1. Ceramic otter totem by Chien Nie Hong
2. Printed blouse by Nivule
3. Blue throw pillow by Alexandra Bowman
4. Long U necklace by Floti
5. Wink earrings by Tal Avishai
6. Mauve Protea cotton skirt by Doops Design
7. Flower Power mug by Easy to Breathe
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Illustrator Clover Robin is no stranger to Brown Paper Bag. I was first wowed by her last year when I found that she chronicled her travels using collage—while on the road! Since then, I’ve been following her work as she fills her sketchbook pages with more cut paper goodness. Clover writes that she “delights in nature and all things botanical,” and is “inspired by a childhood of woodland walks and countryside rambles.” As such, her illustrations often feature quaint homes and beautiful blooms that utilize a bevy of color and texture. Although they’re abstract, Clover arranges the brush strokes, splatters, and colors to build form. The result is both structured with a sense of spontaneity and freedom—sort of like being outdoors.
Today is the longest day of the year, so it seems fitting share the work of Angela Mckay, aka ohkii stuio. Based in Brooklyn but hailing from Australia and Thailand, her gouache and watercolor paintings feature sunny scenes of swimming and trekking through lush tropical gardens. If you’re stuck inside all day (as I am), each of these summer illustrations will offer a momentary reprieve from the computer screen.
Kelly Pousette captures storybook scenes in paper dioramas. The shadowbox illustrations are vignettes that chronicle the adventures of a small fox as it traverses wintery scenes, naps by a cozy fire, and enjoys the beauty of blooms.
If you sew, you know how vital the pin cushion is. We’re often so used to the standard tomato, but there’s ways to make the practical tool both fancy and fun—thanks to illustrated ceramics. And Erin Paisley does just that with her bespoke pin cushions.
Erin’s production process looks like this: she first hand builds the form—either a woman or animal—out of earthenware clay. After it’s painted, glazed, and fired, she adorns the figure with a tight black wool bun stuffed with wool roving. The pin cushion part looks like hair, so the more pins you stick in, the more bejeweled her bun looks.
Over a year ago, I first marveled at the curious work of Vancouver-based illustrator Julia Iredale. Her surreal illustration style fuses landscapes and figures into singularly compelling scenes. While Julia hasn’t departed from her visual language, she’s continued to refine it with a new body of work. Rather than creating full-bleed illustrations, she plays raw edges to produce pieces that deftly convey lucid dreaming and memories you can’t quite shake.
Embroiderer Sam Eldridge stitches jungles, gardens, and floral bouquets on thrifted garments. The colorful creations breath new life into these second-hand pieces and give them a fresh feel by transforming them into one of a kind pieces. Her embroidered clothing follows a long tradition of repairing a garment rather than outright disposal. Long ago, before the atomization of the Industrial Revolution, people would mend their clothing over and over again, because each piece was so expensive to make in the first place. That’s not really a concern today, of course, but Sam is engaging in the same idea—create a new twist on something old and extend its life for the wearer.
Maybe you don’t have a green thumb and all your plants eventually wilt. You know what? That’s okay. Because thanks to the mushroom felt crafts by Close Call Studio, you can still have something life-like in your home. Amanda Adams, the illustrator and sculptor behind Close Call, creates playful plants and vegetables that are an eye-catching fusion of crafted nature with a piece of the real outdoors. She hand-sews and mounts small fungi, colorful blooms, and prickly cacti on a slice of hand-cut wood. The result is a unique homage to nature that brings the beauty of the outdoors inside—but no extra care required.