Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Desktop Magazine "Neue Folk"

The November issue of Desktop magazine is out now and includes a feature on us as well as a special embossed front cover of one of our embroideries commissioned for the issue. The issue is called Neue Folk and looks at traditional skills and techniques used by designers today. We're very honoured to be included in the issue and share pages with some of our favourite artisan designers such as Will Edmonds and Hannah Waldron.

The cover went through a couple of versions and we must thank Bonnie Abbott for her input who pushed us to experiment more with the analogue glitch effect you see on the front cover. We played around with a similar illustration style for our recent Maps exhibition collateral but with this graphic we really wanted to create a glitch effect with the overlapping patterns and intersecting threads. We've colour mixed in our fabric based embroideries in the past but it was a real challenge achieving a similar effect on paper. Maricor worked on a few tests and luckily came up with a solution that we were both excited with. The bottom three images are detail shots of the physical embroideries showing some of the overlapping stitches we used to create the colour mixing.

The magazine also features an embroidered masthead and shows the front and back of the designs. The issue is available now at newstands/bookstores. Thank you also to Heath Killen, Desktop Magazine's outgoing editor who originally commissioned us.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Art by Design 9

Art by Design is happening again at the Wedge Gallery at Books Kinokuniya here in Sydney. We have a few bits and bobs on display and for sale including this new embroidered monogram which we stitched during our Studio Pop Ups stint at the Powerhouse earlier this year. The exhibition runs now until November 25 and features some very lovely work including paper cuts by Cecilia Mok, cute knitted characters by Jake Henzler and beautiful silk scarves by Happy End Designs.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Plants and things

I started writing this post a few weeks back while we were in the middle of a big (for us) project. I had planned for it to be a bit of a wrap-up of the things that had happened over the months since our last proper post but the original draft doesn't make as much sense now. But to boil it down it was mainly a bit of a guilty whinge about being so busy. Guilty because I always feel a little ungrateful complaining when we're busy with work as goodness knows how anxious we feel when we're not busy! And I seem to have tempted fate. Now that we have a bit of a breather studio-wise we're both back to worrying again. Blerg it's a never ending cycle.

Things that have been making us happy lately though are finishing off the Christmas project that kept us occupied for the last 2 months and occupied a huge chunk of my loungeroom/kitchen. I'm very glad not to be finding gold thread in every nook and cranny now (eg daughter's nappy??). We had very sparkly dust bunnies last month:)

Other things in no specific order:

- Taking part in the Sydney Design Studio Pop Ups at the Powerhouse. This was the first time we'd tried holding a market stall (not counting our garage sales) so it was a huge learning experience for us. It was wonderful demonstrating some embroidery techniques to the people that visited our stall, especially the two young visitors we had who blitzed through the beginner stitches we showed them and were keen to learn more.

- Spending the long weekend up the coast at Smiths Lakes which included a walk across the lake, gourmet breakfasts and meals thanks to our friends, lots of sun and did I mention the breakfasts? It was the first time I'd tried blue cheese french toast, I was a bit dubious at first but was a surprise convert.

- Air plants. If you follow our instagram feed you may have noticed a bit of tillandsia love. Sorry for all the plant posts but we have both become obsessed.  A few weeks back we went to the Mr Kitly x Dagamar Rousset Sydney pop up and added some new plants to our collection. Sadly I showered some of mine with too much love (water) and half of them died of rot. I've learnt my lesson since then and promise to take better care (give them some space) of the new dudes I picked up at the Bromeliad/Tillandsia fair.

- Cactus and Succulents. Sorry more plant talk but the C&S Society are holding their Spring show on the 26th of October and i'm coming prepared with my own box this time. We're working on a flower themed magazine cover at the moment, if i'm not embroidering flowers i'm looking up lithops and tillandsia.

- We're contributing some work to the upcoming Art by Design 9 group show at Wedge Gallery, Kinokuniya. I think the opening night is Oct 31 and t will run until Nov 25.

- An interview and spread in House and Garden as part of their Sister Act article in the October issue. It was lovely meeting Elizabeth who wrote the article and it was a thrill seeing our studio included amongst their beautiful pages. We were madly trying to clean up the house ahead of the shoot but made the rookie mistake of shoving everything under our studio table which inevitably was in frame. We had to haul everything out mid shoot causing a minor dust storm.

