Happy Monday friends! I’m so excited to be re-starting The Artist Series and showcasing some amazing celestial embroidered espadrilles from Skippy Cotton. Before I get to that, however, I wanted to share a bit of news (if you are a newsletter subscriber you already know this so thanks for sharing in my enthusiasm). I am so happy to report that I have found a new source for espadrille shoe soles. You might have noticed that the shop has limited sizing options right now. The good news is that, as I write this, a ship is crossing the ocean with espadrille shoe soles destined for my garage. Hopefully, by the end of the month I will have them in stock and ready for all those holiday orders!
As a result, I’m thrilled to be re-igniting one of my favorite things…The Artist Series! We are shining a light on some incredible shoes this month. Many moons ago, I was lucky enough to meet the amazing Emma Meirop. She is the creative force behind Skippy Cotton, a shop filled with handmade goods that make you feel as if you have peeked behind the striped curtain at a circus. Emma finds the magic in the ordinary and translates it into stunning embroidery that hints at a beguiling story. There is no way to avoid being drawn in and no reason to resist the pull.
The shoes Emma created are no different. They literally took my breath away.
I really feel as if I’m looking at the dressing room of a ballerina who ran off to the circus with her cherub child. The word that comes to mind is ethereal.
Check out these incredible details and artistry!
I asked Emma bit about her process and she described it as this:
” This project was the perfect balance of my favorite stitching processes- freemotion embroidery and a little hand stitching.
The pattern pieces for both adult and child/baby sizes were the perfect scale to use as a mini canvas to create some little thread paintings.
After cutting my pattern pieces- I traced them onto a 7oz duck canvas. (A quilting weight cotton or muslin can also work well). No matter the weight of the fabric- it is always best to stabilize by placing a piece of tearaway interfacing on the wrong side.
Free motion embroidery is a wonderful machine embroidery technique for expressing playful visions.
Depending on what you’re hoping to achieve, you can set your machine to its free motion setting and just go for it! Another more planned process is drawing your ideas on your canvas prior to stitching with a disappearing or wash away ink pen (which is my usual technique). Keep in mind, no matter your style or skill level, free-motion designs and illustrations almost NEVER come out as planned. Embracing the wonkiness and imperfection is part of the process. So don’t over think it- and have fun! “
I think I hear her encouraging us all to jump in and listen to that quiet artistic voice without worrying about perfection. You hear that too? The results of her intuitive process are dazzling and make me feel all bubbly.
Emma decided not to create a PDF how-to guide because it’s so difficult to recreate her designs with a conventional sewing machine. She decided to just provide beautiful inspiration. I did notice, however, that she is selling remnant packs, some of which come with one-off embroidered items, and you could take a chance and order one and scrap together Skippy Cotton-style shoes! Either way, her celestial embroidered espadrilles are certain to inspire an attempt at imaginative embroidery.
I don’t have the full range of adult sizes in the kits right now (soon! Yay!) but if you can’t wait you can work on Skippy Cotton-inspired baby/toddler shoes with this kit. Plus, I have size 2-7 still available in this kit if you, say, want to make the most amazing shoes for a celestial Halloween costume ever!
I’m a huge fan of Emma’s. My studio is home to two Skippy Cotton art dolls. They keep me company and inspire me to listen to the intuitive voice. Every year I grab a few of her scented tokens as gifts to family members. If you are looking for unique and gorgeous items that support an artist these are it!
Interested in the Artist Series? Check out all the Previous Artists: Katie Kortman’s painted shoes, Melanie Tuazon‘s quilted shoes, Anne Weil from Flax & Twine’s woven shoes, and Meghann Halfmoon from Halfmoon Atelier’s leather shoes.
About Emma – Emma’s imagery is filled with animals, moons, stars, circus clowns and acrobats. She describes herself as a collector, machine embroideress and a toy maker. Her work includes framed textiles, children’s toys and ornaments using a combination of skills in illustration, machine and hand embroidery. Emma uses freehand illustrations of little people or imagery on her sewing machine with an embroidery setting. She uses unexpected color sparingly with embroidery thread and paint evoking an ethereal, other-worldly scene. Her work is repetitive with color but experimental with materials. Once she has completed her embroidery, she embellishes by hand with thicker threads, beads and other findings.