Jane Smith - Hand Embroidery Artist

As an artist I am often asked for an artist's statement, I find this difficult to define.  I do not have a political or social agenda, it is simply enough to create a thing of beauty which brings joy to me in its creation and, I hope, to others in observing the work.  As Claude Monet said, "Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love."  I love my embroidery, from the creation of a design, to the silk threads and fabric, to the meditative joy of placing each stitch, to the enjoyment of living with a piece after it has been completed. 

I work entirely by hand using traditional Japanese embroidery techniques which require an extraordinary level of technical skill, each piece of work takes many hours to complete.  The work is created using pure silk thread and kimono or obi silk.  The unusual flat silk thread gives a characteristic sheen that only occurs with this type of thread. 

My work is inspired by a number of sources, antique kimono, Japanese prints and, more recently I have been developing work which include both Japanese and western motifs.  While my work may not have a political or social message each piece does contain a story or idea behind the image. 

It is not unusual for even experienced embroiderers not to have come across this 1600 year old art form.  JE is increasingly rare in Japan and while in the last 30 years it has become known in the rest of the world; there are still only perhaps about 200 students in the UK and less than a dozen tutors.  Of those students and tutors even less create their own designs, as far as I am aware I am the only one in the north of England currently creating textile art using traditional Japanese embroidery techniques.    


I was introduced to traditional Japanese embroidery (JE) in 1991 and it has fascinated and inspired me ever since.  I started my studies in earnest in 2004 dedicating myself to the study and practice of Japanese embroidery and, after thousands of hours of practice, I graduated from the Japanese Embroidery Center (JEC), Atlanta in 2010.

I am one of the founder members of Japanese Embroidery UK (JEUK) and have worked with my fellow tutors to create and develop our own modules for the teaching of this ancient art form.  This website showcases both my own designs and those I have developed as part of JEUK.  As a tutor for JE I enjoy passing on my passion for this this wonderful art form to a new generation of embroiderers.


I am available for talks and demonstrations of Japanese embroidery and have many examples of both my own and antique embroidery for display.  For more information and class detail please visit the events page.