- And lastly some very lovely and kind write ups on thisispaper, Kaleidoscope blog and the Fox is Black. Special thank you to Amanda from Kaleidoscope blog who saw us at our first ever talk at Field Trip last year, we were so nervous before and after the talk to watch over the tape of it but since you still wanted to write about us I hope that means we didn't mumble/make an arse of ourselves too much!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Etsy update

Hello! We've just updated our etsy store with some of our original hand embroideries, new giclee prints and embroidered totes and pincushions. There's a mix bunch of lettering pieces as well as the epic battles we created for Pick Me Up London waiting for a lovely new home. Below are some of the new pieces available.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Dream Weavers part II

Sorry forgot to add these process images in the last post. These are from the embroidery stage. Sometimes the backs are just as interesting as the front. The first image is where it all starts, transposing the design by hand onto fabric. It was a bit of an arse to do for this project. Because of the detail in the pattern I had to be quite precise and ended up pinning the fabric to the design so I could be sure the weave matched up. With needlepoint fabric the weave's usually quite clear but we used a fine linen and I nearly went blind and cross-eyed doing it!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dream Weavers

It's been a while since we've posted process but an embroidery project we completed earlier in the year has gone live so I thought now would be a great time to go through a project from sketch to final embroidery. The project was for SHOP magazine and their Madrid and Barcelona shopping guide, which came to us through UK based studio Design by St and our UK illustration agency Handsome Frank. The brief was to create a patterned graphic inspired by the contemporary rug designers based in Madrid and Barcelona that are featured in the issue.

It was a wonderful project that allowed us to play with patterns but was also a little tricky. We knew we had to somehow work the title Dream Weavers into the pattern but we weren't sure how obscure the text could be. The first briefing mentioned perhaps hiding the title within the pattern which we tried to push in some of our earlier concepts but had to bring that back a bit for legibility. In the final design we opted for a traditional sans serif font but used contrasting colours in the stripe design to suggest the type being woven back into the pattern.

You can see two of our first round ideas in the top image, a very rough preliminary sketch next to the final design chosen and lastly the final embroidery. With this project most of the design was worked up in Illustrator with just that rough sketch as guidance for some pattern structures and you might notice a minor difference between the final digital version of the design and the embroidery. We had to undo one panel to help with the legibility of the subline. It was a minor change so no biggie but still makes you wish there was a control Z embroidery equivalent handy!

So that was that project, I hope seeing some of our process is helpful, I know I personally find it fascinating to glimpse into other illustrators/designers/artists/makers process. If you follow us on instagram (maricormaricar) we post up some process/wips/inspiration, much more regularly than we update this blog (sorry it's not as often as we'd like). And i'm also very please to share that Maricor and I are taking part in Studio Pop Ups which is being presented by the Powerhouse Museum as part of Sydney Design 2013. We're not used to holding market type stalls but we'll have a mini version of our studio space set up with some originals and prints on display and for sale. We also have a few bits and bobs we're making for the pop up - some pin cushions made with fabric remnants from our Maps series of patchworks as well as some tote bags we're embellishing with hand embroidery.

There will be pop ups hosted by a nice mix of designers such as Emily Green and Limedrop. More information is up on the Pop Ups page here and it will run from the 15th - 18th August 10am-5pm. We'll have some current projects that we'll work on during the pop up so if you're interested in learning more please pop down for a chat!

Monday, July 15, 2013

MAPS opening

Pheew I'm very pleased to say that our MAPS show is now up at Koskela. True to form there was some last minute up all night nimble needle work to get the last piece finished but it was all worth it. The opening was last weekend but the exhibition runs until August so there's still plenty of time to see it if you're Sydney based. Unfortunately I was in a rush and arrived late to the opening, so was a little frazzled and didn't take any photos on the day. But we did take some photos during the install and will try to get some pics of the show before we take it down. Many thanks to Kate at Koskela and M for all their help measuring out positions, hammering and ladder climbing. Below are the main patchworked wall hangings and the one we've nicknamed the long sock.

There is also a little extra side show in the nook with some of the pieces we created for Pick Me Up earlier in the year. You can see some of the Epic Battles and our Aim to Misbehave piece.

We also had some great write ups on the show on Inside Out magazine's blog, Desktop and Broadsheet Sydney.
PS You can see some more of our workspace ie my lounge room in the Broadsheet Sydney feature.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Maps solo show

We're very excited to invite you to our solo show which is being held at Koskela in July. It will be a little different to the works we've exhibited recently since we wanted to work with new techniques and at a larger scale. The pieces are abstract embroideries and patchworks inspired by our stay in London in 2011. We were fortunate to live just near London Fields park so there were no other high rise buildings for a good distance and living on the 10th floor gave us an amazing panaromic view of London (we were extremely lucky to find that apartment the universe must have thought we were due a break!). Each day and night we were treated to an amazing study of colour through our windows. We tried to document the different coloured skies and the palettes chosen for these new works are based on those photographs. The show opens at Koskela 6 July from 2-3.30pm and runs until the 18th August Koskela // 85 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery, NSW 2018 // 9280 0999. There will be some refreshments and nibbles kindly provided by Koskela/Kitchen by Mike so hope to see you there!

And a few previews..

Thursday, May 23, 2013

New prints on etsy

Hulllooo, just updated our etsy site with some new giclee prints of our Pick Me Up artworks and newly released prints of some oldies but goodies - 'Head Collapse' and 'Macho Distrust'. We're winding down our bigcartel shopfront so please go to our etsy site if you're interested in picking up some prints and original embroideries. We'll have prints of 'Aim to misbehave', 'Stay Golden' plus all the originals soon!

