craftiness, Inspirations, uber embroiderers

über embroiderers: Chloe Giordano

Chloe Giordano

I’m trying to keep up a sort of regular ‘feature’ on über embroiderers on The Smallest Forest: These are the big kids, the crème de la crème, the leet of needle and thread…that runts like me long to play with, but will never even exist in the same universe with. *stabs herself with a #24 chenille* Oh, crewel world!

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Chloe Giordano

Admiring Chloe Giordano’s fine handiwork this morning: delicate little animals rendered in minute embroidery stitches and subtle colors, miniature 3D forms that don’t sacrifice any detail or cut corners in the making. They are quite dazzling, in a calm and self-possessed way…the mark of a professional.

Chloe is an illustrator, like many of the über embroiderers I’ve featured here, and I continue to be intrigued by the slightly different ‘feel’ of embroidered works produced by artists who have come to the craft from some other area of the visual arts, using thread and stitches as though they were paints and pens. Their work seems to be less constrained by the rules that one tends to follow when trained strictly as an embroiderer. I like the freedom with which these visual artists manipulate thread, and the expressiveness that their stitches have. I’ve also noticed that they tend to stick to simple stitches…no fancy, exotic knotted and looped moves that stand out on the fabric.

In traditional embroidery it sometimes seems that the medium is the message and not a lot of imagination or creativity goes into the actual design (pay a visit to the craft pavilion at any Royal Show and you will see the judges flipping fairly boring embroidery designs over to inspect and fuss over the threadwork on the back). These contemporary approaches to the craft allow the subject to shine, and have stitching play a supporting role (not that any of this nitpicking matters, they are all beautiful, wonderful, and our lives could use more of both approaches!)

Here’s a portion of the brief FAQ on her blog page:

How did you learn to embroider/sew?

I’ve learned mostly from trial and error, usually I’ll draw out what I want to sew first and try to work out in the sketch how I would stitch to get the effect I want. I also try to look at work I admire and figure out how they did it – this especially helpful when I’m working on something 3D

How long does a piece take you?

Anything from a couple of days to 2-3 weeks. Usually the planning stage takes the most time, once I’ve got everything hammered out the actual sewing doesn’t take long.

What materials do you use?

I mostly sew on an off white calico, if its dyed I use powder dyes. Generally I used embroidery thread for text and sewing thread for everything else, but it’s not set in stone.

Where/what did you study?

I studied Illustration at the University of the West of England, in Bristol.

Have a look at Chloe’s Tumblr, and keep an eye on her (hopefully only momentarily empty) ETSY shop  for more work by this sensitive and soulful young artist.

Found via Mr X Stitch

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uber embroiderers: Jazmin Berakha

uber embroiderers: Jazmin Berakha

über embroiderers: Tilleke Schwarz

über embroiderers: Tilleke Schwarz

über embroiderers: Maricor/Maricar

über embroiderers: Maricor/Maricar

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craftiness, Inspirations, uber embroiderers

über embroiderer : : Mister Finch

Textile Toadstool by Mister Finch

These are the big kids, the superstars, the crème de la crème, the leet of needle and thread…

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You know, I wish I could start this post with “I’m jealous of Mister Finch…” because I am, I really am, but that opening line is totally the domain of The Jealous Curator, who has the best artist feature blog name and trademark opening line in the world.

So I will have to content myself with telling you that I am dumbfounded by Mister Finch’s delicate and slightly dark or melancholy textile creatures.

I’m a bit late to the party—these days, his beautiful furry moths, bumble bees, poor little dead birds, awesome spiders, and his frilled and rustic mushrooms are finding their way into Anthropologie stores and Selvedge magazine. He’s a stitching superstar, baby, and many of you have probably seen his breathtakingly beautiful work before, on less gawky blogs than mine.

Not me. I was just doing a routine internet search for fabric fish, because I’m currently designing my own pattern for a stuffed fish and wanted to see what had been done on the subject, how people had tackled details like fins or gusseted heads. Somewhere amongst all the dross I caught sight of some dreamy, iridescent fish that seemed far better than all the rest of the cartoonish fish out there, and I followed the image to Mister Finch’s web portfolio.

Soft Sculpture Fish Made From Textiles and Translucent Plastic

His many, many wonderful fabric sculptures make me so very happy—I’m delighted simply that he is there, with all his genius for making patterns of three-dimensional forms (and an impeccable eye for decorative detail), his devotion to perfection and to getting things exactly right, his uncompromising dedication to pushing the made object so that it realises the artistic vision—they also make me green with envy, but I will master that unworthy and self-destructive feeling!

More impossibly, he’s also very cute. AND he’s penned a sweet, funny little “About” page that makes me wish he were my brother, or at least somebody I could send postcards to, and who would send postcards back.

My name is Finch – it’s actually my surname… everyone calls me it and I like it.
I’ve called my business Mister Finch so its clear from the start that I’m a man and one that sews.

We are a bit thin on the ground but we are out there!

You couldn’t possibly move to see his portfolio quickly enough…it’s a feast for both senses and sensibilities. He also keeps a blog, and an ETSY shop (probably never stocked with creations for long, his pieces must fly out the door as soon as they are posted, and it’s no wonder, really.) Tarry not here! Go, quickly! You must meet the fabulous Mister Finch!


Have you seen my other Über Embroiderer posts?

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Inspirations, uber embroiderers

More Jazmin Berakha brilliance!

New work on her blog! Jazmin Berakha’s style is slowly evolving over time…there’s a lot of her signature style in these embroideries, but she’s also introducing new things, like the use of black fabric instead of white, and representing hair as a peppering, a rainshowering of white stitches.

