Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Paperfolk meets... cOnieco

Working in the studio

I am always a huge admirer of artists who employ embroidery techniques that I don't use in my work. Needle painting is one of those techniques that I really admire and often think of taking up myself. Painting with a needle doesn't suit my style of illustration but it works amazingly well with subjects taken from nature. I came across the work of cOnieco when I was rooting around on Pinterest. The artist creates beautiful brooches in Poland and sells her wares on Etsy. Every work looks like a miniature painting and would cheer up any outfit.

We asked cOnieco to share her inspiration and ideas with us...

How did you get into needlecraft?

I'm from an artistic family so creativity has always been a part of my whole life . As a child I used to like to paint, draw and deal with all kinds of handicrafts. I finished art school but I learned a lot of things by myself, including embroidery. I discovered embroidery as a teenager when I found a book about folk embroidery. I really liked it so I decided to try it myself. It came naturally to me because I had a background in various other fields of art. Embroidery is very time consuming so I had to postpone it for a while and got back to it after a few years. I started to play around with  felt and I discovered how good it looks when it's combined with embroidery. Soft painterly effects can be achieved by using the felting technique and  look perfect in combination with an acute line of threads.



What inspires you in your artworks?

Nature itself is my greatest inspiration. It contains all sorts of colours, shapes and textures.


Can you give us an insight into your process of creating your products from start to finish?

Firstly, I make a shape from a piece of wool with a technique called dry felting. Dry felting is completed by using a special felting needle to prod wool until it becomes the thickness/texture needed. I then paint with a needle on the felt, apply colours and in the end embroider finer details.



How do you keep yourself organised?

Unfortunately I'm completely unorganized! I work when I find some spare time and as a freelancer, I never know when it will happen. Mostly my work is based on images which fall into my hands and usually I don't make any sketches.

I have plenty ideas in my head (sometimes too much) which isn't always good because I forget to realize lots of them.



Do you ever have creative blocks? How do you get through them?

I'm really lucky I have never had them. Creating is, for me, a way to kill time and relax. It's a natural need to do something.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Paperfolk loves... Hinke Schreuders

works on paper 15, 2010
I always enjoy a bit of embroidery on paper so the work of Hinke Schreuders doesn't disappoint. The Amsterdam based artist creates mixed media works using newspapers, magazine, fabric and thread. I love her use of abstract patterns that give a modern twist to fashion images that are most likely from the 1940s/1950s.
The artist's website has more images and information so please check it out. In the meantime let the images below wet your appetite!

If you know of any other great embroidery artists let me know in the comments section...


Works on paper 28, 2012
Works on Paper 30, 2012
Work on Paper 31, 2012
Works on Paper 32, 2012
Violets are Blue, 2008

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Paperfolk meets... Nepinka

While I was looking around for some inspiration online I found Nepinka. Using the traditional method of beading she creates jewellery and gifts which are completely unique. For those who don't know much about beading, it's a painstaking process where tiny beads of various colours are stitched or knitted together to create a design. The designs are modern but use a high quality traditional technique to be completed which is great (and time consuming!)

We're lucky to have Nepinka sharing her process with us here on the blog. Please check out her shop and let us know what you think...

Nepinka at work in the studio

How did you get into needlecraft/beadwork?
Once I created a fabric headband for myself. It was beautiful, but I understood, that i'd wear it for one season and then I wouldn't wear it again. I thought it would be nice to create things, that people could wear for years and maybe leave for their children. Especially in modern life, when machines can create millions of similar products without soul. At school I had few lessons in beadwork, and it started to bring back memories of skills I have always had. I also used the internet to find new beading methods and techniques. I've come a long way from basic techniques and cheap beads! I now use complicated techniques and high quality beads to create all of my designs. For example I have mastered the technique of purse bead knitting using 5 needles.

What inspires you in your artworks? 
The things and events around me. For instance I have book with ancient pottery of my land with funny titles like 'Hunter shooting at a bear that attacked hare'. From that book I created a pattern for my 'soldiers' purse. Also as I started to be a vegetarian, I started to work on a vegetables jewelry collection.

Can you give us an insight into your process of creating your products from start to finish?  

My process can last months from  the perfect product inside my head to the actual finished item. I make  a few samples in different techniques and then use different sizes of beads to complete the desired result.

How do you keep yourself organised?  

Beadwork takes time. For small pieces – 1-2 days, big, detailed – 1-2 weeks, purses 1-2 months so in a way I can't forget anything ;) Sometimes i use sticky notes to keep me from forgetting things.

