Welcome to the Cutting (& Stitching) Edge, where we showcase people whose embroidered creativity is fresh and new!
Annalisa Bollini is a Freelance Illustrator based in Turin, Italy. I first discovered Annalisa’s work over on Instagram where she has gained a huge and well-deserved following. It was a pleasure to interview her and learn more about the inspiration behind her illustrative story-telling textiles.
How did your technique evolve?
When I studied at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in the USA I remembered the deep “art and craft” culture I found there. It was so widespread and popular that the art supplies shops were full of everything you could imagine to create everything you wanted from scratch. Experimenting was natural and so easy that for the first time, I ended up using a thread in one of my illustration projects.
Threads have been part of my life since I was a child because my mom was used to making quite a lot of wool sweaters by knitting and I’ve spent hours looking at her fast hands that magically transformed threads in clothing. So the choice of learning the basics of embroidery to illustrate stories has come quite easily.
Working with embroidery is always a discovery for me because every stitch and every thread has a particular graphic potentiality and it’s always exciting to find and combine every single element in order to create the right outlines and the perfect filling.
The possibilities are quite endless because embroidery is a never-ending source of innovation and it’s also very suitable for mixing different techniques, like collage and painting.
Where do you think your creativity is taking you?
Personally, I think creativity is a way to really know who you are and I hope my creativity is always going to take myself to a next level of consciousness in order to continue expressing my inner universe in the most honest way possible.
What other artists inspire you?
I take inspiration from artists who work with different mediums. I find Pascal Monteil’s embroideries so fascinating because they can tell complex stories and they are so dense of colours and use thick wool threads that seem like paintings.
Rasa Vil’s masks are so magical and poetic that they seem to come from afar or ready to be worn on a different planet.
I love Marion Fayolle’s illustrations because they are visual poems full of life and surrealism and I’m always looking forward to seeing which new world the duo Icinori is able to realise.
What is your favourite tool to use in your practice?
An embroidery hoop is a necessary tool in my practice, it’s indispensable to be fast and to maintain the canvas stretched.
But I think my favourite tool are scissors, the stork ones. They are a traditional embroidery tool but I used them to cut the pieces of paper I glue on the canvas. They have the perfect shape and they are manageable enough to obtain very tiny pieces.
Can you share one creative tip with our readers?
Even if you usually work digitally try to also work manually, maybe during the planning stage, because I’m truly convinced that tools and mediums can always suggest something new to the hands. There’s a kind of strange communication between them and you can always learn something unexpected through your hands So my tip is: get your hands dirty!
That last piece of advice by Annalisa is what resonates with me the most. Using your traditional tools and using your hands is such an informative part of the creative process and is important even for those working digitally. The tactile nature of these tools is what helps to inform the process of creation, and connects us to an almost primal way of working.
It is incredible to see an artist pushing the boundaries of textile creation, combining formal training in illustration with multiple different mediums and materials – it is this experimentation that really gives life to Annalisa’s work. There are always new things to create and discover when you are completely open to new tools.
You can follow Annalisa on Instagram, and shop her creations over on her Etsy Page.