Tsuru Bride is the pseudonym of Meghan Willis, a Brooklyn-based embroidery artist whose textile works celebrate women’s strengths and sexuality. “I aim to tempt the viewer to follow the delicate stitching that caresses the bodies I reveal through thread,” she writes. All figures are drawn from real women, and I love seeing their uninhibited poses—they’re an awesome sense of freedom in each work.
Meghan uses a combination of appliquéd fabric and hand-painted leather, as well as embroidered stitches that act as a pencil or pen. The figures’ stances are minimally stitched and accented with small bursts of colors and patterns—together, they’re exquisite!
Fun fact: I included Tsuru Bride on my list of 10 Artists Who Contemporize the Ancient Craft of Embroidery, appearing on Illusion.
If I had a limitless clothing budget, you can bet I’d be wearing these elaborate dresses by Valentino. The details—in the Resort 2016 and Pre-Fall 2016, both featured here—are incredible. Dreamy, flowing garments are cloaked in embroidered flowers and sequins, crafted so that each piece tells its own short story. The Resort 2016, which came out last summer, is like a day in a garden, whereas the Pre-Fall collection goes in an opposite direction; landscape scenes are carefully sewn in countless shiny discs. While I have a (very) soft spot for florals, I’m most intrigued by the Pre-Fall pieces. A volcano and the Chrysler Building fall in the “unconventional” fashion category, once again proving that illustration makes for the best clothing.
Check out the entire collections on Vogue: Resort 2016 and Pre-Fall 2016
Make no mistake about it: rugs are an important part of interior decor. Their presence can tie a room together and transform an otherwise drab space into something special. I love it when rugs and illustration collide, like in the case of Celia Esteves’ online shop, GUR. Using a handloom, she creates tapestries with an embossed technique and finishes them with basic sewing—a process that’s very specific and traditional in Portugal.
In the early stages of GUR, Celia had talented illustrator friends design the imagery on her textiles. You can tell—the playful compositions push the boundary of conventional rugs and feature landscape scenes, animals, and strange characters featured as part of the designs. And one piece is pure rugception:
There’s more to see in GUR’s Etsy shop. Check it out!
Recently, I featured the embroidery of Russian artist Lisa Smirnova. Her stitched portrait was mesmerizing, utilizing meticulous stitches that recalled an Impressionist style of painting. For her project Artist At Home, she worked in the same manner as part of a collaboration with fashion brand GO (by Olya Glagoleva).
Artist At Home is a “story about the creative process of an artist which has been told through the language of textile.” Cashmere, organic cotton, 80s denim jeans and vintage towels were used in the garment construction, and together they showcase a painter whose studio and home is a single place—”Where both home and work clothing mix together.”
Lisa hand embroidered each one-of-a-kind piece, creating abstract bursts of color on the shoulders, backs, and hems of chic-yet-cozy garments. Gorgeous! And a good DIY idea for my tired sweatshirts…
If you’re a long-time reader to this blog, you might know how much I love daily art projects like #The100DayProject. I’m enthralled by the process and the lessons learned when you’re forced to make something everyday. Artist Kate Keara Pelen (previously) recently completed this type of endeavor with her One Pot Per Day series. “Every day in 2015, I produced one soft hand-made vessel using simple crochet techniques,” she wrote to me in an email. “This project came out of the desire to find a manageable way of sustaining a commitment to my artistic output during a period when extensive time in the studio was not possible.” As someone who finds embroidering calming, I can imagine that this project would contribute to a mental well-being, too.
As a group, the sheer number of pots are very impressive. Individually, each has unique characteristics, making them fun to study. Some are tall with long necks, while others are short with a shallow opening. Kate worked with a variety of colors and types of yarn, which makes some vessels appear soft and others rigid.
Now that the collection is complete, the pots are going on tour. Later this month, it’ll be Collation of Craft in London.
Calgary-based embroiderer Maria Arseniuk adorns geometric-style portraits of animals with stitched bouquets and floral wreaths. Using pre-designed stencils, she heat transfers them onto cotton fabric and then hand-embroiders them with floss. The result is simultaneously graphic and tactile—her blooms have a sculptural effect, which are more pronounced when paired with the 2D designs. They’re colorful and playful twist on conventional portraiture. Better yet, some are available in Maria’s Etsy, Femmebroidery.
Maria started her online shop in 2014, as she was writing her dissertation in Women’s Studies. “I began embroidering women’s rights and queer related hoops,” she stated on Etsy. “As the shop has progressed and as I’ve grown as an artist, I’ve moved to encompass a broader subject matter in my art: from feminism to wildlife to popular culture to all kinds of custom orders from around the world. I am always looking for new ideas and striving to create new products with an ever-present commitment to social justice and intersectional feminism.”
Marigold + Mars is modern hand embroidery by Cristin Morgan. Her colorful hoop art is centered around lettering and flowers, often combining them into one beautiful piece.
In addition to her embroidery, Cristin creates banners to hang on your wall. (In fact, one of them made my recent list of Illustrated Product Obsessions!) I love the luscious, floral banners, and I’m definitively keeping my eye out for them in her shop. It’s perfect for my office!
Emillie Ferris creates hand-embroidered hoop art starring a myriad of creatures. From foxes to bees to Lil’ Bub, the Suffolk-based artist stitches them all in majestic, realistically-styled portraits. They’re simple—devoid of a background—but demonstrate an impressive amount of depth in terms of their color and shading. Each meticulous stitch creates a feeling of dimensionality, whether it be in wings or fur.
Emillie’s hoop art is my favorite parts of her portfolio, but she also has embroidered necklaces for sale in her Etsy shop:
Embroiderer and illustrator Lisa Smirnova fuses two types of artistic styles to create one visually compelling textile. The portrait of this tattooed man has an Impressionistic-approach to it, with strands of peach, burnt sienna, and ivory sewn next to one another to imply a three-dimensional form. In addition to this style, Lisa uses bold, graphic elements in the background that allow the fabric to peek through and give us a visual reprieve from the dynamic and directional stitches.
Be sure to follow Lisa’s Instagram for inspiring in-progress work!
Here’s another lovely project that Lisa completed. It’s a lush, colorful embroidered pillow!
Hey friends, I’ll keep this post short and sweet, because I’m out of town for Christmas and been busy—like eating delicious food and seeing the new Star Wars…
Here’s one of my favorite things I’ve seen in a while—a Baroque Lovebird by HL Tyler. The combination of wool “hair” and embroidery is exquisite, and not to mention odd. If only I could feel this elegant.
And with this, I’m taking a break until Monday, December 28. For those who celebrate—Merry Christmas!