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About the album series

My work has always been about the medium of fabric and thread and how far I can push the medium in both conventional and unconventional methods. Since the conventional use of thread and embroidery has been in fashion and wearables, fashion has always been a major influence in my work. Besides fashion, music has always been a strong influence on my life and in my work. I grew up in the 1970’s and music was all about record albums. This was before the internet, streaming, CD’s or IPods. When a new record came out from an artist you followed it was literally, everything. I remember the way the albums used to feel, reading through the liner noted and most of all admiring the art of the album itself. A big part of the modularity series was combining different techniques like photography, luxury boxes and paintings together to form art installations thait start different conversations . The next piece that I wanted to add to the conversation, as you can gather are record albums. I have spent months sourcing vintage record albums and created dozens of prototypes to finally come up with these pieces. Each album was hand selected and then I set out to embroider them. Each thread is hand digitized using digital drawing tools using a scan of the actual album as a backdrop. Every stitch is placed by hand, one at a time. The embroidery process itself is the most interesting and has to be seen to be believed. Each album is embroidered directly through the actual Album sleeve. Each album has to be carefully aligned on the machines before it is stitched, this is a very difficult technical challenge.  Each album receives a different type of treatment, some like The Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers” is stitched completely with thousands of stitches and others like Nirvana’s “Nevermind” use a combination of embroidery thread and appliqués cut from the liner notes in the album. Each of the albums are created as unique variations in additions of 8 with 1 artist proof. Since the albums are part of the modularity series they blend perfectly with the other works in the series. The narrative now has art, music and fashion all married together. 

Stephen Wilson 


I start by selecting the album to embroider. I prefer to use vintage albums because they are worn, creased and usually have the tell-tale record ring around the album. I even like when there is writing on the albums. Vintage albums have a history and a vibe that newer albums don’t have.

Designing the albums

The next step is the digitizing process. I load the artwork into my digital tablet and draw each stitch on top of the album.  During this process I decide type of stitch, length, density and type of thread. Each thread  type requires different techniques.  Some of the album covers have over 150,000 stitches on them. If there are other techniques like appliqué or laser cutting those process happen here as well.


The embroidery process is next. Each album is placed on customized large format industrial embroidery machines. The machines have been customized in Japan for what I need to use them for. For example, as I am writing this booklet I am the only person in the United States with a machine that is capable of embroidering with yarn. Once the registration is complete the albums are embroidered, stitch by stitch. Since I am essentially embroidering through cardboard the machines run at very slow speeds. Most albums take 4-8 hours to stitch. 


Once the album comes of the machine threads are clipped and cleaned up. and the album itself is mounted to the backboard for stability.


Each of the albums are decorated using different techniques. Every album has unique details.

Extraordinary detail

without a doubt, albums are the mst detailed pieces I have ever created. each album has an intricate amount of detail with layer upon layer of embroidery.

photo realism

There are a lot of albums that are essentially portraits. Creating a portrait with thread is no easy task, especially through paper. Each portrait album cover has over 200,000 stitches and takes dozens of hours to design and over 8 hours to embroider.


While working on a new album show I decided the walls could use something new and the guitar series was born. I started by taking photographs of real guitars, owned wither by myself or my team. Once the photographs were taken I designed the embroidery directly from the photographs so the designs would be super realistic. They were then full stitched and mounted in relief over a variety of backgrounds. The detail in each Guitar is stunning and has over 500,000 embroidery stitches in each one. You can customize the guitars in any color and on any type of background.  The possibilities are unlimited.

Guitar Detail

You can truly customize your background. The Guitars come in two sizes, 12”x26” and 26”x40”. The backgrounds are created using collage with either luxury packaging or with up-cycled album covers. You can choose your favorite brand, artist or genre of music. The pieces are cut into strips, collaged and embroidered into a dynamic background. There are both electric and acoustic guitars in this series. The electric guitars can be created in any color combination and the acoustics can be created using applique silk, leather or gypsy style. 


The album mosaics is an idea that was formulated while I was working on the album series. Since I embroider directly through the album covers I am limited by the size of the album to establish the finished piece. While there are a few albums that are double or triple foldouts, most albums are only 12”x12” in size. While I was looking at the installation wall I envisioned larger pieces and then it dawned on me how to accomplish that. I envisioned each album, recreated as a mosaic, with hundreds on 2”x2” tiles comprising the album cover. 

mosaic detail

The mosaics tiles have been found in pieces I have created over the last 5 years, from my Americana series to the Shine a Light series and even as abstracts. The images or icons on each tile are hand digitized then each tile is individually embroidered and crafted as a separate piece and then combined to form an image. Some pieces contain hundreds of these individual pieces. The icons themselves also tell a story, and that story is different with each piece. Since each of these pieces contain hundreds of elements they are the hardest of my pieces to fabricate. 


The albums are meant to hang together. When I was growing up, album covers were my first art pieces. I would thumbtack them all to the walls to form my first art arrangements, all of my friends would be able to see my favorite artitst and bands. My arrangements are exactly like that except with the albums turned into unique fine art pieces. Each album tells a story.

artist series

We all have a favorite artist or band. You can create your own arrangement using the albums from a single artist. Featured here is the Rolling Stones, there are dozens of artists available on the site with multiple titles available.


You can also create an album wall using albums that have similar characteristics like color. This example shows black and white albums that when combined create a striking arrangement.