Alexandra Drenth • embroidery and textile collages


the power of poetic textiles

no hurry, time is on my side



Museum Krona

De tentoonstelling 'Aan de rand van de hemel' opent op 11 november 2023.

De tentoonstelling verbeeldt hoe visionairen al eeuwenlang het leven een perspectief geven. Van Hildegard van Bingen tot Sister Gertrude Morgan. In getuigenissen en verbeeldingen, hoopvol en van alle tijden: de noodzaak en het verlangen naar een toekomst en een vooruitzicht van droom, ideaal en volmaaktheid is onlosmakelijk verbonden met het zoeken naar de zin, het doel en de bestemming van het leven.

Aan de rand van de hemel: Visioenen combineert oude religieuze kunst, middeleeuwse handschriften, getuigenissen van visionairs uit kerken en kloosters, collecties van musea en bibliotheken met hedendaagse multimedia-installaties, bruidsjurken, parfums en schilderijen van toonaangevende vrouwelijke kunstenaars uit binnen- en buitenland. Allemaal benaderen zij het thema Visioen op hun eigen manier. 

Te bezoeken tot 1 april 2024

Arti et Amicitiae Salon 2023

Laat je verrassen door de veelzijdigheid en eigenheid van de werken. Schilderijen, beelden, video’s, installaties, fotografie en grafiek; de Salon laat een breed scala aan hedendaagse kunst zien en biedt hierdoor een fantastisch overzicht van de kunstenaars die Arti rijk is.

Rokin 112, 1012 LB Amsterdam

2 t/m 23 december

Dinsdag t/m zondag van 12 – 18 uur
Avondopenstelling: elke donderdag en vrijdag tot 22.00 uur
Toegang € 3,-

Christine van Zeegen en Adriaan van Zeegen

Werk in opdracht voor het Drents Museum

De tentoonstelling opent op 16 maart 2024

Christine van Zeegen was een belangrijk kunstenares van experimenteel kunstnaaldwerk in de periode rond de Eerste Wereldoorlog. Waar in het naaldwerk aan het begin van de twintigste eeuw soms een dunne lijn bestaat tussen kunstnaaldwerk en huisvlijt, is bij Van Zeegen het kunstaspect overduidelijk aanwezig. Haar naaldwerk was vernieuwend en ze experimenteerde met loshangende draden, expressieve steken en symbolistische verbeelding – al dan niet met een erotische uitstraling.

Interviewer Marion van der Fluit
Antique Jewellery Researcher - Haute Couture Embroiderer
Article for The Embroiderers Guild


Back to the Future - Transcendent pieces


In repurposing old embroideries and household linens, Alexandra Drenth gives a voice to the past and the emotions and memories entrusted within their once treasured threads.

‘Embroidery is essentially a personal art’, wrote Walter Crane in 1899.

In Amsterdam North, the Netherlands’ capital city, lies the residence of the Dutch modern day embroiderer Alexandra Drenth, to whom Crane’s words surely apply. Drenth became involved with embroidery in 2007, whilst working as photographer. The large project she photographed fascinated her, as did her interest in the possibilities of textiles. Later the same year she placed an advert in a local newspaper asking for old embroidery linens to help raise funds for the charity Mamma Cash. This organization defends the rights of girls, woman and transgender people worldwide. Forgotten labours of love, long stacked away in attics and closets after people had lost interest in them, were sent to her in abundance – a total of 185 square meters of embroidered cloth. In the end she produced 27 wall hangings from them, which were auctioned off in aid of the good cause.

But even when the auction was over and done with, people were still sending her embroideries. Each one had its own story to tell about illness and grief, or happy occasions like birth and marriage. And it was this- the past expression of the inner feelings of woman – that became the basis of Drenth’s work. As many of the pieces were old, most had acquired stains or holes. Drenth decided to cut into the old textiles and recycle them in an artful way. Beautiful tiny embroidered snapshots from the past found a new life when stitched onto shirts, coats, capes and even a chasuble.

Behind Drenth’s work is a deep consideration of life. Her vision of the continuation of life after death is made clearly visible. She had, at the tender age of 20, worked photographing the deceased in a mortuary, a somewhat unusual occupation at the time.

‘The materials that I use are transformed: everything in life is about transformation, from birth to death,’ she says. ‘I’m always pushing the boundaries of tradition to express my own feelings. I like old embroideries but not shown on the wall behind glass. I change them, for example, into a piece of clothing not to wear but to look at. It doesn’t have to be wearable. I love textiles that have already had another function, are worn out and tell a story. Those things are already beautiful by themselves. People sometimes recognize the used, old embroideries, which bring back memories and emotions: they made something similar, or remember their mother’s or grandmother’s pieces.’ Drenth also uses old linen shrouds, which in the past were produced in the Netherlands as part of a girl’s dowry, who would learn how to embroider them at a very young age.


The lessons began with a sampler of the alphabet in cross stitch, followed by a collection of other stitches and patterns to serve as a reference in later life, a practice not always enjoyed by the makers. Cross stitch was also used for initials to mark the shrouds. Some have beautifully embroidered edges and are hand sewn. They have no pockets, as wealth and status cannot be expressed in death. Men in the Netherlands used to wear shrouds on their wedding day after they were washed and carefully put away for their burial. However, these perfect examples of work, many with private, personal feelings attached, became disregarded over time due to changing customs.

From making collages of existing embroideries and textiles, Drenth evolved to producing more and more embroidery herself. By adding embroidered song texts or poems, her works became more personal. Words express emotions, feelings or a message.

