Monday, July 25, 2011

Karen Ruane's Lovely White Work

With the heat wave we've been having on the east coast, my eyes keep craving and landing on white. And Karen Ruane's work is one of the loveliest collections of white I've seen lately. Using traditional embroidery and stitching methods, she combines paper, cloth and thread into some wonderful compositions and constructions. Her etsy site is called ContemporaryStitches and is here You can find lots of up close up beauty on her flickr site here. I can image so many fabulous garments inspired by her buttons alone.
Here are her responses to the questions I like to ask artists-
What inspires you lately?
I am constantly inspired by patterns and techniques associated with vintage domestic linen. Lace like my grandmother would have owned, blankets, table linens and other domestic cloth. These for me provide a link to my female predecessors and inform who I am and what I create.
What was your first memory?
My first memory is from when I was around 2 1/2 years old, being woken in the night by a baby crying. I later learnt that my little brother had been born in the night.
Can you describe the best thing you saw on your last walk?
I am not much of a walker as such when it comes to the countryside anyway. I do however walk what seems like miles around exhibitions and the last time I did this, about 10 days ago, I saw amazing, creative and refreshing work from New Graduates at New Designers in London. There is so much talent out there and the promise of more to come.
What are the five things that would make a perfect day of work?
In my dreams....I would wake to an inbox full of orders. I would have the house completely to myself for a full 24 hours. The house would be spotless meaning I didn't have to satisfy my compulsion to clean. I would not have to cook for anyone at all and those four things would allow me to complete the fifth which would be a whole day of sewing without interruption.
Can you describe the best pair of shoes you have ever owned?
Would it surprise you to know that I do not own a single pair of shoes? I am sure I have in the past but can I please substitute that for boots? I have a pair of black Ecco boots that are so soft my feet hurt without them. They lace up the front, just like a corset. They have been to San Francisco, New York, Sweden...everywhere I go, they go.....
What are you doing this weekend?
This weekend I may have my dream of having the house completely to myself...I shall embroider, I shall stitch, I will be in heaven.


  1. thank you so much for this Alyn. I love it!!

  2. Karen has such incredible talent! Such an artist!

  3. she is a wonder. just lover her designs.

  4. Thank you for the interview with such an artist. and I do agree with her ideal day...

  5. Great interview with a wonderful artist and very sweet woman!

  6. How fun to read your interview of Karen. I guess I thought it would be more about her art. It was fun to read her answers to other aspects of her life. I love Karen's art, she is quite creative and creates beauty. Thank you~

  7. A wonderful interview from a great artist.

  8. What a great interview; Karen is such a talented artist.

  9. Karen's artwork is so elegant. It brings up visions of Victorian women in bright white embroidered gowns, of a time where value was placed on beautiful hand work. Karen inspires me to dare to try the unusual.