*cough cough* Hello… do you all still remember me? It is I Loadofolbobbins returned after a self-imposed sabbatical from treating you lovely lot to a monthly dose of needlecraft creativity on Etsy. I’m sure I’m not alone in having quite an eventful year, mine started with a rather dramatic tripping on a step and head butting a wall, word to the wise this hurts! Needless to say, it rather took the wind out of my sails and I decided to give myself a break and rest up; we all need to remember to partake in that oft talked about self-care folks! I’m now tentatively getting back into the swing of things so I come armed with my virtual feather duster to clear the cobwebs that have formed on ‘Exploring Etsy’ over the last few months. Before I introduce you to this month’s featured maker I want to talk a little bit about creative expression, in particular I want to emphasise the point that, despite what you might have been told by someone or maybe even yourself, everyone is creative, there is no ‘correct’ way to make art. The work made by those who’ve had a lifetime of arts education and those who are self-taught is equally inspiring, more than any official qualification a true artist is someone who expresses from an honest and sincere place, be it through a political piece or a piece examining the beauty of a single leaf, both are important and powerful. We’re so conditioned to respond to labels and so much time can be wasted trying to fit things into comfortable little boxes that we forget to really look, so whether you label something as art or craft, if it creates an emotional response in you then it has value. This month’s featured maker Goga L has never been formally trained, but I’m sure you’ll all agree that means diddly squat when creating beautiful work, which she most certainly does and some of it can be seen in her shop ‘Yellow Tulip Crafts’.
Goga has always had the need to make things, customising was always of particular interest, including replacing buttons on a newly bought coat when she was younger, covering mirror frames and even pieces of furniture with fabric. About 15 years ago she discovered a group of young textile artists who were using embroidery in a completely new and different way, free from all the standard rules. Finding embroidered porcelain cups or installations of embroidered wallpapers was what triggered that ‘something’ in her and started her embroidering illustrations of interiors – “interiors were always my thing” – she’s slowly introduced florals too. “I wasn’t aware at the time that this would develop into something more serious for me. Once I had decided to stop pursuing a career in teaching, I knew I had found my calling, something I should have been doing all those years….”
What is your earliest stitching memory?
I lived surrounded by very creative women, our house was full of heirlooms, handmade laces made by my grandmother, handwoven textiles etc. at one point my mum was obsessed with embroidery and that’s how I made my first piece when I was eleven years old.
What fires your imagination?
With all certainty, colour is the biggest influence. It doesn’t have to be the shape of a beautiful flower or just the beauty of a painting. A particular shade of a colour will do the trick!! Or being surrounded by beautiful decorative objects, welcoming interior spaces, an exhibition, textiles with colours and patterns to die for. I don’t need more. Apparently I go for bold and bright colours, the opposites of the colours I wear, that’s something I learned, that I love colour. I like to use my embroidery in a painterly way, my stitches are not perfect, but I see them as my brush strokes and try to leave them as they are. When creating interiors I love mixing watercolours with the embroidery thread, it gives me the desired lightness and the 3D effect of the captured space. It is worth mentioning the series called #instagraminspiredinteriors, I make the embroidered versions of rooms I choose from the many accounts that I follow there.
Speaking of colour, I think Goga has a superb eye for it, her combinations are stunning. Her interior embroideries have a wonderful sense of place and create such an inviting atmosphere it almost feels like you could step right into them and snuggle up on one of the beautifully stitched chairs. I highly recommend giving yourselves a few minutes to venture over to her shop to enjoy even more of her fabulous stitched creations.
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Welcome to Manbroidery, a series of interviews with men who stitch. This time we interview Walter Bruno Brix who plays with textile illustration to explore history and identity.