ūüĎĎ Mermaid Embroidery

Art

The inspiration behind this piece is entirely clear and one that I can easily direct you to: “Imagine a Forest: Designs and Inspirations for Enchanting Folk Art” by¬†Dinara Mirtalipova. This book is simply lovely and an absolute must-browse for anyone that has an interest in Eastern European design.

Having worked in a public library for 6+ years, I’m very much inspired by books and this one drew me in the moment I saw the cover.

Taking in Mirtalipova’s illustrative style, I was inspired to get out of my comfort zone and create a piece based on the instructions in her book. While her recommended media is paint, I decided to try her style in the form of embroidery.

I was especially attracted to her take on mermaids, and thought that this sea queen would be a perfect summer project!

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While I was working on this piece I also developed a sketch to get a better grasp of the character. This can be a useful tactic when your subject matter is human or humanoid, and you’re looking to capture a specific persona.

Although tedious, embroidering the scales for the mermaid’s top was also fun and I’m in love with the end result.

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I would definitely recommend Mirtalipova’s book to anyone interested in design, illustration and folklore! I know that for me it definitely proved to be a successful source of inspiration.

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Fantasticly Beastly Niffler Embroidery

Art

It’s been a little while since I’ve shown some Potter love, so today, in celebration of the first book’s 20th anniversary, I’m bringing the love back with one of my latest embroidery pieces.

A while back, I gave you a preview of this little guy and the painstakingly slow process I was undergoing to get him stitched up to completion.

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At this point, I am VERY happy to announce that this embroidery has reached completion and the niffler’s belly and feet are no longer devoid of thread! Despite the amount of time it took to get it done, it was well worth the effort. (It’s pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself).

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I mean, c’mon just look at that face…

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Aside from representing outstanding cuteness, the niffler also stands as a reminder to the future of the Potter universe. Those of you who, like me, grew up with this story know that it is so much more than just a book series; it’s an artifact of our childhood. For me, it’s also been a constant source of inspiration ‚Äď showing me that magic is real in friendship, love and story.

It’s also amazing to see the love so strong after 20 years, with young fans all over the world now enjoying these books and films the same way that we did, as if they were just now being released for the first time all over again.

Here’s to the last 20 years and the future that Fantastic Beasts will bring us!

Embroidering Elsa’s Coronation Dress

Art

Those of your who follow me on Instagram received a subtle preview to the piece that I am featuring¬†today.¬†Although we’ve seen a few 70 degree days over the past couple of weeks, Upstate New York is witnessing a resurgence of winter, with this weekend being particularly frigid, heralding sub-zero temperatures. With bone chilling winds blustering outside, what better time to share my latest Frozen-inspired piece?

This winter, when I was feeling particularly tired post-Christmas, I was looking for a simple, quick project to keep my hands busy as I recovered from the holidays and put more serious thought into what my next piece would be.

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Thinking about textiles and re-representing them in textile art, I decided to do an embroidery piece based on Elsa’s coronation dress from Disney’s Frozen (because, let’s face it, we all know I love that movie and it is great inspiration for winter).

The design and color palette of her dress is simple, refined and very-much Scandinavian, and the design found on the bodice embodies those traits. I wanted my simple embroidery piece to be much the same.


When starting this embroidery, I didn’t have any fabric on hand that was the same color as Elsa’s dress. No matter! I wanted to make the piece mine after all. Instead of using the dark turquoise color, I landed on a light blue before free-hand drawing the design on with a ballpoint pen.

After that, it was a matter of filling the piece in with corresponding colors.

Feminine with allusions to both winter and spring, I’m hoping this is the last cold-weather inspired artwork that I will be sharing for a while!

Fantastic Beasts Embroidery

Art

This week’s post was delayed due to a last-minute business trip across the country (more on that later). In the meantime, I’d like to share with you an insight to my newest fiber art piece.

