Artist inspiring Olivia Nicholls Bates

James Merry

James Merry, an artist who specialises in embroidery, has often collaborated with singer Björk since 2009 on her intricate and otherworldly headpieces, deeply inspired by nature, sci-fi and technology. 

Merry's embroidery focuses on preserving the perishable and ephemeral, namely flowers, caught in the moment of metamorphosis, with the embroidery of botany enduring longer than its physical and natural form.

The idea of something undergoing a physical transformation is evident in his work, whose embroidery embraces the collision of man and nature; the fusion of the two to futuristic effect.

Another thread explored through the themes of man and nature showcases itself through his embroidery of flora onto vintage sportswear; each detail undertaken with immense precision and painstaking detail. The labour of time embroidering each piece is emblematic of the time nature moves to reclaim old buildings and surfaces; a thriving resistance of nature against the sprawl of cities and human chaos.


It echoes in his decision to depart England to reside and work in a remote town near Reykjavik, where the natural flora and fauna interweave and manifest into his creations.

"Through the use of drawing and painting, my practice explores the realms between reality and fantasy, drawing upon fiction, mythology and history as inspiration, delving into how these narratives can convey hidden messages and truths, disguised through symbolic and archetypal imagery. ."- Olivia