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Art Watch : Nastya Klimova & Liza Smirnova

Nastya Klimova & Liza Smirnova are our Art Watch Artists for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across any discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and worth watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by. Or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch.

It may surprise many, but the origins of embroidery can be traced back to Cro-Magnon days or 30,000 B.C. The archeological finds from this period have revealed fossilized remains of decorated clothing that is heavily hand-stitched. In other words, these clothes bear embroidery.

The word ‘embroidery’ originally comes from the French word ‘broderie’, which means embellishment, and the French popularised it. However, embroidery has existed since the production of fabric in various forms. And in multiple cultures – in China, Istanbul, India as well Europe. It can be said that it is an ancient art form. Further, it has strong ties to society, as the accomplishment of this skill marks a girls journey to womanhood.

In contemporary context, designers Nastya Klimova and Liza Smirnova explore a variety of visuals through embroidery. Mainly for their collection for Nastya’s jewellery, accessories and clothing brand OMUT. The company founded in 2010, provides Nastya a playground for all her creative output. Her popular collection gave us cardigans, bibs and collars, all with anatomical motifs that were hand-embroidered.

Why Nastya Klimova & Liza Smirnova?

Just like a painting, embroidery has the power to transport one to another realm altogether. Human hearts, the use of abstract watercolours, and surreal portraits are some embroideries created by Lisa Smirnova. Lisa is a Russian designer. She therefore has a rich heritage and is well acquainted with the culture of thread work. 

Lisa decided to paint using a slightly unusual technique, with needle and thread! Moreover, she didn’t tie herself to a particular thread and used a variety of material which creates superb textures. Her idea resulted in an innovative technique that amazes everyone due to its sheer artistic import and the meticulous perfection.

Thread, wool or cotton – the backbone of the craft, creates fascinating embroideries with such a lush accuracy, exuding unmistakable grandeur.

For her recent work, “Artist at Home”, she collaboration with the eco-friendly designer who is responsible of GO, Olga Glagoleva. The idea was to marry the studio-stained clothes bearing paint and thread work to represent the symbiosis between the artists’ home-studio and their attire.

Why are we enthralled by these works? Because her craft truly has the capacity to transfer the observer beyond the scope of reality. Most creative art has roots in childhood and for these Moscow based artists it is the same. For Lisa her tools aid expression. A lot of her work is inspired by the magic tales that represent childish monsters.

The artist haven’t limited themselves to the representation of the abstract and motifs. They have also created works of art including portraits, of anonymous people and celebrities like Frida Kahlo or Charles Bukowsky.

Embroidery As Art

Surrealism is certainly one of the strong points of the craft. Immensely popular on social media, her Capsule Collection, is in collaboration with the designer Nastya Klimova. It showcases embroidered clothes with anatomical figures. For example, she depicts human hearts or skeletons that recall the Mexican world.

From time immemorial tapestries have always held a great interest for their power of story telling. They are rich, luxurious, durable and coveted pieces of art. The very process of stitching is a meditative process. Through generations needle work has been considered a women’s occupation. But it was also a coming together of women, in their social circles to talk and discuss. Many a political discussions have taken root in these circles and their power cannot be undermined. In that sense the work that the designers are doing are a representative of the larger cultural and historical ethos.    

These singular pieces, from an art collector’s point of view, are no less desirable to a painting or a sculpture.

For more Artists handpicked by Divvya Nirula – explore the ART WATCH archive.

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