Traditional handiwork skills such as weaving, embroidery, knitting and crochet are making a comeback. It’s not hard to understand why. The more our hands are confined to the movements of swiping or tapping our smartphones, the more they yearn for the movements that they evolved for, over hundreds of thousands of years. Hands are capable of so much more than the mindless movement of scrolling down a screen. To give you a glimpse of just how much our hands are capable of, here are 8 fiber artists who excel in their respective niches, from shibori indigo dyeing to extreme knitting to felting.
PEPA MARTIN & KAREN DAVIS – SYDNEY AUSTRALIA – SHIBORI INDIGO DYERS
Shibori is an ancient Japanese dyeing technique that involves twisting or folding fabric and then dyeing it with indigo to create beautiful patterns. Pepa Martin and Karen Davis are the co-owners of Shibori textiles, a boutique textile agency, where they use this technique to create stunning fabrics for your home, or even your closet! To get started in this technique, have a look at this great tutorial post from the Design Sponge here.
JACQUI FINK – SYDNEY AUSTRALIA – EXTREME KNITTER
Jacqui Fink of the Little Dandelion has taken knitting to a whole new level. An extreme level. Knitting stitches are blown off of the scale in her beautiful works of art, making us rethink what knitting is supposed to look like. She teaches workshops on extreme knitting, inspiring others to take their knitting to new heights. Looking at her pieces makes me feel as if I’m looking through a magnifying glass, and makes me appreciate the texture and feel of the fibers used to make the overall fabric, just as much (if not more) than the fabric itself. To put it briefly, it forces me to change my perspective, and I like that. Follow her gorgeous Instagram feed for even more extreme knitting inspiration.
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This Sandra from the Netherlands taking on the dual challenge of basket weave and a looser tension. #K1S1 #knit #knitting #knitoneshareone #extremeknitting #workshop #craft #handmade #diy #teacher #wool #merino #quality #throws #theschool #knittersofinstagram #instaknit #sydney ##littledandelion
KAREN BARBE – SANTIAGO CHILE – TEXTILE DESIGNER
When I first stumbled across Karen Barbe’s blog, I practically drooled scrolling through the photos! Karen has an eye for colour – and it shows. Her photography and styling is simply stunning. If my photos could turn out even half as visually appealing as hers do, I’d consider myself set! Hailing from Chile, her blog is in both Spanish and English and features fun and easy tutorials that will have you stitching in no time. Get started with embroidery by following her easy how-to tutorial to replicate these beautiful wooden bowls here.
MORGAN OF THREAD THEORY – VANCOUVER ISLAND, CANADA – SEWING MENSWEAR
I first discovered the Thread Theory blog shortly after making a fairly significant purchase: that brand new sewing machine that, even two years later, is still brand new (because it has yet to be used). This uncomfortable fact should be changing shortly, as I plan on getting my sewing room set up and started by the end of the next month (now you guys can hold me accountable 😉 ).
The Thread Theory blog piqued my interest for a few reasons.
- They distinguish themselves by focusing on a very underserved niche in the crafting industry: menswear;
- Their blog features beautiful patterns and crystal clear tutorials for us sewing beginners; and
- They are based out of Vancouver Island! Which makes us practically neighbours. 🙂
Also, although Morgan’s main focus is menswear, she recently released a beautiful pattern for women’s trousers! Aren’t they gorgeous?
CINDY BOKSER – NEW JERSEY, USA – MACRAME ARTIST AND WEAVER
Cindy Bokser of Niroma Studio provides custom one-of-a-kind macrame designs as well as hosts workshops for others wanting to get in on the fun! Up until now, Macrame has never even crossed my mind as something I’ve wanted to try, but after stumbling across her site I think I may have to reconsider …
Just look at all this loveliness!
KRISTINE VEJAR – CALIFORNIA, USA – NATURAL DYER
Natural dyeing is definitely next up on my bucket list of things to try in 2017 (okay, after sewing, and advanced brioche, and knitwear design, but still).
Kristine Vejar is inspiring modern crafters everywhere to try their hand at natural dyeing. Her book, The Modern Natural Dyer*, is one of the reasons I’ve been wanting to get into natural dyeing in the first place! I’ve already ordered her book online and am anxiously awaiting its arrival!
ALEXANDRA TAVEL – NYC, USA – MODERN KNITTER AND CROCHETER
Alexandra launched her knitwear design company, the Two of Wands, back in 2014, and it has been growing in success ever since. Her pieces are modern, chic and fun to wear, and she also provides patterns for each piece she creates. She has a collection of great tutorials on her website aimed at the beginner knitter and crocheter, so if you haven’t yet made the leap into either of those categories, there’s no more excuses!
To get started in crochet, try your hand with this gorgeous easy scarf pattern (and it’s free!).
VESELKA OF LITTLE HERB BOUQUET – MUNICH, GERMANY – EMBROIDERY AND FELT ARTIST
Veselka of Little Herb Bouquet specializes in creating one-of-a-kind works of art inspired by homegrown veggies. When I first saw one of her posts on Instagram, I did a double take – I was sure the carrot was the real thing and she had used it as a prop next to her embroidery hoop! Only by reading the word ‘felted carrot’ did I realize that she had made the carrot out of fiber as well. It is astonishing how life-like we can make things to appear using fiber!
P.S. I’d love to hear about your favorites in the comments below! Also, over the course of writing this post, I came across just so many inspiring fiber artists that it was impossible to fit them all in! Stay tuned for a part ii post in the near future :).
*P.P.S. The link the Modern Dyer book above is an affiliate link, meaning that if you click on it and then purchase the book through the link, I will make a small commission! Thank you for your support :).