Elephant Hawk Moth hand embroidered by Jessica Merle Steytler

ABOUT JESSICA

Jessica Merle Steytler is a multidisciplinary artist from Durban, South Africa.

After six years of studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Visual Arts in Pietermaritzburg, Jessica completed her MAFA in Fine Art in 2016. While ceramics was her main specialisation, embroidery, watercolours and drawing all formed significant parts of her practice. This exploration of embroidery led Jessica to revisit a craft she first taught herself when was just 8 years old and using bits and pieces from her mom’s sewing supplies.

Jessica draws inspiration from nature and its incredible creatures- creepy crawlies and flying nunus like snakes and snails, moths and bees. Each embroidery begins as a highly-detailed drawing which is then translated into thread on fabric. Each stitch is like the mark of a pen or pencil. Jessica’s embroideries are a way to display and appreciate small animals of the natural world without the living ones being collected and pinned inside frames, especially moths and butterflies. Fun Fact: Jessica is terrified of large moths, but she’s working on it!

When Jessica isn’t doing embroidery she tutors children, spoils her pet rats and takes photos and videos with her different film cameras.

About Me Jessica Merle Steytler
About Me Jessica Merle Steytler

EDUCATION

2014-2016- Master of Arts (Fine Arts) at University of KwaZulu-Natal

2013- Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts Honours) (Ceramics) at University of KwaZulu-Natal (Summa cum Laude)

2010-2012- Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts and Classical Civilization) at University of KwaZulu-Natal (Cum Laude)

ONLINE PUBLICATIONS

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

Solo Exhibitions

2016

‘Innerspace’, Master of Fine Arts Graduation Exhibition, Jack Heath Gallery, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa (November)

Group Exhibitions

2017

South African Book Arts’, alongside the event ‘Booknesses: Taking Stock of the Book Arts in South Africa’, at FADA Gallery, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa (March)

David Walters and Friends ‘Art in Clay’, at William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley, South Africa (July)

2016

The Things We Do For Love’, alongside ‘SA’s Dirty Laundry’, at SOMA Art + Space, Johannesburg, South Africa (November)

2015

‘Line’, at Artisan Gallery, Durban, South Africa (February)

‘Staff and Students Works in Progress’, at Jack Heath Gallery, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa (May)

David Walters and Friends ‘Looking Backwards: Looking Forwards’, at William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley, South Africa (July)

Power and Visual Culture’, alongside The South African Visual Arts Historians’ 30th Annual International Conference, at Jack Heath Gallery, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa (September)

2014

‘First Introductions’, at Art Afrique Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa (May)

David Walters and Friends ‘Legacy’ Travelling Exhibition, South Africa, at:

  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, Port Elizabeth (March 2014)
  • Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg (alongside the Juliet Armstrong Retrospective Exhibition) (May 2014)
  • Ceramics SA National Exhibition, Alphen (November 2014)

2013                          

David Walters and Friends ‘Legacy’ Travelling Exhibition, South Africa, at:

  • The William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley (July)
  • Raymond Slater Library, Centenary Centre, Hilton Arts Festival (September)
  • ‘Art in Clay’ Festival, Franschhoek (October)
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