I love and respect her technically accomplished stitching, which is flawless as well as beautiful. She’s been featured as an über embroiderer on this blog before, but every time she does something new I have to gush about it.

See a third piece (and take the time to look at her past embroideries, too!) over on Jazmin’s blog.

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craftiness, Inspirations, uber embroiderers

über embroiderers: Emily Barletta

These are the big kids, the superstars, the crème de la crème, the leet of needle and thread…

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I think everyone has seen the work of Emily Barletta, as she has been posting progress photos of these pieces throughout the project.

Emily Barletta has just updated her website, with all new works on paper, and I just had to spread the love a little further. Most of you have seen these before, Emily has been posting them on her blog as she completed them, and a few other craft and stitching sites have featured her, as well. But I want to feature her, anyway, because the category “über embroiderers” would be half empty without her. In case you haven’t seen them before, feast your eyes on these beauties.

Droplets of oil on water. Cross-sections of malachite and other semi-precious stones. The veins in coral or the patterns on feathers. In them I see endless organic patterns, the sort you find when you get really close to bits of surrounding nature.

I think my most burning question for Emily is “How do you reinforce the paper so that you can place the stitches so close together?” Do you think there’s fabric on the back of the paper? Something to think about.

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uber embroiderers: Jazmin Berakha

uber embroiderers: Jazmin Berakha

über embroiderers: Tilleke Schwarz

über embroiderers: Tilleke Schwarz

über embroiderers: Maricor/Maricar

über embroiderers: Maricor/Maricar

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craftiness, Inspirations, uber embroiderers

über embroiderers: Kimika Hara

I’m trying to keep up a sort of regular ‘feature’ on über embroiderers on The Smallest Forest: These are the big kids, the crème de la crème, the leet of needle and thread…that runts like me long to play with, but will never even exist in the same universe with. *stabs herself with a #24 chenille* Oh, crewel world!

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squirrel

Japanese artist Kimika Hara’s work is an embroiderer’s eye-candy x a hundred. She uses simple stitches and raw-edged appliqué of commercial fabrics, but her color palette and the cute subjects she depicts blow her pieces out of the water of ordinary embroidery and into über gorgeousness.

What can I say? That I’m jealous of her? That, one again, an über embroiderer has left me feeling hopelessly redundant? That I’m torn between feeling so inspired by these embroideries, and hating them for being so awesome? That I have to exert tremendous willpower not to grab a needle, some thread, and surreptitiously imitate her fabulous style? Yes, all these things.

These images defeat me, and she doesn’t write too much about herself on the internet, so I’ll stop here and let you get on with admiring these pieces.

Be sure to check out her Flickr Photostream, and her website, for many more images that will make you alternate between squeeing and groaning…

fishhananuguri

bird and fruits

flora

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uber embroiderers: Jazmin Berakha

uber embroiderers: Jazmin Berakha

über embroiderers: Tilleke Schwarz

über embroiderers: Tilleke Schwarz

über embroiderers: Maricor/Maricar

über embroiderers: Maricor/Maricar

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amazing people, Inspirations, uber embroiderers

über embroiderers : : Maricor/Maricar

I’m trying to keep up a sort of regular ‘feature’ on über embroiderers on The Smallest Forest: These are the big kids, the crème de la crème, the leet of needle and thread…that runts like me long to play with, but will never even exist in the same universe with…

Not necessarily technical virtuosos or professional embroiderers, but artists who do strange, new and wonderfully unusual things with embroidery…creativity, concept, media, message. Just…different, somehow.

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Maricor / Maricar have done it again. Hong Kong Airport commissioned them to do billboard graphics celebrating the food of the world. The word “Delicious” is spelled out in different languages, the letters made up of images of the foods from that particular region.

The über embroiderers designed these whimsical letter forms in various alphabets, and then stitched them up beautifully. The colors and clever play between images of yummy things and letter forms is a real treat for the senses. Impeccable work, as usual, ladies!

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Inspirations, uber embroiderers

über embroiderers: Max Colby

detail of Role-Play by Max Colby

I’m trying to keep up a sort of regular ‘feature’ on über embroiderers on The Smallest Forest: These are the big kids, the crème de la crème, the leet of needle and thread…that runts like me long to play with, but will never even exist in the same universe with. *stabs herself with a #24 chenille* Oh, crewel world!

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Where are all these really fantastic male embroiderers coming from? It’s as though there were some secret monastery in the hinterlands of, say, Romania, where men are being taught to master the sorts of things that women used to learn in convent schools a hundred years ago (but no more).

You know what? I don’t think I’ll say anything at all about Max Colby’s hand embroideries (and some fabric, mixed-media collages) on collagraph prints (on handmade paper). His work takes me out of this world, it’s just so…ah, heck, go have a look for yourself. I sit here trembling with excitement, joy, and wonder…but also (I’ll be honest) with a touch of unease and miserable yearning. This guy is good. Really good.

But enough. His website and his blog are choc full of printmaking prowess and embroidered tremendousness, and I am impatient to put this post up now, so that I can go and look at more of his art. I’ll probably run into a few of you there!

On his website, his biography reads:

Max Colby is a mixed-media artist currently working in Boston, MA. He is a self-taught tailor and fibers artist with a formal background in printmaking and papermaking. By utilizing extravagant embellishments and applications in conjunction with fragile and dwindling figures both ephemeral (print) and physical (sculptural), the stress of Max’s work is placed on external manifestations of identity construction as a highly performative act. In 2012, Max received a BFA with a concentration in printmaking and papermaking from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

installation of "Role-Play: Microscopic Views" by Max Colby

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