Posted: April 27, 2023 in Gallery
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As an artist who creates contemporary needlepoint inspired by street art, I am deeply connected to the transformative power of creativity. My textile works are a manifestation of the life force that is cultivated through the act of creating.

Using vibrant colours, bold lines, and intricate stitches, I seek to capture the energy and vitality of the urban environment. My pieces reflect the dynamic interplay between the individual and the collective, the physical and the spiritual.

As a practitioner of needlepoint, I am drawn to the tactile nature of the medium. The process of hand-stitching allows me to slow down and connect with my work on a deeper level, channelling my creativity and life force into each stitch.

My works are not simply decorative objects, but rather expressions of the creative spirit that infuses all of life. Through my art, I seek to inspire others to tap into their own creative energy and discover the transformative power that lies within.

As an artist, my textile art reflects my deep connection to creativity and the way in which it elevates my life force. My work is contemporary needlepoint inspired by the vibrant energy of street art, which I use to convey the power of self-expression and the transformative nature of art.

In this body of work, I have used the symbol of the butterfly to represent the sense of re-emerging after a period of isolation brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. The butterfly’s transformation from a cocoon to a beautiful, soaring creature mirrors the way in which we can emerge from difficult times, transformed, and renewed.

Through my use of vibrant colours and intricate stitching, I aim to create a sense of joy and hope in the viewer, inviting them to embrace their own creativity and the power of art to transform and heal. My needlepoint pieces are a celebration of the beauty and resilience of the human spirit, and a testament to the enduring power of creativity to lift us up and carry us forward.

Sydney winter sunsets are awe inspiring, warm gelato pinks, streaks of strawberry, rose lemonades, fluffy flamingo coloured clouds . The sun sets in the west and the silhouettes of people, places and things contrast against the bubblegum skies.

Intelligent animal and the Darlington Installation Project (DIP) present
Blame it on the Sunsets by Niki McDonald, Tapestry Girl.

‘I’m saying that our urban environment empowers the women who embrace
the colours, reflections, lights, and Sunsets’. Follow the link for the catalogue .

Follow the link for What’s on in Sydney.

The purpose of Intelligent Animal (ia) is to financially contribute to people and organisations undertaking critical action to ensure the future and ongoing protection of our bio-diversity.

Sunset City
Afternoon Tea
Pink Gelato

It’s happened again, just as my, Seamingly compliant , exhibition was about to open, Sydney went into a Stage 4 Lockdown and the Traffic Jam galleries had to close. The exhibition has been set up and photographed and you can see my work in the Catalogue by clicking on the link. I am so happy with this Body of Work, Seemingly compliant, is an exhibition divided into 3 parts, and is an exploration of my personal journey to find authentic self-expression and reinvigorate the story within the common thread. Scroll down for a taster or click for the whole show

Click for the catalogue

Stitching Time is Thinking Time

Posted: June 23, 2021 in Gallery

Niki McDonald uses tools and techniques traditionally relegated to the domestic realm to pose questions about the contemporary status of women. In her work, ‘The Pillars’, stitching time is thinking time. Here, McDonald has assembled an anonymous line-up of seemingly compliant women to question the status of labour, colonisation and the occupied land from which the colonising nation has prospered. Frayed edges risk the work becoming unstitched, exposed. Unworked sections of the canvas demonstrate that the picture is incomplete. The women stand strong like painted wheat silos, emblems of industry. The remnants of their labour simultaneously reveal and conceal the mechanisms of social, cultural and agricultural production.

Niki McDonald, known for her contemporary tapestries, swaps the slow methodical art of stitching for her other passion, the fast-paced expression of painting. In keeping with her love of textiles, Niki is working on natural linen canvases and using her signature bold colours and key black lines to bring her urban stories to life. The shapes, colours, graffiti and people make up our urban landscape and inspire Niki to capture moments in time. Each painting is a forerunner for a possible needlepoint tapestry piece, she thinks it’s best to spend a week on an artwork before creating one that takes months.

Bob Girl – Strawberry, 91x122cm, acrylic paint on canvas,

Bob girl is your quintessential urban explorer, while walking down her favourite laneway, she was melting from the scorching heat of the midday summer sun. Dreaming of yesterday’s swim in the swirling, refreshing salty ocean she turned left and saw an ice-cream parlour. Inside she took refuge, it was cool, and the tubs of luscious ice-cream offered a vast array of choice. The music coming from the overhead speaker sang about Strawberry fields being forever, and then she knew, what flavour would be hers for today.

Bob Girl – Ginger, 91x122cm, acrylic paint on canvas

Bob girl is your quintessential urban explorer, while walking down her favourite laneway, her senses where alerted. Her eyes fell on some fresh graffiti, she kicked a bit of lose blue grey gravel and it landed on the doorstep of a terrace house. On retrieving it, she noticed the wonderful aroma of gingerbread baking, and hesitated, almost expecting to hear, ‘Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the Gingerbread man.’

