Machine Embroidery - Barton on Sea
Machine Embroidery – Barton on Sea

Hi, my name is Tamara Russell – a Textile Artist specialising in free machine embroidery and hand stitching based in Melbourne, Australia.

I explore my surroundings and interpret what I see through the medium of embroidery. In my works composition, I combine light, colour, shape and texture to recreate images that inspire me. I consider myself a painter using thread, an artist painting with a needle. My work has been exhibited in the United Kingdom and Australia. For my resume please go here.

My practice engages with the natural environment recreating the images and shapes in my embroidered works in both 2D and 3D form. I am not primarily a photographer but my photos are invaluable to me as a record of composition, colour and detail, supported by my sketches. Photos are my starting point as I explore my subject matter directly onto fabric, painting with thread.

Each piece uses photography, watercolour painting, beading, fabric, soluble backing, machine stitch and/or hand stitch, either alone or in combination. This creates depth, perspective and richness to the work and combines effectively to give detail and texture.

In 2017 I facilitated the Moreland Quilt – a community engagement project to create a quilt representing City of Moreland resident’s cultural diversity, whilst recording the history of participants. To see the project go to creativesandmakers.com.au/moreland-quilt.

I also curate CreativeMoreland.com.au a directory and resource designed to promote, support and inform residents, creative people and creative businesses living and/or working in the City of Moreland, Melbourne.

I am happy to accept commissions for my work. Feel free to get in touch. All items are handmade in Melbourne using sustainable methods, ethically sourced materials and designed to be kind to the earth.

Or if you are looking for handmade greeting cards, browse my collection at Puddleduck Cards.


Why do I use upcycled, reclaimed or recycled fabric ? 

The majority of my products are made incorporating upcycled or reclaimed materials. Wherever possible additional production materials are 100 percent natural, produced sustainably and sourced locally. Every year tons and tons of perfectly good fabric ends up in landfill. A huge amount of precious water and energy goes into growing and manufacturing fabric – so lets make sure we get the most out of it before it ends up in landfill!

Up-cycled brooch
Up-cycled brooch

Each time you purchase an item made from recycled fabric, rather than buying one made from new fabric, you reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save water, reduce pollution, decrease land clearing, and keep fabric out of landfill.  So by ‘closing the loop’ through purchasing products made partially or wholly from reclaimed materials, we can ensure that the market for these materials remains strong and recycling schemes flourish.

Watch this video to see where some of your discarded clothes go –  ‘This is the final resting place for your cast off clothing’

Saves energy  A simple cotton bag made from new fabric generates greenhouse gas emissions from the energy needed to grow and fertilise the cotton crop, to turn the raw product into fibre, the fibre into fabric. All this energy is saved when buying something made from recycled fabric.

Saves water   Likewise by buying items made from recycled fabric rather than new you save considerable amounts of water. For example one cotton T-shirt requires 2000 -10000 litres of water to produce. For that cotton t-shirt, water is used during the agricultural and industrial stages of production: in farming the cotton, diluting the pesticides, diluting the fabric manufacturing waste products, bleaching and dying the fabric. Buying a product made from recycled fabric therefore saves 1000’s of litres of water.

Reduces negative social and envionmental impacts  Buying products made from recycled fabric also reduces other negative social and environmental impacts. Manufacturing of fabric impacts negatively on people and the planet via toxic pollution (Every new cotton t-shirt requires about 1.5kg of pesticide and fertiliser chemicals to produce), dangerous working conditions for labourers, and loss of natural biodiversity as land is cleared and used to grow crops for fibre.