ashley ludlow

I'm very honored to showcase her work and have her be the first artist on this site. We attended school together in the Art + Art history program at the University of Toronto in Mississauga and Sheridan College. I've been a huge fan of her work - her paintings and stitch work by hand. Her paintings are massive and you can see the layers and layers of paint constructed on each wooden panel. In contrast, her stitch work are much smaller and very intimate. 

A S H L E Y   L U D L O W

Thread has always kind of interested me, something so delicate that's main purpose is to bind, create and embellish. I wanted to try and use this material in a way that made sense; however, also create a unique image. I am not the best crafter, the majority of my art work revolved around creating abstracted figurative paintings, so for me, finding a way to incorporate my usual subject matter into a new realm became quite the headache. 

I started to use photographs that I had found in an old box, the images were of my friends sitting around and doing nothing. These were the types of photographs that tend to forever remain in a box. They were not special enough to deserve a frame, but gave too much nostalgia to its owner to just discard. I decided to embroider, rather than style a crude embroidery, these memories in attempts to turn the mundane into something more precious. 

Starting out by colour blocking the colours, I became obsessed with trying to replicate tones and shades through the use of various colours of thread. No longer able to simply mix new colours, I had to work out different layers  and build up to create contrasts and shape resulting in the build up of thread. As I continue to build up the photograph, it starts to rip, the faces of the people I knew become punctured and destroyed; however, each time I work a new colour the image became reaffirmed. This process takes time, never really knowing when to stop - that is until the needle becomes too hard to push through. 

The backs of stitched objects appeals to me more than the finished product. All the errors and movement of the needle and thread is evident, and it starts to tell a new story. I started to look at the backs of my photographs, and I found that the figures depicted a fluid abstraction of the body and was reminiscent of the style of paintings I did in the past. The images became a documentation of my hand, my attempts to understand, create and replicate a moment that might never be missed. 

Ashlee Ludlow currently lives in the industrious town of Oshawa. She received her HBA from the University of Toronto at Mississauga, in 2008, with a studio concentration on painting. Ashley also received for BeD in Fine Arts Integration J/L from York University in 2009. 

What are your processes? 

They vary based on what I am creating; I am kind of schizophrenic in that sense. For the most part the medium is the dictator for the artwork, it tells you how it wants to be manipulated and used. When I paint I have to make a mess, meaning I have to start out with random colours, and cover the surface as fast as possible. From here I take my reference points from models and use the paint to inform the image and I tend to experiment with different processes to manipulate the paint. As for drawing, I restrict myself more. I am more conscious of lines that should be there and the image becomes less abstract and much more linear. My stitching seems to be more of an in-between of the two, in the sense that I limit myself in what I am creating; however, experiment with the build up and trying to take the image into new interpretations. 

What are your inspirations? 

I think my biggest inspiration is the everyday life. I spend a lot of time on buses, and I like to watch the social interactions that often occur. Peoples faces and gestures get me every time, especially when they think no one is looking. There are many artists who help light that fire to want to create, seeing a really great work of art is like the best motivator to get you back into the studio and just make something. 

What kind of advice would you give to a younger crafter/artist? 

Two things I can share. The best advice that I can think to share is don't get too caught up on that whole art scene thing. Be true to yourself and what you believe with your work. Don't try to fit into other people's mould because you've got your own to adjust to. Also not everything you create will work out but it's about making as many mistakes as you possible can before you can get to point B. Also listen to criticism with an open heart. You may not agree with what other people but it always opens up another avenue for you to experiment with in the future and if it doesn't work out it is not the end of the world. 

What is one thing that people don't know about you (non art/craft related)? 

When I was a child I wanted to own pretend kitchen, but my parents couldn't afford to give me one. So I made my own fridge using this small upright drawer, and it seemed to service its purpose - making many pretend meals. Anyways, when I got older my mother decided to give it to my cousin who just discarded it and did not use it to its full potential (refrigerator was only a start, who knows where I could have taken it as time progressed). Needless to say I was heartbroken and to this day I still bring up the fact that my mother gave away my favorite toy...on a side note this is an excellent tactic when you are trying to get something in your favor. 

I can also do the majority of every dance in Dirty Dancing.

ashlee ludlow: aly.ludlow@gmail.com | blog in process


  1. ROZ,

    CONGRATULATIONS! This is a wonderful project. Keep it up! I can't wait to see what else is in store...


  2. Thanks Tara!! really appreciate to hear that from you!! im very excited xo

  3. wow! her back embroideries are really cool! I like her process!
    and roz! I am so excited for this! I can't wait for the next interview!
    I can just see your passion oozing out of this! This is so nicely done!

  4. i know!!! me tooo!!!! her stuff is awesomeee!
    aw, thanks celine! :)