I recently drew a pen sketch of the Niffler from Fantastic Beasts but couldn’t resist further exploring the imagery of this animal, depicting it in freestyle embroidery. The creature’s furry coat is proving to be a lot of fun, as I’ve been using different variations of grey and brown cotton to produce the platypus-mole aesthetic.

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Stay tuned for the finished product!

Snowman Embroidery

Art, DIY

This winter, I set about making my first snowman-inspired embroidery, inspired by the idea of making my grandmother a homemade gift.

Growing up, like most children, I was quite the expert in homemade gifts, constantly gifting my family members with the crafts and artwork I labored over in school and during my free time.

I’m happy to say my craftsmanship has improved quite a bit over the last 15+ years or so, but my desire to give homemade gifts has remained the same. Knowing that my grandmother would appreciate a handmade gift the most, I set about creating this embroidery for her in late November.

 

The process started out much the same as my other pieces, beginning with some google research (imagery inspiration is so important) and moving on to a pen sketch on fabric. When designing this piece, I knew I didn’t want to go too big (I was working on a limited time frame) but I also knew that it had to be big enough to make for a substantial gift. Not to mention a larger piece allows for more intricate details.

Another design decision that had to be made was whether or not I wanted to embroider snow falling in the background. While French knot snowflakes would have furthered the piece’s sense of whimsy, I ultimately decided against them, not wanting to distract from the main element and focus (the snowman). With the design being so clean, I decided against the clutter of snowfall.

 

After filling in all of the colors and patterns, I framed the piece and tied a festive blue ribbon onto the fastening, allowing the artwork to be easily hung. Although the snowman in the drawing is wearing Christmas colors, I designed him with the intention of being left out all winter, knowing that my grandparents would want to enjoy him all season, as opposed to only one month during the year.

While I’m in no hurry to embroider another snowman any time soon, I’m happy to report that the gift went over extraordinarily well! Having been the person who first got me hooked on embroidery, I know my grandmother was able to appreciate¬†the time and effort put into each and every one of the¬†countless stitches.

Capturing Everyday Magic: Snowflake Embroidery

Art, Inspiration

Most of us can remember making snowflakes when we were children, frantically cutting geometric shapes out of pieces of paper and hanging them throughout our childhood homes.

Still entranced by snowflakes as an adult, I decided to bring snowflake art to the next level, completing this freestyle hand embroidery inspired by the movie Frozen.

 

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This piece, while differing greatly from my usual subject matter with its focus on pattern, was very relaxing to work on. After drawing the outline in pen, I then worked very methodically: filling in one piece at a time, following with the corresponding sections in the other five points.

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As of late, I’ve been using my embroidery pieces to capture the idea of every day magic. Objects or occurrences that occur in nature (or perhaps they’re believable enough that they¬†just might) that possess a fantastical or magical quality.

I was inspired by the Frozen snowflake in particular, as it is used as a symbol of Elsa’s powers and magical abilities.¬†¬†The snowflake’s design represents the power of strong colors and geometric shapes, and their ability to transform something created by nature into something otherworldly and beautiful.

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Greatly pleased with the outcome, I plan on framing this piece and hanging it with the rest of my holiday decor this Christmas season.

Getting Excited for “Beauty and the Beast”

Art, Inspiration, Pop Culture

This past week, the internet has been losing its mind and weeping tears of joy over the recently-released, exclusive photographs of the upcoming live-action film Beauty and the Beast.

Released by Entertainment Weekly, the photographs capture the magic that the mass audience has hoped and dreamed would encapsulate this visual retelling of the much-loved, classic story.

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Needless to say, Disney lovers are much anticipating the March 17 release date, unable to contain their enthusiasm as they count down the days.

Unsurprising perhaps to most of my readers, I happen to be among this crowd and plan on seeing the¬†film in theater.To showcase my excitement, I’m sharing my most recent hand embroidery, an original piece inspired by this upcoming film.

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Featuring the enchanted rose that is often used to symbolize the Beauty and the Beast story, the embroidery is constructed of running stitches, back stitches and french knots, and completed in a hand-drawn style, similar to some of the other hand-embroidered pieces that I have shared in the past.

