Last year, illustrator Rachel Jo gave herself an assignment. “I decided to challenge myself to do a painting a day for a month in November 2016 to really get my style to show some consistency,” she tells me in an email. “The proportions of my figures were really wonky and my color palette was all over the place.” The 30 days were “difficult but rewarding,” and it’s been a big help in her current endeavors and overall career.
When I first came upon the embroideries of Lauren Singleton, aka YesStitchYes, my immediate thought was, “They look painterly!” Her style, with elongated leaves and petals, remind me of graceful brush strokes rather than lines poked with a needle. Paired with script-style text, this hoop art has a breezy, carefree style to it—one I don’t often see in embroidery.
Another Monday, another edition of The Color Series! Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve picked illustration and crafts where one color dominates the rest (in a good way, of course) in composition and form. So far, we’ve seen tranquil blue and pink reverie. Now, it’s time for green embroidery and green illustrations.
In Philadelphia, there’s an exhibition at the Paradigm Gallery on embroidery and contemporary fabric work that’s a must see. Called Stitched: Part II, it features 16 artists who make use of these techniques in a variety of ways. Their individual imagery differs, but they are all constructed (in part) with a needle and thread.
Bralettes are en vogue, and I am here for it. One of my favorite iterations of this trend is the embroidered bralette, which combines intricate stitching with delicate, sheer fabrics. Emily Parkinson of Birds & Beestings has an illustrative take on this type of intimate. She stitches entire scenes that extend across the chest. Her small but striking collection features embroidered prickly cacti (previously), spotted fungi, jade snakes, and the art of Henri Rousseau.
Last Monday, I started The Color Series, in which I select illustrations, paper craft, and embroidery that overwhelming utilize one hue in their compositions. First up was blue with its tranquility and melancholy on full display. Now, I’m featuring pink; the color of beautiful blooms and cotton candy.
1. Big dog patches by Buried Diamonds
2. Hand-shaped hand soap by Imaginary Animals
3. Infinite Universe wallet by Oliness Art Studio
4. Flower pot by Miriam Brugmann
5. Prickly pear embroidered bralette by Birds and Beestings
6. Leaf bucket backpack by Leafling Bags
7. I Hate You the Least mug by Gemma Correll
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Trained as graphic designer, Freda Cheung has gone analog and sculpts leather creatures by hand. “I’ve always been interested in the ocean,” she tells Frankie Magazine. “Some of my digital artwork shares the ocean theme. Then I saw other artists making animals from felt, and wanted to make my own sea creatures in leather.” To produces her octopuses, crabs, and lobsters, their patterns are pieced together and secured with whip stitches. Some, like the tiny whales, are quirky brooches. Others are larger and sturdy enough to stack on top one another—for extra fun.
If you’ve followed my Instagram for a while, you’ve probably seen the work of Abbey Lossing. I became enamored with her portraits that combine stylish ensembles, a limited color palette, and nature-inspired motifs. By day, she’s a staff illustrator and animator at Vice News, but she also maintains an active portfolio of personal work.