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Prick show

Last weekend with much excitement we headed to a cactus and succulent show. A good friend has gifted us most of our cacti and succulents and got us hooked on them and we were keen to add to our collection. This was our first time going to the show though so we weren't prepared for the awesome amount of weird, spiky, hairy, bulbous specimens on display. I forgot to take the camera so these are just iPhone pics but look at those textures! We also walked around Eden Gardens which hosted the show. It's huuuge and a little overwhelming so I didn't get to look at it all properly but I spotted some lovely patterned leaves.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Twins and needles

If you're based in Australia you may have noticed a pair of similar looking faces peering at you from the Sydney Morning Herald on the weekend, and that would have been us! There was a bit of a write up on us ahead of the West Elm Australian launch this week.

We designed a limited edition tote bag to help celebrate the opening of West Elm along with Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids at a custom built space in Bondi Junction. The design will be translated to a limited run of tote bags that will be given away during their grand opening. We're very excited to be involved and were over the moon when the lovely ladies at Baker asked us if we'd like to collaborate on a custom embroidery, not only because it was an exciting project but also because yay West Elm was coming to Australia. The grand opening is this Thursday. We moved house last year and i've been in major nesting mode since so this could be dangerous!

You can read the article online here

Thursday, April 25, 2013

It's not always sunny, sunny side up.

Hello! We mentioned earlier that we have some new work showing at Pick Me Up London. It's on now at Somerset House and runs until this Sunday the 28th. We really recommend you go visit if you're in London. Not because of us (that would be a bit up ourselves!) but because of all the other great things happening over the three floors. There are live demonstrations and free workshops, fun stalls such as Human After All's "Face Stamp!", an 'ink-teractive' are where you have the opportunity to create your own print using stamps designed by illustrators such as Craig & Karl, Emily Forgot, Malika Favre, Jean Jullien, Supermundane and Hattie Stewart.

More details can be found at Pick Me Up. If you do go and happen to take snaps of our stall we'd love to see them and would be eternally grateful! Unfortunately we couldn't make it so have been suffering from serious FOMO seeing all the amazing pics posted on our twitter and instagram feed.

But just in case you can't get to PMU we created a mini site of the new work. Originals and giclee prints are for sale at Pick Me Up, and will be in our store after the fair wraps up. Please email us if you're interested! Pictured above is Epic Battle #3: Egg vs Baked Beans (It's not always sunny, sunny side up).

Monday, March 18, 2013

Corn Cobbed

Woooo we finished our artworks for the Pick Me Up show and have popped them in the post. Fingers crossed they make the journey to London safe and sound! Before we mailed them we took some snaps and have a sneak peek below of one of the works. It's technically not an Epic Battle but we couldn't resist including this blushing pantless Corn. I imagine he came out second best in his stoush and was pants'ed in the process.

How do you eat your corn? We like to eat ours by picking off the kernels since we hate having corn bits stuck in our teeth!

If you're on instagram we've been posting wips of some of the works there, you can find us here.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pick Me Up

We've been busy for the last few months planning and creating some new work for Pick Me Up 2013. It's a contemporary graphic art fair held at the Somerset House in London. We've very chuffed to be part of the Selects program alongside exciting artists such as Malarky, Jean Jullien and Malika Favre (both fellow Handsome Frank'ers).

We were hoping we could go back for a visit during the fair. We could show Ava our old stomping grounds and visit with friends but unfortunately we didn't get our arses into gear fast enough so we'll be sending our work through the post with fingers and toes crossed that they arrive safe and sound.

If you're in town I hope you can go and visit. There will be workshops and I hear that the amazing Damien Florébert Cuypers will be in residence on select days to do One Minute Portraits...Dang would have loved a family portrait with M and Ava!

Here's a little sneak peek at one of the new pieces we've created. Also we've just put up a huuuuge update to our website. It's been at least half a year since we last updated so there's a lot of projects, some that couldn't fit on the home page but can be found on the separate Tactiles page.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


We went on a camping trip last week to Myall Lakes, north of Sydney and pitched our tents in a beautiful spot right between beaches and the lake. We're in the height of summer and bushfire season in Australia so we had to make do without a campfire. Luckily we had cooking facilities not to mention eco toilets so while we weren't entirely glamping we did have some home comforts (we also brought our stove top coffee maker and an air bed...) For my second camping attempt I think we did pretty well although we completely overestimated how much food we'd need and as a result have half a years worth of Spam and canned meals to go through. It was a great holiday spent with some of our closest friends (thank you G for battling gastro to make it). I hope it becomes more of a tradition and that next time we'll be able to take Ava along. Would love for her to enjoy growing up with summers swimming in the lake, climbing trees and sleeping under the stars. Below are some rock and shell textures i've been collecting over the summer. I call them drifters.. maybe that's the theme for this year? I've always liked planning and timing things. That all sort of flew out the window when Ava surprised us, maybe drifting is something I should try to embrace more, even for just a little while.

PS and just for fun some light painting photos we took on the first night..