Margaret Timbrell (b. Brazil) is a text based needlework artist with a multi-disciplinary degree from NYU. Her work is inspired by various influences (such as technology, parenthood, and social media) that alter language and inter-personal engagement. Timbrell has exhibited around the US and featured in the SF Examiner, LA Times, Bust Magazine. In 2012 she was selected as a Heart Artist for SF General’s annual fundraiser. From 2015 to 2017Timbrell participated in the StARTup Fair. Currently Timbrell is a studio artist and board member at Root Division. She is also participating in Lenka Clayton’s Artist Residency in Motherhood and in 2018 Timbrell will be the Artist in Residence at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles.
Margaret Timbrell is an artist working in multiple media. Timbrell graduated from NYU in 2001, focusing on photography and painting. An accident left her unable to work in the darkroom, and as she recovered, refocusing on her painting, she began working in needlepoint, developing at first variations on her abstract painting. This developed into a practice which delves into the traditional designs and content of the craft while exploring aspects of contemporary life. Needlework is a bit of a rabbit hole. The different patterns mean different things, follow different rules, and she has set about breaking the model while experimenting within various traditional styles, resulting in work enjoyable in a historical context and as purely aesthetic objects.
Needlework and textiles occupy an odd world somewhere between craft and art, human and technology. She especially enjoys the relationship almost everyone has to needlework- an Aunt or Mother or Grandmother who stitched- and the joy with which people share these memories. It’s an interesting, mostly female, history. Timbrell incorporates a wide variety of content into her works, from simple nostalgic stitch-kits from the seventies, crowd-sourced instances of autocorrect fails, and the sometimes mundane aspects of being a parent as well as an artist.
As Timbrell’s practice is within different styles of needlework, she chooses the needlework technique as a metaphor to underscore the concept of the series.
For example, in the Redwork series, Timbrell stitches traditional European redwork embroidery on vintage stamped for embroidery tablecloths. Redwork is a very domestic product style of embroidery. Timbrell uses traditional stitches: stem stitch, French Knots, cross stitch, and back stitch. As well as a stitch she created where she stitches the work to appear to be the backside of embroidery. Each individual piece incorporates data relating to different engagements in parenthood: the hours children cry, the frequency of playground visits over the course of the year, or the dates strangers commented “looks like you’ve got your hands full”. Thus redwork was chosen as the medium to highlight the extreme madness and domesticitiy of early parenthood, and the backward stitches reveal her skill as stitcher and parent.
In the series Thanks for the Feedback, Timbrell sources partially needlepointed floral canvases and stitches in petit point comments she has received about her artwork. This pairing of tradition needlepoint flower theme, with the sometimes unkind and often unsolicited feedback of her art practice contrasts traditional pretty and light hearted needlework with the harshness of the words. An experience similar to how women move thru a world where it is culturally acceptable for strangers to comment upon a woman’s appearance.