Else Ruckli-Stoecklin

Else Ruckli-Stoecklin in her studio.

When I visited the Textilmuseum St. Gallen earlier this year, I discovered the works of Else Ruckli-Stoecklin, a now deceased Swiss hand embroidery master that created beautiful and intricate needle paintings long before they became “hip”. She also worked with enamel, wire and collage, but she considers her embroidered pieces as her main interest.

Else was born in 1912 in Austria but both her parents were of Swiss origin. Else spent her school years in Basel and moved to Luzern in her twenties to study fine arts. After study visits to London and Paris, she was married to an engineer and henceforth lived and worked in Bern. I could not find her exact day of death, but I believe it is sometime around 2004.

Flames. Silk on silk. 1972

Choosing embroidery as her medium was a deliberate and brave decision. Needle arts were not counted among the fine arts but generally classified as craftwork. Thus, her curator writes: “… with each piece, Else Ruckli-Stoecklin performs a balancing act between art and craft…” (cit. Dr. Gerda Benesch; translated by blogger).

But Else declares that she “works independently and doesn’t follow the mainstream” (cit. Else Ruckli-Stoecklin; translated by blogger).

Else exhibited in reknown Swiss galleries and museums. I love her works for their colors, forms and neatness; they make me happy to look at – and that is exactly what she intended!

This blog article shall end with another quotation of Else that I really like: “… as the needle is piercing the canvas, the motif is quasi growing out of the fabric and is literally enmeshed in the background…” (cit. Else Ruckli-Stoecklin; translated by blogger).

Blumenwiese II. Silk on silk. 1974

(source: Ruckli-Stoecklin, Else. Mein Erleben und mein Schaffen. Niederteufen, 1997.)

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