Bob Girl – Mulberry, 91x122cm, acrylic paint on canvas

Bob girl is your quintessential urban explorer, while walking down Butterfly Lane, admiring the fresh graffiti, she could see children laughing and swinging from the branches of a tree in the old car park. She thought about the question painted on the telephone exchange box, ‘Do you prefer theatre or playgrounds?’ Bob Girl smiled, the kid’s hands and faces were stained port red, their bicycle baskets brimming with freshly picked mulberries, and then, they began rapping out a tune, ‘Here we go round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush’, she knew her answer had to be playgrounds.

Bob Girl – Rose, 91x122cm, acrylic paint on pure linen

Bob girl is your quintessential urban explorer, while walking down her favourite laneway admiring the fresh graffiti, she heard a song sweetly playing out of a convertible mustang. ‘I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden, along with the sunshine, there’s gotta be a little rain sometimes.’ It all fell into place and she felt like she was wearing a pair of rose-coloured glasses.

Represented by Traffic Jam Galleries in Neutral Bay, NSW, Australia. Please follow link for more work and sales.

Opening Celebration – Saturday 10th October 12-4 pm

TAP Gallery is at 1/259 Riley Street, Surry Hills, Sydney

Exhibition from Thursday 8th of october – Sunday 18th of October 2020

Wednesday 14th for Craft up Late – 5-7pm

And… There’s a Light On, an art exhibition, is a response to the Sydney Craft Week theme, Change Maker. Immersion in the gallery space will offer a sensory shift for the viewer. The space is compact, and the textile art is hung Salon style for limited visual resting places, artwork titles draw on song lyrics to evoke mood and past experience. The artwork is tactical, and touch is encouraged on some pieces, bowls of sweets are offered creating small dopamine hits. The artist’s intention is to provide a space for sensory immersion as an intermission from the unfolding world at large. Niki McDonald, Tapestry Girl, employs the half cross stitch traditionally used in needlepoint tapestry to find the balance between playfulness, industriousness and urban sass.

Intelligent Animal and Darlington Installation Project (DIP) present Niki McDonald, Tapestry Girl.

This is the sixth exhibition in an awareness and fundraising campaign series to support Frontline Action on Coal (FLAC) curated by intelligent animal in conjunction with DIP window Gallery.

50% of all sales will go to supporting the community members from around the country that are undertaking frontline action to stop the construction of the Adani Carmichael Mine at Moray Downs, Queensland. The Great Barrier Reef is at risk of being destroyed and since I haven’t been there yet, I really want to make sure it’s preserved and is ready to welcome eco tourists.

Our environment is precious, precarious and needs our help to thrive and survive. Covid 19 has taught me that with less planes, trains and automobiles, by keeping life simple, the skies are crystal clear, the water ways can play host to marine life and our environment has a chance to recover.

The window exhibition can be seen at 30 Golden Grove street, Darlington, NSW until 16.08.2020


In these unprecedented times when an exhibition is hung and a catalogue has been created but for the health of all no one can visit it. Please check out my body of work in the Traffic Jam Galleries catalogue.

Amending Traditions is a body of work that pays respect to the tradition of needlepoint tapestry, it honors its process and considers its subject matter. Art reflects society and in the 19th century, tapestry affirmed rigidity and modesty. The role of the amended tapestry is to break the customary stereotypes by sassing up the traditional subject matter. Stitching and mending recontextualises and allows for autonomy and sustained self-expression.

Traditional tapestries are stitched and darned with contemporary urban themes and incorporate humor to show contrast.  Niki McDonald employs sub-culture slang and lyrics from popular songs to prompt the viewer to complete the line and relive a moment in time. By inviting the audience to connect their own experience with that of the subject in the tapestry she hopes to ignite impact.

Birds represent freedom, they have a higher perspective and a big picture view. In the series, Amending Traditions, the bird gives us insight into how the subject is feeling and what their challenge is.


I hope you enjoy the exhibition catalogue as much as I enjoyed creating and stitching it x

Thank you 2019 for the many opportunities to express, exhibit and teach my passion, needlepoint tapestry.

8 gallery exhibitions, including galleries in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, London and Los Angeles.  4 online exhibitions, 3 stitches and craft shows, 12 workshops, 2 magazine features, 1 million stitches and many Sew as I GO moments. I’m stitching over summer and am preparing to thrive and blossom in 2020. All my love and gratitude for the creativity, support and opportunities throughout 2019


Anni Albers Quote. Being creative is not so much the desire to do something as the listening to that which wants to be done: the dictation of the materials. Creating is the most intense excitement one can come to know.

I was chatting with a friend about my needlepoint tapestry, Slowly Taking Dictation, she said that it worked with the Polish Poet’s, Secretary of the invisible. I’m drawn to the idea of slowly taking dictation in the role of the secretary of the invisible.

Niki_McDonald_ Slowly taking Dictation _ NP Tapestry _ 2019

Slowly Taking Dictation 110x90cm. Hand dyed 30ply wool, 3.75 tapestry canvas, 2019

Secretaries by Czeslaw Milosz

I am no more than a secretary of the invisible thing
That is dictated to me and a few others.
Secretaries, mutually unknown, we walk the earth
Without much comprehension.  Beginning a phrase in the middle
Or ending it with a comma.  And how it looks when completed
Is not up to us to inquire, we won’t read it anyway.