Ellie Macdonald is a British artist and embroidery designer who specialises in freehand machine embroidery, hailing from the seaside town of Brighton.
Immersed in the world of vintage textiles and clothing from a young age, Ellie comes from a family of buyers and collectors which has informed and shaped her passion for textiles and art. During her early 20s she studied at Cordwainers where she specialised in leather work for fashion. Following on from her studies she began working with embroidery designer Jenny King who specialises in freehand machine embroidery and works for various fashion designers. It was here she found her passion for freehand machine embroidery and honed her skills within luxury fashion.
In 2015, Ellie moved away from her work in the high-end fashion industry and founded Ellie Mac Embroidery. Born from a desire to develop her craft, and the niche embroidery she had honed, and to push her skills somewhere new. Ellie’s embroidery is centred on an old technique, known to the industry as ‘Irish Embroidery’ - due to the fact it is largely performed on vintage Singer Irish machines, a model which stopped being made during the 1950s.The Irish Singer offers a superior stitch with a hand drawn quality and is entirely hand-guided so referred to as ‘freehand’, allowing a fluid and more organic movement to the embroidery.
In 2016, she was approached by Vogue contributor Sarah Mower to showcase her embroidery works at Port Eliot Festival in Cornwall. Following this showcase, Ellie launched her website and started producing small runs of limited edition embroidered artworks and patches, hoping to offer smaller more affordable pieces of luxury embroidery which explore more modern themes. She also began collaborating with artists from other specialist fields, including screen printers, ceramists and jewellers. This collaborative process offers endless inspiration and has led to her working on a wide variety of projects, from large scale silk interior pieces to more experimental art pieces, alongside brand design and art direction. It’s through this creative process she hopes to offer a new perspective on the traditional craft of embroidery.
Ellie has continued to push the boundaries of her work, mixing niche embroidery techniques with contemporary design. Alongside her iconic patches and artworks, Ellie has also been working within brand consultancy - producing limited edition embroideries for product launches, and offering artistic direction and design for specific projects.