Spanish artist Nuria Riaza uses bright blue ballpoint ink to create drawings of segmented faces and other surreal scenes, pieces that capture an expressive detail most would not associate with the everyday office supply. Riaza has been attracted to the medium since she was five or six, and fully dedicated herself to working with ballpoint pens since she was around 21-years-old.
The process is one of her favorite aspects of the medium, losing herself in the many hours it takes to finish each drawing. In addition to the blue ink, Riaza sometimes incorporates embroidery to give a warmth to the work, adding small details of gold or red thread to emphasize the surreal qualities of specific drawings. Despite branching out to experiment with other mediums, these elements are only ever a small part of her practice, ballpoint pen continuing to serve as her main inspiration.
“I recommend that you try and use the pen as something more than a writing tool—to eat it as if it were a toothpick, to make fake tattoos with it, to use them as rollers in your hair, and to draw a lot,” says Riaza in her artist statement. “It’s something almost therapeutic, like how people draw mandalas, and you learn that the mistakes are also beautiful on paper.”
You can see more of her blue drawings and peaks into future projects on her Instagram. (via Creators Project)
Artist Justyna Wołodkiewicz mixes embroidery with abstract clay forms in order to produce three-dimensional works that spring from traditional hoops. The pieces weave together bold threads with equally bright polymer clay shapes, creating multi-textured surfaces from the diverse materials.
The artist typically starts with a miniature sketch before embarking on molding the clay structures she wishes to include in each piece, stitching the final clay works into the surface of the embroidered hoop. Wołodkiewicz sells her works on her Etsy shop “Nibyniebo” which means “just like the sky.” You can see more of her sculptural embroidery on her Instagram and Facebook. (via Colossal Submissions)
Warsaw-based embroidery artist Paulina Bartnik stitches colorfully lifelike brooches of birds and other tiny creatures in a dense style called needle painting. Each object begins as a piece of wool which she prods with a special needle in a process called dry felting which results in a surface ideal for embroidery. She then paints with a needle directly on the felt and embroiders the finer details. You can see more of her creations in her Etsy shop. (via Bored Panda)
Fashion model and embroidery artist Sheena Liam hand sews images of women whose hair seems to gracefully dangle from each of her 2D surfaces, Liam using black thread as a substitute for her subjects’ long locks. The works are all completed and displayed on embroidery hoops, with hair styles extending from the women in french braids, messy buns, and long ponytails. In one particular design, tiny pieces of thread are seen attached to the wall below the hoop, creating the illusion that the embroidered woman above is messily trimming her bangs.
Liam creates relatable, solitary moments within each hand sewn hoop. You can see more of her elegant designs, as well as snapshots from her travels, on her Instagram. (via Teen Vogue)
Iranian artist Maryam Ashkanian embroiders individuals deep in sleep onto the surface of her handmade pillows, matching the size of her subjects to the area one would physically occupy if they took a nap on her work. The stitched sleepers lay sprawled in different configurations on the white background, some with their arms outstretched, whiles others hold them tucked into their bodies. These sculptures are a way to access the wide subject matter of dreams, a place where Ashkanian feels we can observe ourselves in one of the purest forms. You can see more of her sculptures on her Instagram and Twitter. (via Ignant)
Moscow-based embroidery artist Lisa Smirnova (previously here and here) continues to stitch beautifully rich illustrations of people, capturing the subtle details of eyes, hair, and shadows, thread by thread. Smirnova brings an almost painterly quality to her embroideries that are each infused with bright splashes of color and occasional patchworks of materials. Collected here are a number of pieces from the last year or so, but you can find additional recent projects on Behance.