SEW MUCH LOVE

This mummy em­broi­dery artist turns her daugh­ter’s draw­ings into whim­si­cal jew­ellery and hoops. It’s their spe­cial way of bond­ing.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

This mummy em­broi­dery artist turns her daugh­ter’s draw­ings into whim­si­cal jew­ellery and hoops.

As in most homes, fam­ily por­traits map the white walls of Inez Inez’s three-bed­room apart­ment, where she lives with her videodi­rec­tor hus­band, Ben­jamin Siow, 41, and their two chil­dren, Miya, six, and Tyler, three. But un­like most fam­i­lies’ por­traits – smil­ing selfies or stu­dio set-ups – theirs are cre­ated by Inez with nee­dle and thread, based off her daugh­ter’s doo­dles. De­cid­edly ar­ti­sanal – and if you like the idea, she can do the same for you, too.

Inez, 41, is an em­broi­dery artist with her own label, Inez De­signs. She spends up to seven hours a day at a makeshift work­sta­tion in her bed­room, pro­duc­ing what she calls “colour­ful, bo­hemian, eclec­tic, with a touch of kitsch” embroidered works. She first sketches them – they are ei­ther cus­tomised projects or one-of-a-kind de­signs. Then, she hand­stitches them onto fab­ric, and fash­ions them into neck­laces, brooches, and badges, or embroidered art hoops. These she sells at www.inez-de­signs.com – hoops for $150 to $300; brooches and neck­laces for $59 to $169.

When Inez started her label in 2010, she wasn’t sell­ing her embroidered works; she sold hand­made jew­ellery on the side while work­ing full-time as a fash­ion mer­chan­diser.

She sold her first embroidered piece only in late 2016 – a piece com­mis­sioned by a friend of a friend. She had picked up cross-stitch, then other forms of em­broi­dery, while preg­nant with her son.

“I en­joyed cross-stitch, but it got mun­dane,” she says. “So I de­cided to learn other kinds of em­broi­dery. Video tu­to­ri­als on­line helped. It was dif­fi­cult when I first started, but I prac­tised in­ces­santly till I got the hang of it.”

Be­fore long, Inez was in­cor­po­rat­ing thread­work into her jew­ellery, and cre­at­ing embroidered hoops for her­self and her friends.

The tools of her trade are sim­ple. For her hoop pieces, she uses medium-weight quilt­ing cot­ton as the base fab­ric – it’s thin enough to trace her de­signs over be­fore she be­gins stitch­ing. For neck­laces and brooches, she uses felt and tulle, and suede as back­ing. For threads, she is par­tial to those by US brand DMC for its soft­ness and vi­brancy.

Inez also rec­om­mends brows­ing DMC’s web­site for free pat­terns and in­struc­tions. A fan of mixing me­dia, she in­cor­po­rates beads, se­quins and crys­tals into her de­signs.

She is now ex­per­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent fab­rics and in­cor­po­rat­ing paint. The ma­te­ri­als are easy to find, she says. “Spot­light and craft stores in Chi­na­town sell all the ba­sic ma­te­ri­als you need. Fab­rics are also eas­ily avail­able at any lo­cal craft store.”

On top of her daily out­put, Inez has themed col­lec­tions of hoop em­broi­dery and ac­ces­sories, re­leased ev­ery three to six months. Her first was Se­cret Gar­den; the sec­ond was Lo­te­ria, in­spired by a book on the Mex­i­can card game she had picked up dur­ing a li­brary ex­cur­sion with avid doo­dler Miya – the in­spi­ra­tion for Inez’s favourite per­sonal pro­ject.

Ti­tled “She Draws I Thread”, it is a se­ries of whim­si­cal works rang­ing from stick-fig­ure fam­ily por­traits (which Miya draws ev­ery week) to mini sto­ries in­volv­ing princesses, an­i­mals, and strange, mag­i­cal lands. These are not for sale, al­though Inez can cre­ate sim­i­lar cus­tomised ones.

“Miya draws daily, and it’s a spe­cial time we have to­gether when we sit down and share jokes, and she ex­plains to me the sto­ries be­hind her doo­dles. Oc­ca­sion­ally, she re­quests that I work on a spe­cific work of hers.”

What she does is cre­ative and chal­leng­ing, and the em­broi­dery process repet­i­tive, but Inez ap­pre­ci­ates its med­i­ta­tive as­pect. “It clears my mind, and I al­ways feel bet­ter af­ter that.”

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