Elizabeth Beer & Brian Janusiak are the masterminds behind Various Projects, Inc. a multidisciplinary creative collaboration that started in 2005. One of their ongoing projects is called Birdwatching, and it’s a cuddly homage to our feathered friends. The first subject was a hand-knit pigeon, but it only grew from there. Now, there’s an “ever-growing flock of state and regional birds.” The Blue Jay, Cardinal, Carolina Wren, and Mourning Dove are just some of the charming soft sculptures available in their Project No. 8 online shop.
If you step inside of my apartment, you’ll immediately see that it’s a house ruled by cats. There are scratching posts for them to lounge on and toys in nearly every room. I’ve also splurged on a fancy food dish that’s set against some empty wall space…until now. To take my cat-lady status up a notch, I created a hanging banner that immortalizes Pauline, my calico that’s the emboidment of the Sour Patch Kids candy.
Like my cut paper self portrait, I made a video that offers a behind-the-scenes look at how 2D Pauline came to life. Nearly everything was done using felt—a first for me, but something I’m definitely going to repeat. It was fun!
Here’s the tools I used:
I started cut the shape of the banner first and then sewed the casing for the dow rod. Then, I dove into my felt portrait using a sketch as a guide. Although it’s not shown on the video, I cut out shapes from my initial drawing and used them as a pattern, tracing around them with the ink pen onto the felt.
If you have any questions about this project, let me know! I’m happy to answer them. And, if you want one of these for yourself (or as a gift), I’m currently taking commissions. In fact, I’m working on one right now!
Artists (and sisters!) Celina and Maja Debowska create scarves with a playful twist—their felted wool designs look like birds. Inspired by the “amazing swan dresses Björk had worn to the Oscars and on her Vespertine tour,” layers of the creatures’ feathers and their beaks drape around your neck.
These swans, ducklings, and flamingos can be worn for any occasion, but I like how they’re styled here: as a whimsical complement to fancy dress.
Celina and Maja sell their creature stoles through their Etsy shop, Celapiu. There, they produce other animals like foxes, horses, and sloths.
I grew up making a lot of crafts, but macramé was not one of them. Looking at Rianne Zuijderduin‘s work, however, I see that I should’ve tried it—the possibilities are beautiful. The Netherlands-based artist creates intricate, tonal patterns in large wall hangings. Combining geometry, fringe, and a pop of vibrant color, the pieces are a cozy accent to a space.
Rianne sells her work—including what macrame is known for, planters—on Etsy.
Illustrator Anna Kövecses creates bold, bright images that feature minimalist shapes. This aesthetic is translated onto clothing for a charming effect—Anna prints cats, swans, mushrooms, and more for the Fall/Winter 16/17 Lazzari collection. I especially love the jacquard jersey pieces because they mix her clean lines with a pixelated-looking texture.
Anna’s collection is now available through the Lazzari website. I’ve got my eye on the llamas!
Australian maker Fleur Lyon calls her textile pieces “knitted fields of wild florals.” Using traditional techniques, she creates wool-on-wool artwork with a hand-knitted base and embroidered flowers among a timber frame. The pieces remind me of a soft, cozy sweater that feels and smells like home. I’d imagine these are best enjoyed while sipping a hot cup of tea.
Fleur Lyon sells her work online and posts upcoming sales as well as works in progress through Instagram.
I am a doodler. Whenever I’m sitting idly, talking on the phone, or bored on a plane, I find myself drawing the same sort of shapes time and again. It’s why I connect with Elizabeth Pawle’s scattering embroideries—they remind me doodles made with thread. The bevy of colors, textures, and shapes are organized in aesthetically-pleasing squares, like I’m getting a glimpse inside of Elizabeth’s head. Scatterings showcases all of the unique ways in which she processes information.
Elizabeth sells her work through Etsy. Follow her on Instagram to see when her next listing will be.
Genevieve Griffiths weaves abstract wall hangings inspired by architectural structures. Her colorful pieces have pyramids, steps, arches, and stairs woven into their designs, resembling the maps of fantastical cities far away. Aside from shape design, the New Zealand-based artist plays with texture, too—she’ll incorporate extra-thick yarns as a way to break up space and add even more visual interest to these spectacular pieces. Impressive as a whole, the details are what really make her weavings exciting—be prepared to get lost!
Growing up, my mom had books stacked high towards the ceiling of our living room, and I spent a lot of time studying their various covers. As an adult, I read less books (Audible, you’ve spoiled me), but I still enjoy a well-crafted book cover. Mrs. Chaplin pays homage to these memorable designs by recreating classic and contemporary tales using a combination of wool felt and silk thread. Although you can’t pull back the cover and read its words, the appliqué-style illustrations serve as the front of statement-making clutches.
If you’re a literary lover and enjoy a bit of quirk with your accessories, this Etsy shop has you covered.
Stitchy Friday is a project that’s sure to warm your heart. It’s an endeavor between an embroiderer mother and her illustrator daughter, Marijke Buurlage; Marijke creates the colorful, stylized images and then her mother translates the flattened shapes into stitched form. Their Instagram, @stitchyfriday, is updated at the end of each week with their progress and finished pieces.
As wonderful as Marijke’s illustrations are, her mother’s handiwork is also admirable. I love the lush texture and the mixing of threads—they add dimension and bring 2D to life. After seeing this sweet collaboration, it makes me want to plan a creative project with my own mom! Don’t you?