She loves people, she loves dogs; she loves one thing more than I do. Sarah Walton’s embroidered illustrations are the cutest. We’ll address this illustrator’s innovative levels of artistry in just a second but first, let’s appreciate the subject matter of her pieces. Gossiping old ducks and their canine companions painteth (or embroideth) the most sublime and unassuming picture of everyday life. I love clever use of needlework as much as the next guy but don’t you all think all those cross-stitch rap lyrics and floral borders are getting a little tired? Sarah Walton’s creations on the other hand focus on themes that I can fully get on board with.
During a gentle meander past bins and bus stops on summer days in the leafy suburbs of London, you’ll spot women in chintzy dresses holding hands with men in nondescript beige or khaki clothing, and older women in chintzy dresses holding hands with each other; all of these people will be walking dogs. Large slobbery ones that have long hair and move slowly and small snappy ones with bright eyes and bad attitudes. Sometimes mid-sized boring dogs who are speckled with muttish colouring and are all nice guys are on the opposing end of a paw-print lead. Sarah Walton not only captures these scenes accurately and beautifully but does so with kitschy finesse and a steady hand.
Using a sewing machine in place of a pencil, Sarah’s depictions of biddies and dogs strolling about carelessly and happy couples snuggling under vintage eiderdowns are sweet, sketch-like and pop with colour. Her use of clashing patterned fabric, attention-grabbing palettes and bold black thread to create the outlines and costumes of her characters only serves to make her tactile narratives all the more lovely. Even more pleasingly, prints of her original textile pieces can be bought from her store.