I’m not the handiest with a needle and thread. I did take a sewing class in high school where I made a pretty sweet potholder and I’ve even sewn a small quilt, but at the end of the day I still ask my mom to hem my pants for me. My greatest textile accomplishment is probably a 6-8″ diameter cross-stitch carousel horse which I’m sure took well over a year of off-and-on interest to complete.
To the point, I am extremely impressed with needlework, cross-stitch, and overall textile arts because they require such patience and endurance. There is no copy-paste shortcut or HTML code which leads the designer to the final product – every stitch is crossed and knot is tied by hand. These two ladies have enriched their graphic design/illustration backgrounds by incorporating an unexpected technique, and the results are beautiful.
Evelin Kasikov is a graphic designer and illustrator who combined her knowledge of printing color models with a love of crafting to develop a unique CMYK cross-stitch technique. A printer creates images by layering pixels of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black ink in specific locations and densities on paper and our eyes interpret these as various shades, similar to how television and computer screens mix combinations of Red, Green, and Blue light.
Evelin’s work is much more impressive and design-y than my cross-stitch carousel horse could ever hope to be, and I really love how she has integrated a digital graphic concept (CMYK pixels) and a love of typography with an extremely time-consuming and tactile craft. She has done editorial work for some big names like Kate Spade (image above) and the Guardian, as well as individual work for exhibits and publications.
She blocks out the colors on the computer, determines the CMYK values, and then translates this into a grid of overlapping and rotating CMYK X’s. With a palette of only 4 colors, Evelin is capable of creating any shade under the sun and I’ll bet she’s a lot more fun to hang out with than an Epson printer.
Jillian Tamaki is an also illustrator who has been known to dabble in textile and embroidery. What first began as a learning process and side project (the Monster Quilt) led to a commission with Penguin Books to embroider book covers for three classics – Emma, the Secret Garden, and Black Beauty.
Jillian entered into the world of illustration in the hopes of doing books, and she found that her childhood interest of quilting really complemented her illustration style. Though the embroidery is time-consuming and laborious, she enjoyed the freedom of taking on a project like this, especially when she had connections with the selected stories.
In a day and age when books and other publications are abandoning their paper roots to go digital, publishers are always looking for new ways to emphasize the tactile qualities of physical books. Penguin creative director Paul Buckley says packaging and graphics are the way to go to engage readers and get them to pick those books up off the shelf. Before launching Penguin Threads, they also produced a series of tattoo-esque classics under the name Penguin Ink and a gold-foil Fitzgerald series.
I mean, who can say no to a Gothic Bridget Jones?