Self-Portrait – Inspired by Marloes Dukyer

I'm all stitched up (2013) Sewing machine with thread on paperIn response to being inspired by my research on Marloes Dukyer, I drew with my sewing machine for the first time. Being a semi industrial machine, I found it very difficult to turn corners fast and smoothly enough. My Bernina 850 is only familiar with going at top speed! However, I am so excited by my results and how I may be able to create in the future using this media. I find the organic nature of the ‘sketch’ has a definite sense of freedom from constraint, enhanced by potential movement of the hanging threads and the lack of contour lines used. Every thing about this self-portrait is suggestive of me: the texture, expression, combination of colours, and unruly curly auburn hair that decides to go in a different direction from one day to the next. A great accomplishment in my books.


An Artful Life – Marloes Dukyer

Marloes Dukyer is one of my most admired Indie Designers from Netherlands. I first came upon her work last year in Indie Craft’ by Jo Waterhouse and my limited logic regarding drawing was stretched open, as new possibilities came rushing in. I have sat behind a sewing machine since I was 11 years old, and I am definitely in my element here. Never before had I seen sewing as a craft utilised in this way.  The grin on my face enlarged as I realised how I could put my skill sets to a new way of creating art.

Marloes work is an amalgamation of fashion, art and illustration. By sewing freehand she uses the needlepoint in the same way one would use a pencil. She discusses how she enjoys the process of how the illustration is going to turn out, because rather than a controlled scenario, she relies on improvisation, innovation and serendipity to influence the outcome. A spontaneous, stimulating and also beautifully surprising process.

I find it interesting to note that I perceive her work as being both beautifully elegant at the same time as worn and crude, being the result of the distressed materials and harsh textural stitch-work of the machine.

The tactile experience of working with textiles and fibre is gratifying she says, especially in contrast with our modern digital world we find ourselves in. Marloes herself is the brains and body behind her own design agency, Naked Designs, and creates bodies of work for high-profile clients, numerous magazines and books, and also manages to find the time to exhibit her work widely.

She is certainly an inspiring woman in my path to discovering what type of artist I would like to be. I have an incredible sense of gratitude towards her, as now I have the motivation and passion to explore this media myself. Knowing that it will be an organic and experiential process comforts and excites me.


Waterhouse, J. (2010). Indie Craft. London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd.

An Artful Life – Aya Kakeda

My first impressions of New York’s Aya Kakeda’s work was the intrigue I felt looking at hybrid creations of paper cutting, embroidery, illustration and lace work. I came across her featured in a ‘Young Guns’ article in The Magazine of Contemporary Illustration, and then she popped up again in one of my recent reads ‘By Hand: the use of craft in contemporary art’.  What inspires me about Aya is her narrative and her use of various media including silkscreen, illustration and embroidery, that best portray her storytelling. Whether plainly obvious or more subtle her stories consist of fairytale worlds that are sometimes super cute and sweet, and also in contrast with very violent and creepy themes – like that of the Indie Craft movement.  Aya Kakeda has a love of making books especially with silly stories and characters serving as the purpose to convey metaphorical and experiential topics. Both her use of mixed media and her tendency towards handcrafted and ‘Indie’ art, inspire me to explore how my own experience with textiles and handcrafts can lead me down a similar path in being a creative practitioner.


Hung, S & Magliaro, J. (eds.). (2007). By Hand: the Use of Craft in Contemporary Art .

The Magazine of Contemporary Illustration. (n.d). Young Guns: Spotlight No.1. Aya Kakeda. Vol:7. No:2. Issue#20