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.
Whether you own a couple of t-shirts or a closet full of dresses, you can still appreciate the fun of fashion. One way to explore outfits is through illustration; why not build your own dream ensemble? Real world cost, material, and construction has nothing to do with it!
I’ve become something of a planter collector—especially those illustrative that are in nature. I recently filled a (similar) Beardbangs planter with a small succulent, as well as a bikini clad pot from Group Partner. And, I backed this self-watering pot on Kickstarter! Maybe collector isn’t the right word. Obsessed?
The Yarn Kitchen, with its felted animal planters, is next on my list for my collection. Online purveyor Stella Melgrati creates adorable animal-head pots that are perfect for air plants or succulents. Best of all, her planters come in 28 different colors, because, she says, “love is a rainbow.”
Let’s #TBT with a textile artist whose illustrative approach to the medium is both influential and strikingly modern. Mariska Karasz was a Hungarian-American designer and textile artist who got her start designing clothing in the 1920s and 1930s. Her approach to fashion sounds like something I’d wear today; garments incorporated traditional Hungarian embroidery and appliques that were “similar to Henti Matisse’s cutouts” and utilized bold, abstracted shapes.
Becky of Fuzzy and Flora hasn’t even opened up shop yet, but I’m excited about her hoop art. It revolves around llamas and alpacas! I love alpacas, and I have more than a few figurines sitting on my shelf that pay tribute to this member of the camel family. Becky’s homage uses needle felting to depict their fluff and embroidery to showcase beautiful blooms that they carry on their backs. I love the combination of texture between the smooth thread and felting fibers. As the two opposites complement each other, they together create a visual feast for the eyes.