique photographs incorporated into her designs. Cindy Steiler has a substantial collection of old pictures (mainly cabinet card photographs), which Cindy Steiler regularly uses in her work. And she goes to the trouble of using Victorian developing processes, such as cyanotype or wet plate, when calling on her own, modern images.

Create a Flowers in the garden embroidered cushion

The mood may be passive, but the artworks are powerful, with unexpected elements, such as garments hanging below picture-frame edges and double-hooped embroideries linked with simple chain stitches. Then there are the bisque dolls’ arms attached to the stitched characters, all in perfect proportion and all very understated, but demanding attention.

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And if the works feel ‘down-home’, then they are deceptive. Cindy Steiler may live on a Florida prairie, but her work is international. The doll limbs are from an old German factory; timber used for the dioramas is sourced from New Mexico; and the linen she embroiders on has romantic Ukrainian roots. “The linen I use was purchased in the Ukraine from a woman who had trunks of it,” she says.

Create a Garden party embroidery

“It had originally been woven by her great-grandmother as a dowry for her grandmother but handspun linen had gone out of fashion before she was wed. No one in the family wanted it. I wonder what the woman who made the linen would think of it being used in my work and finding its way into homes all over the world.”

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Cindy Steiler’s art is showcased in galleries across the United States and Europe, and she teaches embroidery, mixed media and cyanotype workshops worldwide.

Create the window to my garden embroidered wallhanging

Cindy Steiler admits that the life of a full-time artist isn’t always full of wonderful ideas and productivity. “Some days are amazing and time flies by, everything clicks and the work feels effortless. Some days are a struggle. A looming deadline can be overwhelming as can a commission piece that I am not passionate about,” she says. “I love what I do, though, even on the bad days”.

To find out more, visit Cindy Steiler’s


Instagram: @_steiler

Facebook: Cindy Art