    Do you ever have creative blocks? How do you get through them?  
    It has happened in the past unfortunately. One day I would have thousands of ideas but no time to create, then when I had a lot of time not a single idea what to do! It helps to note or draw the idea or item. I always allow myself to create what I want, or have inspiration for so I always work on a few projects at a time. Working this way means it's pretty hard to find time for creative blocks. I have few collections that I develop when I get some time in between orders. I also started a partnership with a fabric designer, as I think it's nice when fabric and jewelry complement each other.


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Embroidery in fashion AW 13

There's nothing I love more than finding a bit of high quality embroidery in Haute Couture fashion. It always feels that little bit more intricate and time consuming than embroidery on high street clothing. I was scouring the internet and found these little beauties from the Autumn Winter 13 shows.

Manish Malhotra AW 2013

I have to say these were one of my favourites for colour, pattern and stitching combinations. I would love to go to the Delhi fashion shows in person to see the garments up close but don't think that will happen anytime soon so in the meantime these pics will have to do! This first set of images come from Manish Malhotra's collection- the colour/pattern clashes work so well together.

Manish Malhotra AW 13

Manish Malhotra AW 13

Oscar de la Renta offered up a modern take on the classic ballgown with a fuschia pink gown embellished with silver thread embroidery.

Oscar de la Renta AW 13

However the most embroidery used in a fashion show award goes to... Valentino! As well as embroidery there was also a bit of lace combined with sumptuous fabrics in rich colours. Again I love that combination of traditional processes used in a modern way. Some of the patterns echo the work of William Morris.  Although, for me, the work on top of the sheer black fabric is by far my favourite. The colour just pops so well and looks intricate without being too dense. These are only a few of the garments that went down the runway...

Valentino AW13

Valentino AW13
Valentino AW13
Valentino AW13

Valentino AW13

See more of Manish Malhotra's work here. More of Oscar de la Renta's here and more of Valentino's here.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Inspiring Reads... Craftydermy

Taxidermy has always been one of those tricky subjects. On one hand there is a part of me that thinks that it's absolutely barbaric (and being a vegetarian it gives me the creeps), on the other hand there is something intriguing about it. I worked behind the scenes in a museum for a long time and have seen the fascination that the public and staff members have with taxidermy. When members of the public are standing in front of the animal they rarely think about the fact that it was skinned, eyes removed, packed and stitched back together again. Maybe the excitement in being so close to an animal that could ordinarily tear you to pieces overrides any negative feelings.

I am always interested when old crafts and processes are revamped for a modern audience.
Imagine my delight when Craftydermy came through my door! This lovely little book is published by Cicada Books and features 19 crafty projects inspired by taxidermy. You'll be pleased to hear that skins have been swapped for fabric, paper, wool, felt and wire! 

Why Craftydermy? The term 'Craftydermy' was coined by Tracey Benton to describe the high quality faux taxidermy currently being created by a variety of crafters, makers and artists. Tracey also owns Atelier, a contemporary craft gallery in Devon. The gallery hosted an exhibition of exciting works which fell into this category. The craft book was born from there.
I am a sucker for a good front cover on a book and the wooden design along with the image of a faux fox head very much suits the content. The typewriter font used throughout also gives that 'sketchbook' feel as well.

Each project comes with a full colour image along with easy to follow instructions and a short bio of the artist who created it. Templates for all of the projects are included at the end of the book and are easy to photocopy to make multiples of each project if you desire! Highlights for me include, Amelia Fever's Tiger Rug, Knit and Destroy's Friendly Fox Fur and Sannapanda's Shadow Bunnies. There are projects for every level of ability and time availability. The Shadow Bunnies could be an evening project whereas the Tiger Rug may take a week or more. So for the beginner there is plenty to work through as you progress and for the more experienced crafter there are some great projects to get your teeth into.

Knit and Destroy's Friendly Fox Fur

Antonia Eckersley's Crocheted Sheep

The main thing I took away from the book is a collection of contemporary projects that are exciting and very different from lots of craft books currently in circulation.

Tracey Benton's Paper Mache Antlers

If you are tempted to get yourself some animal friendly taxidermy in your home then this is the book for you and at only £12.95 it's well worth it. You can buy your copy here. Go on you know you want to...

