grey and multicoloured embroidered image 

Grey and multicoloured embroidered image 

We get to know Lyndsey McDougall, a PhD researcher at Ulster University and visual artist living in Belfast...

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

How did you get into your field of work?

I studied a Fine and Applied Art Degree and a Master of Design, and have continued to make art work since leaving art college. I fell in love with embroidery during my degree and have never looked back. It’s a beautiful technique, extremely cathartic and never fails to surprise and inspire me. My PhD is about Irish embroidery and has influenced my practice and vice versa.


What do you like most about your job?

Thinking through making, I love the process of taking beautiful materials and threads and making something new. Making new landscapes and worlds through embroidery.

How has your job/ the industry changed over the years?

My job had changed personally since having a daughter. It’s something that I knew would happen but it’s an extremely hard thing to prepare for. It’s always a battle between spending time with my daughter and making work in the studio. I’ve dealt with some of the issues around making and being productive by starting an online community of mothers who make and inspire called Máthair. 


pink and multicoloured embroidered image


What does a typical day look like for you?

On my walk to the studio, I pick up my favourite coffee and collect any last-minute supplies I need for the day. I spend the morning in the studio answering emails and getting commissions ready to send. The afternoon is devoted to making; I usually put on a good podcast or album and just work away on my embroideries. In the evening, I head home for dinner with my family and usually end the day with a very lovely warm bath. 


Talk me through a hobby of yours.

My hobby is being a singer in a band. I love it and it makes a change from making things with my hands. Recently we played a roof top gig as part of BBC 6 Music Fringe Festival and it was amazing and a very memorable moment.


Do you collect anything?

I collect rocks and crystals. I have about 30 collected from all over the world. 


teal and multicoloured embroidered image


Who or what inspires you?

I love the work of Louise Bourgeois, she’s my favourite artist. Her drawings and textile pieces are a constant inspiration to me. I’m also inspired by the landscape, the mountains, rivers, lakes and forests of Ireland.


What is your work space like?

I share a studio space with my friend Hannah Casey, who is a painter, at Platform Arts in Belfast city centre. It’s a typical artist’s studio, lots of light, white walls and plenty of desk space. Platform is an artist-led studio group and contemporary art gallery. They actively promote creative expression, presentation and access to contemporary art practice through their exhibition, education and studio programmes. 


What do you look for in winter accessories?

I love natural fibres and locally made products. Hats are a necessity in Belfast as it rains quite often and gets pretty cold in the winter. I love beanies, I always have a black and grey beanie in my wardrobe and sometimes I’ll even be adventurous and purchase a brightly coloured one in olive green, wine red or canary yellow.


How would you style a beanie?

I love wearing my hair down with a beanie, accompanied by a wool checked coat, skinny grey jeans and a pair of Dr Martins.

Image of artist embroidering in her studio

Find more information about Lyndsey and her work here:


Images: Lyndsey McDougall