Usually she works on two or three objects at the same time. Drenth finds the embroidery easy to handle and says it can be worked on wherever she travels. She often embroiderers with French knots, running and back stitch. For Drenth it is not about the difficulty of the stitch, rather that stitches are a means used to express herself. An old green chasuble bought at a fair, is having a makeover using her textile collage technique. The work is being completed on a large table in a corner of her living room when I visit.


‘I see my embroideries as works of art, an object to enjoy. Creating them makes me very happy. I do a lot of research and get my inspiration from flora and fauna. I use all kinds of shapes, from animals to people and vice versa. At the moment, for example, I’m intrigued by women transforming into fish. My inspiration comes from Africa. In my early childhood I lived in Sierra Leone, I recall swimming amongst the fish there every day, I often dream about water and fish. Dreams are sometimes a starting point for me.’ People always ask how long she works on an object: a question she doesn’t like, as there is no simple answer. Adding and taking away is a daily routine until she is satisfied. ‘I can’t work in a hurry: it can take months for me to find the right composition. Embroidery is something very personal for me.'

Kate Grinnell - Selvedge Magazine 

Based in Amsterdam, Dutch textile artist Alexandra Drenth hand stitches intricate textiles filled with female forms, gardens, flowers and words. Inspired by the natural world, poetry and song lyrics, her work reflects a female perspective, storytelling the experiences of women’s lives mixed with elements from nature. Alexandra’s textile collages, wall pieces and panels are incredibly detailed, reviving not only the tradition of hand stitching but also by reworking old and pre-used textiles, she instils her work with an inevitable link to history. Alexandra was originally a photographer and artist working mainly in oils, but in 2007 she became fascinated by the possibilities of textiles after working on a large embroidery project. Inspired by themes as diverse as ancient China and Japan to the diaphanous costumes of the 1920s/30s, she uses simple lines and stitches focusing mainly on outlines and silhouettes to tell her story. Large pieces can take anything up to 2 years to produce. Alexandra admits that she is not commercially driven, for her the commercial aspect removes the enjoyment from producing her work. As a result, she will only exhibit at venues where she is invited as an artist rather than as a selling opportunity. She works mainly to commission for private clients with a recent project to make a garment from clothing that had belonged to her client’s deceased mother. Alexandra created a kimono jacket which proudly adorns the wall of the client’s home.

On Alexandra’s Youtube channel she has produced a short film entitled ‘Experience Quality Time’. Images of Alexandra’s work are set against poetry and phrases in Dutch extolling the wonders of time experience which is very much the essence of her work.

Textile exhibitions ao

Rotterdam Wereldmuseum ‘Geen woorden maar draden
Amersfoort Galerie De Ploegh 'K I J K'

Zeeland Kunsthuis Veere 'Peepshow'

Den Dolder - Galerie P’Arts - artist books
Woerden Stadsmuseum - Bonifatius

Rotterdam Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Den Haag Anthus Decorations
Baarle-Nassau Kunstgalerij High Five Art
Amsterdam Dutch Design Artemis ‘Connections’
Amsterdam bij Tokodinboxing - 'The Art of Boxing'

Amsterdam Noord Atelieroutes
Amsterdam Noord Pinkster Embroidery Show
Amsterdam Noord Family Matters - Sleepbootstaat 26''
Amsterdam West Family Matters - Buskenblaserstraat 34'''

Amsterdam Noord Nieuw Dakota The first SummerShow
Leiden Textielfestival ‘A Sea of Embroidery’
Noord Groningen Usquert QFestival
Zweeloo Kunstenaarsdorp

Brabant Kloosterkapel Vorstenbosch

Zeeland Grote Kerk Veere

Leiden Pieterskerk
Arnhem Eusebiuskerk
Deventer Lebuïnuskerk

Egmond aan den Hoef De Kapberg
Haarlem Kunstlijn ‘Verzachtende Omstandigheden’
Haarlem Galerie de Waag ‘Geheimen’
Haarlem Galerie De Waag 'Memories are made of this' i.s.m. Hans Clavin

IJmuiden /Amsterdam Noord ‘Neerlands Nijver’ i.s.m. Hans Clavin
Krimpen aan den IJssel - Streekmuseum voor de Krimpenerwaard 'Memories are made of this' i.s.m. Hans Clavin

Vinkeveen Te Hooi & Te Kunst i.s.m. Ineke Smienk

Media ao

Trouw. juni 2023 Particuliere verlangens, handwerken is hot

NRC. juni 2023 Borduren tegen de dictatuur 

Patchwork Professional - Issue 01/2023

SEA • - Books in practice 2022

How are embroidery and old mystical texts connected?
Artist Alexandra Drenth gives perspective on a sustainable future through her favorite books.

HZG Levendige en Mystieke Textielcollages editie 222

Project SEA_youhere 2.0 | art and sustainability '20

Contemporary embroidery without limits '19

Selvedge Magazine august '19

TxP Schoonheid als troost -nummer 248

SAQA Visionaries issue - no.4

Dutch Design Artemis Magazine

The Embroiderers Guild Magazine

TxP 242 Rubriek Het atelier van...

Fiber Art Now Magazine Dutch Textile Artists

TxP 241: Een woelige wereld 

Autumn no serial number '16

Embellished Talk '16

Textiel Plus juni - '16

Amsterdam art Magazine '16

Close-Up fashion Textile '16/'17

Handwerken Zonder Grenzen - nummer 183 

Interview TextielPlus nummer - 219



'I get a lot of reactions from all over the place, scam sites are using my designs and images unauthorized. I have not authorized these scammers to use my photos and my designs for their scamming practices. I am not responsible for the content of these scam pages.

I do not sell my work through other websites unless I mention this on that is the site you are visiting right now'.