Mandi Smethells literally captures the rainbow in her series of sculptural fiber art. She hand-wraps cotton and forms into miniature and giant colorful arcs. Ranging from pastels to metallics, the tactile pieces are full of joy. I love the play of scale—the tiny rainbows make for great necklaces.
Mandi sells her fun fiber art on Etsy. She’ll make you a custom rainbow if you ask!
As Halloween barrels towards us (and I still don’t have a costume…), there’s one recently released book that is in keeping with the spooky month, but won’t scare you; it will make you celebrate the talents of women! Called Literary Witches, it’s a collaboration between writer Taisia Kitaiskaia and illustrator Katy Horan (previously). “Literary Witches came from the idea that to write or create art is to conjure,” Katy tells me in an email, “so it follows that female writers are witches wielding their particular brand of magick.”
I’m always impressed when I see people embroidering on tulle fabric. It appears finicky at best—and at worst, unforgiving of your mistakes (of which I make many as I sew.) But, the effect produced from tulle embroidery is worth it; from a distance, it appears that the image is floating. The work of Katerina Marchenko is a great example of this.
Another embroidery artist creating these stitched illusions is known as Krista Decor. Some of her latest pieces showcase the visual power of this approach. Birds and flowers are suspended in mid-air and showcase an incredible amount of layered detail over their buds and wings.
The start of fall always has me thinking about the holidays. And I’m sure I’m not alone; mid October is the perfect time to get your plans—and especially gift preparations in order—so you aren’t praying to the mail-order gods that your package will arrive on time.
Basic Invite offers truly custom stationery that you can order online.
Custom holiday cards are part of the fun of the season; they’re a great way to wish the people you love a bit of cheer as the year comes to a close. Basic Invite is making it easier than ever with their selection of illustrated cards and nearly unlimited color options. Their 180 different hues allow you to control the smallest details of your greetings to ensure they’re just how you want. (And don’t forget about the foil options—they’ve got gold, silver, and rose gold!) Basic Invite has another neat feature—instant previews. Once you select a design, you can change color and see how it will look before you get it printed.
Last Friday, it was fun to share some of the sketchbook inspiration that I’ve saved using the Instagram collections feature. Continuing that theme, I’m revealing some of the stitches I’ve hoarded in my Embroidery collection. They showcase a variety of approaches to hoop art—from satin stitches to countless French knots. If you’re planning on grabbing your needle and thread this weekend, take a look at these embroideries before you begin!
Illustrator Holly Maguire creates intricate stylized portraits full of color, fun fashions, and my favorite—flowers. Produced using gouache paint, they have a decorative aesthetic with themes that emphasize tranquility and close friendship. Citing the likes of botanical gardens, street fashion, and mid-century children’s illustration as influences, she tells love print studio, “I like to use lots of green mixed with bright pops of color in my work. I’m very inspired by nature and textiles and I think this comes across a lot in my work too.”
Holly sells her work through her Etsy shop.
Halloween is mere weeks away, and it’s time to get spooky. Although it still feels like the summer in Baltimore, the skeleton embroideries of Tinycup Needleworks are getting me into the spirit of the season. Britt Hutchinson is the woman behind these exquisite works that have a lot of personality; despite being just bones, Britt stitches in flowers, snakes, fabulous fashions, and even bees among their unchanging expressions.
Illustrator Anna Hoyle is a collector of “words, phrases, and objects,” and she translates her passion into an ongoing series of book paintings. But these aren’t ordinary texts, though. They are gouache portraits of fictitious books with silly names that are inspired by a mid-century aesthetic. Some resemble children’s books of yesteryear, while others are remind me of prolific illustrators and designers like Dick Bruna.
I love using the collections feature on Instagram. It’s how I find (and remember) so much great work, from embroidery to illustration to ceramics. (I totally recommend it.) One of my favorite collections is simply titled Sketchbooks, and the name says it all—it includes sketchbook pages that I admire. After hoarding many favorites, I thought sharing them would be nice way to start the weekend and inspire us to go doodle or paint in our own books.
“I work ‘old school,’” illustrator Lihie Jacob writes, “meaning that all of my illustrations are hand painted and digitalized by scanning.”