Juniper Wolfenbarger

Juniper Wolfenbarger

About The Artist

Juniper Wolfenbarger • Ypsilanti, MI
Fiber and Textiles - Homegoods • CUSTOM COMMISSIONS

My name is Juniper, and I am a transgender neurodivergent artist living in Ypsilanti, MI. I taught myself how to hand embroider in 2017, and since then, I have been pushing the limits of what embroidery can do. My foundation in other mediums, such as painting, collage, and illustration, influences my embroidery work greatly. My artwork tells the stories of my life and experiences. I focus on subjects of queerness, transness, transformation, feeling out of place and finding spaces of belonging. I favor imagery of gendered clothing, sentimental objects, insects, sea life, plants, and occasionally bodies. I also create small pieces and patches on commission that feature all kinds of subject matter. The process of hand embroidery is slow and methodical. When creating pieces that have a deep personal connection, that process allows me to sit with my emotions and work through them in the process of making. The process of making is very important and dear to me.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

I create all of my work in my intimate home studio in Ypsilanti, MI. My primary fiber method is hand embroidery, though I also dabble in felting, knitting and weaving. Hand embroidery is a time consuming method, where every stitch is placed by hand with a single needle. I work with six strand embroidery floss (or thread) that can be separated into individual strands, resulting in different textures. I typically work with 2-3 strands of thread at a time, making the process slower, but ultimately creating an even, flat texture. I also frame many of my pieces myself, in antique or restored frames I’ve collected. If a piece is unframed, it is typically mounted on felt and hung directly on the wall. Other pieces, such as small patches, are either worn on clothes or hung in small vintage frames.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

Being raised by a single, working mom, I spent a lot of time with my Grandma, who taught me how to crochet and sew. She had fiber arts in her home that mesmerized me, including quilts, woven tapestries, and cross-stitched wall art. Everything about fiber reminded me of warmth and comfort. When I went to art school, I focused on graphic design, illustration, and collage. It wasn’t until I was finished with school, struggling with my direction, that I returned to fiber. I taught myself how to hand embroider and combine it with my arts foundation to create fine art that felt connected to my roots. I also love embroidery for its accessibility; I could go to any thrift or craft store and pick up fabric and threads for less than $20. As someone who has always loved art (and always been low-income), this meant the world to me. For this reason, I also love to teach embroidery to young people, knowing there is little barrier to entry.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

The thing that makes my work distinct is my non-traditional approach to hand embroidery. I combine needle painting (which has become popular in recent years) with my background in collage to create unique compositions. I combine hyper detailed subjects with flat colors and thick outlines, mashing together different styles in a single piece. In terms of subject matter, thankfully, it is becoming less unique to see queer and trans stories told through traditional craft mediums. Still, I see myself as one of those queer, trans, neurodivergent artists who is redefining fiber as a welcoming space for people like me, or in other marginalized identities.