Due to the style, the piece was relatively quick in the making, taking approximately two weeks from start to finish.

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So while we Disney fans still have another four months of waiting to overcome, there is a lot to be said of the inspiration that is created by anticipation.

In other words, expect to see another Beauty-inspired piece from me before the film hits theaters!

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Anchors (Stolen) Away

Art

As the summer comes to a close, I’m pleased to be ending my summer-inspired embroideries on a high note.

Looking to create unique and naturally whimsical pieces, I came across the idea of incorporating an anchor into one of my embroideries, a visual element that is timeless and as of late, quite popular. With mysterious tentacles closing in from both directions, I hoped for this piece to be colorful and fun.

Sketching for a new #embroidery piece #fiberart #embroideryart #drawingwiththread #nautical

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After completing the initial sketch, I spent the next five weeks filling in the space with colors, enjoying the contrast between the anchor and its thieves. Aside from the stark color difference found between the blues and reds, there is also a strong contrast between the organic nature of the tentacles and the solid foundation of the piece, the anchor.

I’m a strong believer in contrast and find it worth experimenting with multiple contrasting elements in a single piece.

Overall, I’m very pleased with this piece and can well imagine it hanging next to my last embroidery, “Mushrooms.”

While the summer may be coming to a close, I know that my embroidery production is not. I look forward to fall inspiration and adding to this “Naturally Whimsical” series!

Mushroom Embroidery

Art

I’ve been working on this piece for an embarrassingly long time. But as I’ve mentioned before, hand embroidery tends to be slow going.

Having done a lot of pop-culture inspired art this past year, I was looking to create something more natural and organic.That being said, I still wanted to focus on imagery that would be fun and unique, able to hold my attention for the many weeks¬†I knew it would take to complete. I’ve always enjoyed mushroom imagery but had yet to create an embroidery piece. This seemed like as good a time as any.

After doing a little bit of research, I was able to find images of mushrooms of all different shapes and colors, and arranged the composition so that the hues would be well-balanced across the hoop.

After completing the initial sketch, I made small notes to myself so I would remember which colors were to be filled into which designated areas. This can be a useful tactic, especially when working on a piece that you know will take you a significant amount of time. If you no longer are in possession of the reference images, you want to remember your initial color plan.

Sketching a new #embroidery. #mushrooms #fiberart

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Once I had finished embroidering the mushrooms, it was time to focus on the surrounding area. I decided to add moss under the mushrooms, grounding them in the designated embroidery hoop space.

Similar to what I had done with the spots on the red mushroom, I used French knots to create texture that would mimic moss. Although time consuming and daunting to some, I absolutely adore French knots. They proved to be especially useful in this particular situation, providing the texture I desired.

Although time consuming, I am extraordinarily pleased with how this piece turned out. Bright, fun, organic and original, it was well worth the wait.

I See the (Embroidered) Light

Art, Pop Culture

You know that scene in Tangled when Rapunzel and Flynn Rider are on the boat during the festival of lanterns and Disney, yet again in true-Disney fashion, inspires you and makes you feel like a kid again? Of course you do. Or, at least you do if you’ve ever seen the movie.

If not, here’s a 3 second recap to catch you up to speed:

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Probably the best-loved scene in the movie.

Inspired by this scene I decided to approach the lantern imagery from a graphic stand point and reproduce it in a nontraditional medium. I wished to recreate a lantern in fiber, specifically embroidery.

This is what that process looked like:

  1. I began by creating a quick sketch with pen on white cotton.
  2. Then, I started filling in the colors with embroidery floss using hand embroidery.
  3. Next, I painted in the background with acrylic paint. This is what the piece looked like following one layer of paint, but thought this was too boring.

Rather then having a static background, I decided to add lanterns in the distance. This is how the piece ended up:


In the future I think it would be fun to sew my own lantern and use wire to make it three dimensional. I will have to keep you posted if and when I decide to try this out!