This time of year, painted eggs are a popular way to celebrate spring and Easter. What comes to my mind is the egg dye kits you used to get from the grocery story. You’d use a crayon to mask the area you wanted to keep white and then dip the egg and hope it looked good. Most of it was left up to chance.
Out of all the approaches to image making, cut paper illustration is my favorite. The process is often a tedious one, but the results are awe-inspiring. Paper can quickly transform from a 2D composition into 3D, and these types of illustrations have the look of sculptures with elements that cast shadows. This visual depth is the best part of about paper illustration. In addition, it gives you a distinct feeling that the piece is made by hand, and that the meticulous snips of the scissors or the slice of an X-Acto knife were all part of the journey into creating the final result.
The longer that Society6 is around, the more practical products it carries. (Years ago, I bought a shower curtain that I still use!) And I’m continually impressed with how they offer illustrators the opportunity to sell their work through products other than prints. One of their latest offerings is comfy seating—floor pillows! Available in square or round shapes, they’re perfect for making a cozy reading nook. Or, if you’ve got a large furry friend, it could be a fancy bed.
Like so many people on the internet, I’ve fallen in love with the work of Elisa Lefebvre. The colorful illustrated ceramics feature a watercolor-esque application of glaze. So despite their strong, often stout forms, the pieces have a feeling of levity and airiness. It’s this juxtaposition that makes them irresistible and draws you towards them—especially the animal pieces. I like the peekaboo holes cut in cats and dogs that showcases small cut leaves.
Last week, I featured the work of Isabelle Feliu as part of my list of 16 fantastical fashion illustrations. Since then, her paintings have been on my mind. Combing women of all shapes and sizes, she outfits them in fabulous fashions from real-world designers like Vivetta and Gucci. The clothing is contemporary, but the Isabelle’s style of watercolor paintings is reminiscent of artists long ago. Matisse comes to mind—especially in the gesture of Isabelle’s figures, as well as her use of bold, flattened shapes.
If you’re looking for colorful embroidery to brighten your day, then look no further than Kelly Ryan. The Albany-based embroiderer creates vibrant hoop art that’s a happy collision of patterns and texture. Sometimes, Kelly is figurative with her work and embroiders plants. Most of the time, however, she stitches abstract imagery with nature-inspired shapes like leaves that are clad in the likes of magenta, cerulean, and lime green.
Last Friday, I attended the opening of the MFA Illustration Practice thesis exhibition at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). As an alum of the program, I’m always fascinated to see how the thesis projects turn out. These are massive endeavors that take a whole school-year of work (your second year is dedicated to them), and even longer to plan. To say they’re involved is an understatement.
Remember last week when I was declaring my obsession for planters? Cumbuca Chic is another online shop that makes my list. Brazilian artist Priscilla Ramos is the woman behind these cute animal planters, which feature foxes, whales, sloths, and even tiny capybara. Each is adorned with a combination of shiny glaze that’s offset by the matte stoneware. I like this combination—it offers a nice visual contrast that proves that sometimes, minimalism can say as much as heavy decoration.
Some people lack the green thumb necessary to take care of plants. If you’re one of them, here’s a solution for you—no watering necessary! Tania of Lissova Craft creates tiny paper craft cacti that you can hold in the palm of your hand. Each potted plant is individually cut and intricately detailed with things like decorative planters and tiny flowers. Lissova will use a different types of papers to create a variety of texture, as well as cutting fringe into the paper itself.
These paper cacti are available on greeting cards and as original art in the Lissa Craft Etsy shop. And if you want to see works in progress, follow Tania on Instagram.
When it comes to hoop art, light-colored fabrics are a popular choice to embroider on. But, don’t overlook dark cloth. As Lindsay Swearingen demonstrates, it too can create beautiful pieces. Under the moniker Tusk and Cardinal, the Californian sews nature-inspired pieces that showcase, most notably, flowers and hands on a black background. The contrast makes her designs pop, and I love the tattoo aesthetic that she has in some of her pieces. The creatures, in particular, have the distinct feeling of blackwork-style body art.
Follow along with Lindsay’s hoop art on Instagram. And for her embroidered goods, head to the Tusk and Cardinal Etsy shop.