The Rebirth of Embroidery- Artist Series: Dona Lola
Embroidery is an art form that has been around for centuries. Alongside this, the introduction of photography and digital illustrations have dominated the modern art world, replacing embroidery and other thread/ yarn creations; Art forms, of which, that have had a stigma attached to them as being 'outdated' and 'dull'.
French artist and embroidery extraordinaire, Dona Lola, tears away the labels attached to embroidery and explains how embroidery is coming back into fashion with the help of Instagram:
"I didn't know anything about embroidery until about a year ago because I come from the ‘drawing world’, I used to draw portraits. I randomly saw a picture on Instagram of an embroidery hoop and got curious. Apart from that picture, I had no idea that embroidery was such a popular craft nowadays. When I thought about embroidery the only thing that came to my mind was those nice machine-made designs you can find on clothes, but that was it. I don’t think it is dying at all, on the contrary. Contemporary embroidery is like a rebirth of the craft that no one thought twice about until now, well, at least for me anyway.
I don’t really have a plan or a goal with my embroidery, I just try to make more people aware of it, get them to try it and show them the work of artists that they would relate to. I do think about organising some cool stitching sessions/workshops around where I live so more people can learn about embroidery and explore it."
Dona, based in Orléans, France, uses the isolation and entrapment that she feels living in a small city to grow as an artist, whilst embracing the quintessential French architecture that surrounds her.
"I have always found myself trying lots of different crafts because of how bored I was where I lived. The only reason I got so much time to try out embroidery was that I literally could not find anything else to do in Orléans. It’s a small city.
I applied to a few art schools here but was rejected four times so I would say having to rely on learning by myself has definitely shaped me as an artist. I learned that I don’t need anyone’s help to do what I want and love.
I have been embroidering for a year now. I actually had no particular interest in fibre art but once I got into it I couldn’t stop. My favourite thing to embroider is definitely little country houses with their flamboyant gardens. I find inspiration mostly by looking at pictures of houses on Pinterest but I also take a lot of pictures outside of anything I could turn into an embroidery.
As an artist, I am not very patient and I like to see the results quickly. I don’t count my hours, per say, but I like to sit 7 to 11 hours a day on a piece to finish it in about 3-4 days. I find it very difficult to come back to a project I left on the side for a while. I lose the interest and enthusiasm of a new idea very quickly so I know I have to get it done fast.
Every project is really exciting and fulfilling in its own way. Recently, I worked on a custom house portrait and it was my favourite thing to do, I had so much fun and I felt very happy at the fact that someone would think of me to decorate their home."