Jennifer McBrien is a thread illustrator, who uses hand and freehand machine embroidery to illustrate her thoughts of our natural and complicated world. Her process begins with ink drawings from observation and photographic resources. The rest relies on mind ramblings, juxtapositions and compositional techniques. In her prior life as a painter, she would always begins with a wall paper pattern that she would layer onto, to hide and reveal. Currently Toile, decorative fabrics, or canvas are her backdrops. She appliqué’s or directly stitches figures, birds and plants onto the fabrics to suggest collaboration of human life within the natural world.
McBrien is a Baltimore native who began her artistic career as a painter, exhibiting her work throughout the East Coast from the mid 80’s to mid 2000’s. As a painter, she received two Baltimore City Arts Grants and a Maryland State Individual Artist Award in painting in 2005. McBrien began her fiber direction about a decade ago, using felt appliqué and a freehand machine stitching method to create functional and decorative works that explore her love for birds and the midcentury aesthetic. She has displayed her fiber works in a number of craft shows throughout the east coast including the American Craft Council show in Baltimore. She has her studio in a historic mill building in the Hampden area of Baltimore where they use to produce cotton duck canvas which has become one of McBrien’s main materials she uses. Throughout her career, McBrien taught for 30 years in Baltimore County when she ran a high school art program for the last half of her teaching career. Now retired, she is a full time artist who has travel for numerous craft shows throughout the eastern region of the US, participated in a number of art exhibits in Baltimore and is a member of the Charm City Craft mafia.