Using exquisite antique linen, kimono fabric, and lace, Mika Hirasa creates appliqué illustrations. Her most recent series features fiber interpretations of Aesop’s Fables, combining the collage-like technique with embroidery.
Mika’s use of negative space is especially impactful with the appliqué. She’ll cut out bold shapes from the fabric and then adhere them to other areas of the composition. In place is intricate stitching that mimics line drawing. The result is visually rich and full of depth while placing a contemporary spin on these old tales.
During the winter, without fail, I dream of the flowers in spring. (There’s only so much gray I can take—especially in the concrete jungle.) A woman (and mom) named Vicki—one half of the shop Sister Golden—has created floral art that’s the perfect escape from the dreariness. Using succulents, dried leaves, and fresh blooms, she arranges them into exquisite portraits of women. One of her most popular pieces features Frida Kahlo cleverly drawn using stems and sticks. They’re a great substitute for a pen or paintbrush!
These pieces, and more, are available through the Sister Golden shop.
While perusing Design*Sponge the other day, I was introduced to the work of Maria Berrio. Immediately, I was struck by her collage style—the intoxicating collision of color and texture paired with alluring figures in curious environments.
Driven by her “native South American influences” as well as living in Brooklyn, New York, she cuts and shreds paper into the large-scale portraits. “I usually find inspiration by going for a really long walk through New York City,” Maria told Annie Werbler on Design*Sponge. “The electricity of this city, the mishmash of cultures and classes, the hoards of interesting people doing interesting things in a dynamic city of filth and shimmering beauty — that is what inspires me.”
I’m a huge fan of sketchbooks… probably because my attempts to keep them always come up short. So, it’s no wonder that I’ve been fawning over Eva Magill-Oliver‘s books the past few days. They’re a combination of beautiful colors, bold shapes, and playful design. Unlike my pencil scribbles and sloppy note-taking, she uses each spread as an opportunity to make organic works of art. Eva will cut into pages, arrange pieces on top, and go outside of the book by attaching other bits of paper. In this way, the confines of the spreads are merely a suggestion—one that she’s happy to disregard.
In her artist statement, Eva writes that nature drives her color and imagery. “The natural world is an infinite resource for documenting and exploring shapes, patterns, and textures,” she says. “It also invites personal reflection and meditation.” Just like a sketchbook.
Follow Eva on Instagram to see what she’s working on now.
If you’re in the midst of winter, Becky Blair‘s landscape paintings are a beautiful escape from dreary skies and frigid temperatures. Fusing realism with abstraction, she layers colors, textures, drawing, and printing to create imagery that are like vivid dreams. These reveries are inspired by her extensive travel through India, Australia, and Europe, and she, in turn, “reflects the experience, rather than the visage” of a place. Through her paintings, we are part of these moments, too.
Sofia Salazar focuses her embroideries on faces. The UK-based textile designer incorporates minimalist, large-scale portraits onto clothing, reminiscent in drawing style to Matisse.
Though these hand-crafted stitches could easily serve as wall hangings, Sofia tells La Femme Collective that it’s important her creations are functional:
I need my work to be useful somehow; I like it better that way. That’s one of the reasons I went into fashion. I love it if my work can be worn, can be interacted with. I want my work to be involved in others people’s lives. I would love to have made someone’s favorite sweater.
If you’re itching for one of these pieces, check out Sofia’s online shop.
Svabhu Kohli created some of my favorite illustrations this year, with his intricately detailed nature images celebrating the world’s splendor. Full of color and texture, these compositions beg you to study them for a long time. These particular pieces are a riff on his Ocean piece of 2015—the sea creatures are the focal point framed by a beautiful floral landscapes.
I think we can all agree… it’s time for 2016 to get outta here! But first, let’s take a look back on 15 of the most popular posts on Brown Paper Bag this year. Simply, it was two categories: embroidery and illustration—two things I love and will continue to share into 2017.