So many exciting things have been happening recently and so I haven’t been my usual social butterfly self but at last I’m getting myself organised to start sharing things with you again. I am currently going through a rebrand for my business. I always find this sort of thing addictive and rejuvenating. It’s the perfect thing to do when you’ve lost your way a little to bring some focus and clarity back to you. More about that another day though.
This year it is safe to say has been a bit all over the place for me. Starting in January with my head nearly exploding at the amount of work and possibilities that the coming year held, but and thats a dream come true to be honest. Being busy like that means you have done something right and that people do like you after all. But with that busyness comes a lot of other stuff, like being over subscribed to too many things and it burns you out.
By June this year it is safe to say I was completely and utterly burnt out. It was all a little bit too much and I quickly learnt that it was’t where I wanted to be or hat I wanted to be doing. So after months of soul searching and basically just trying to rest a little I have a new plan. Well actually it’s not new its the one I always had but this time I’m actually going to do it instead of get constantly side tracked. So I am glad to say that in the new year I will be back to my old smily self and getting extremely excited about it. Until then I’ll be poottleling around here on the blog and Instagram making things look pretty and easing myself into the new year.
With that little brief history of the last six months said I really wanted to share with you a very fun thing that happened for me a few weeks ago. I was in a magazine called The Little Things based in China. I was in good company, the likes of Jessie Chorley, Hens Teeth, Rachelle Blondel and Elizabeth Loveday have also been featured so I certainly feel very proud to be approached too. It’s a fab magazine although I’m honestly not sure where in the UK that you can buy it, but I’m sure there will be somewhere.
Here’s a few little sections. of photos and the interview I sent to them in English so you can also see what was written.
1.Could you introduce yourself and give us some background information?
Hi, My name is Marna Lunt and I am a contemporary hand embroider. I was trained and have an honours degree in Fine Art painting at the Manchester School of Art. Painting was my main love and I concentrated on life drawing with oils, and portraiture.
Then I had my first child, as a new mum my creative work had to change as it no longer worked with my lifestyle. I developed from using oil paint to using fabric to create needle paintings instead. I am completely self taught as a textile artist. I still see myself as a painter but using thread and fabric instead of paint, I approach the work in exactly the same way as I would paint.
2.When did you start embroidery and how? Did you have any formal training or are you self taught?
I have enjoyed embroidery, mainly cross stitch, since I was a young girl. I loved the kits you could get and making family and friends little things, cushions, pictures, coasters. It wasn’t something I was ever taught formally, I just picked it up now and again if time was on my side. I only started really looking at the stitches and their possibilites about two years ago. Before that anything I made concentrated on the colourful fabric and the use of only backstitch. I now explore the possibilities of stitches in my work more and are using less and less fabric to create my art work.
3.Are your works all hand embroidery? Have you ever tried to incorporate machine embroidery?
Everything I make is purely made from hand embroidery. I never use machines. There are manly reasons for this. The machines are too noisy to use near my son which is why I never started using them. I also don’t like the noise, I love the peace and calm that hand stitching creates. I prefer the effect if hand stitching too, it gives a quality and personality to the work the a machine can’t do, more of my personality is taken into the scene. I also find machines annoying because they don’t do what I want, I have no patience and they need too much attention which drives me a little crazy.
4.I noticed that you have some portrait themed works, what’s the inspiration of those portraits? Or are they orders from clients?
I started the portraits because I was missing that part of my old creative process too much. I used to love sketching and painting portraits and found I was getting further away from making what I loved with my work and decided to start a project for myself. I started with my self portrait and found people really loved then work but I needed to make a portrait that would be interesting to a wider audience. So having two young children fairy tales jumped into my mind.
I am lucky in that I have had a lot of commissions for portraits which is probably my favourite work to do at the moment, so I do work to commission but that isn’t the reason I started them.
5.You’ve created many different kinds of works, like portraits, lamps and cushions, so far what kind of work is your favourite one? And are you planning to challenge any other forms of artworks in the future?
As I started my journey into my new career in a very public way on social media all my experiments are widely catalogued. Most artists don’t have their journey to find their style made quite so publicly so you will see all the things I’ve tried to get to where I am beginning to feel happy with as an artist. I still have much experimenting to go and I feel I am beginning to find my own way.
6.Why do you want to hand dyed the embroidery threads and textiles?
I did a wonderful workshop all about natural dyes and loved learning and making. Natural dying really interests me but it is not something that I am going to take up much myself as I don’t have the tie to make what i would like with it. It’s a huge subject which is something that maybe I could get more involved with as the children get bugger and time is more accessibly. I do however buy a lot of hand dyed threads and fabric to use, from experts in the field that produce stunning colours and combinations. I find the colours made from dying smaller lots are the ones that I am more interested infusing than many of the very mass produced colours. This is mainly due to my painting background. If you wanted a colour you would mix, I rarely used paint straight from the tube. But with needle painting you can’t mix your threads to create the palette you want so you have to go looking for the colour already as a thread, this normally happens next for me from the more expensive and unusual thread makers. I have to have the exact colour I need and nothing else will do so dying your own thread may be something I need to do more in the future.
7.Are you planning to create a series of fairy tales themed works? Because I noticed that you have a piece of work named Rapunzel, and it seems that there is also a piece of work that you’re making, looks like the Little Red Ridding hood.
I am indeed. It is a personal project that I am hoping also interests all of you too. It’s a very slow process as I make these works in the background of other large commissions that are going on too. Thus why I have only really made two so far. I have Pinnochio, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Hansel and Gretel all sketched out and waiting to come to life too. They are based on the faces of my children as they are the best models I could ask for. It’s a pure joy for me at the moment making these larger than life pieces.
8.Can you describe your creating process please?
I like to draw. Drawing and painting have always been my first love and thats always where I start. I like to think of the finished piece in my head and how I want it to be and then I sketch and research the piece. I mainly only do this for the larger pieces that need a little planning. The smaller pieces I just draw straight onto the fabric and stitch fabric down on top of my drawing just like a big fabric collage. Then I stitch as though I was using a pencil to pick out the details and give definition. Sometimes the finished work will be then made into lampshades and sometimes they are mounted and framed. But everything stems from drawing.
9.Do you have any physical store? And can you introduce your studio please?
I sell my work mainly through my website, www.marnalunt.co.uk. I also teach online courses concentrating on my process and how I make artwork showing you all the details and inspiring you to make your own work too, this is on a separate website called www.illuminatingembroudery.co.uk. I also sell at my craft and design fairs around the UK, as well as teach through the UK.
10.What’s your favourite little thing?
I love my snow globes. I collect them from around the world, when my friends go on their travels they bring them back for me too. There’s something very magical, innocent and happy about snow globes.