Mikayla Zulkoski

She Knows, But Don’t Tell Her, Embroidery in hoop on linen, 31″ x 30″ x 0.5″, 2020

Welling Up, Embroidery in hoop on linen, 23″ x 9″ x 0.5″, 2020

Penitence, Embroidery in hoop on linen, 17″ x 24″ x 0.5″, 2021

You Don’t Belong Here, Do You?, Needle-felting embroidery, sewing, and other mixed media, 18″ x 14″ x 7″, 2021

Michayla Zulkoski

[BA] Sculpture

[Major] Global Studies
[Minor] French

As an artist, I work with embroidery, needle-felting, and other textile mediums to create embroidered portraits of women and sculptures depicting fantasy scenes. My work incorporates fairy tale themes with darker visuals to weave together women’s struggles throughout history and the constant presence of “magic” in our culture. I explore themes of magic and of the witch. I look at how these ideas have changed over time, including through storytelling. The other theme I explore in my work is the concept of withholding and expressing emotions, and how holding back one’s emotions may affect someone. I also add disruptive visuals that are unfamiliar or “out-of-place” – such as unnaturally colorful and vibrant skin or hair, holes in the canvas, and the embroideries themselves leaving the hoop and interacting with other embroideries. I use this narrative and these visuals in my work in an aim to create art that will be seen as both familiar, yet slightly “off” to the viewer.


Mikayla Zulkoski is a current undergraduate at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. She works with embroidery, needle-felting and other textiles to create sculptures and embroideries. Her artwork has been shown in the “Let There Be Light” exhibition at the Lux Center for the Arts in Lincoln, Nebraska. Mikayla grew up in small-town Nebraska, and first began pursuing art as a means to keep herself occupied while on her family’s quiet farm. This hobby then grew into a need to create and a fascination for visual story-telling. She began first working with textiles because she comes from a family with multiple seamstresses, and there was always a supply of fabrics and tools for her to work with. She has also always been a very texture oriented person, and the texture of certain threads, fabrics or wools will often influence her works. Mikayla’s work aims to mix classic fairy tale ideas with darker themes. She works to create a duality of familiarity and of an “out-of-place” feeling for the viewer to question. Mikayla also explores themes of magic, the witch, and women’s struggles in her art, and how these many ideas are connected.