A list of all of the talented artists involved :
I can make shoes
Hayley Dix
Amelia Fever
Naomi Ryder
The Bellwether
Knit and Destroy
Julia Davey
Angharad Jefferson
Emma Cocker
Caroline Brown
Tracey Benton
A Wooden Tree
In with the Old
Clare Nicolson
Kimberly Diamond
Louise Harries
Antonia Eckersley

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Paperfolk Loves... Erin Endicott

As an artist I tend to be drawn into projects which take a long time to complete, I embroider detailed patterns into my illustrations and even when I draw I do so with a 0.05 nib pen which gives incredible detail but adds a lot of hours onto the process! I always hope that my work actually looks like it takes a long time especially to people who are in the know about these things (i.e. other embroiderers).

I love it when I find works which look so labour intensive that I feel such admiration for the person who completed them. This is exactly how I feel about the work of Erin Endicott.

Erin creates sculptural works using embroidery, ink and found objects. As soon as you look at the works they automatically have a sense of history and time attached to them. For me, the works explore memory and the events of life but if you would like to read about the artist's body of work please check out her website here which gives more detail and lots of beautiful images.

Let me know what you think of her work...

Healing Sutra #8
Healing Sutra #11
Healing Sutra #14
Healing Sutra #16

Healing Sutra #17 (detail)
Healing Sutra #22

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Paperfolk meets... An Astrid Endeavor

Don't you just love it when you're trawling the internet looking for something a bit different and then you stumble across beautiful items that you just have to have? This is how I felt when I came across An Astrid Endeavor. As someone who embroiders I really appreciate an embroidered work because I know just how long it has taken to make and also how much the maker has loved creating the item. I have been so lucky to be able to get Astrid to share her inspiration and process.


Astrid at work in her studio
How did you get into needlecraft?

I dabbled in so many artistic endeavors (hence the title) over the years and working with embroidery and textiles is just one form that I learned at an early age, and kind of kept in my "back pocket" to experiment with from time to time in my artwork and crafting projects. I have always made jewelry mostly using glass, metal, ceramics and mixed media- but since having a family and a full time job I wasn't able to use the machines and materials in my small home studio. I started using embroidery as a way to create jewelry pieces and ornaments because of how simple, quiet and easy to transport it is. It's perfect for me to do after a long day of work and taking care of my daughter. After everyone is asleep, I can be in my studio quietly creating!! 

Crescent shaped necklace available here

What inspires you in your artworks?
Over the past few years geometrics have really been in the forefront of fashion and design, which is so wonderful since that's really what I've been drawn to. Part of my background is in Cultural Anthropology (as well as medical anthropology, art and counseling psychology) I've always been fascinated with how other cultures observe rites and rituals and how they adorn themselves accordingly. I love African design, colors, textiles and jewelry design, Angela Fishers book, "Africa Adorned" makes me drool!! 

Geometric Embroidered Brooch available here
Can you give us an insight into your process of creating your products from start to finish? 
Luckily, I grew up being taught that you can make just about anything! So, when I see a design, or image, a color or have an idea- I just start sketching it out and then see where it takes me. Sometimes I need to enlarge or scale down an image  for scope- to see how it might work on the body. Once I do that, I am ready to hand sketch it onto fabric and then I choose my colors. I work primarily with regular cotton DMC embroidery floss. Wow, what a variety of colors!! 
Most of the time a piece is relatively straightforward, but occasionally it's something I need to think about and rework for awhile, then when it's complete, it's just the best feeling and is usually one of my favorite pieces. As in the case of my latest design for late Summer/Fall 2013: 
I have always loved textile wall hangings ever since I was a kid and took weaving classes with my mom. I love how they are making a comeback in home decor. So, it was so exciting when I thought to myself, "wait a sec- I want to take that same concept but scale it down for the body!" It took some thought to figure out how I might be able to do this on a miniature scale, and I am so pleased with how it turned out. There are a lot more in the works- but they take a lot of time to do!!

Textile Pendant available here

How do you keep yourself organised- lists, filing, sketchbooks? 
Oh my. Well, I try to stay as organized as possible. Everything has it's place- but I do have a lot of stuff. Since I have so many artistic interests, I have just about every supply one might need for any project. I have also been collecting images from books and magazines since I was a kid, so you can image the files I have. Now, with the internet, it's a little easier. God, I love Pinterest for this reason alone!! 

Statement Bib Necklace available here

Do you ever have creative blocks? How do you get through them? 
Occasionally, I have a bit of a creative block. That's usually when I am exhausted and need to sleep. Since I do most of my jewelry making at night I often forego sleep to create since I love it so much! When I find myself sluggish or having a hard time getting through a project I just put it down and get some rest. Creating is truly my passion and what energizes me, but the human body can only endure so much and then it needs rest!

Geometric Emerald Green Brooch available here