Irem Yazici of Baobab Handmade // Embroidery Artist // Eskisehir Turkey
Irem Yazici is a self taught fiber artist based in Eskisehir Turkey. Her artistic journey began in 2014 with her interest in craft and she has kept exploring her artistic-self through the medium of embroidery.
Her studio practice is divided into two parts: Making embroidered accessories such as pins and creating personal artworks. Her work is a combination of her illustration and embroidery practices, where she explores through color and texture. She creates worlds out of her surreal visions where magical things happen.
1. I began my #CraftWithConscience series as a way to simultaneously promote the work of other makers and to discuss the complicated issues surrounding creative inspiration and developing one’s own visual vocabulary. The internet is an ever growing fixture in many artists’ lives and businesses, could you talk about the role the internet plays in your artistic and professional life?
The internet is the reason I'm able to do what I do. If i wouldn't have it, I don't think I could have made a living from embroidery. To be able to share my works through social media gave me some amazing opportunities which I couldn't imagine; such as working with global brands and galleries. Back in the old days, to be known as an artist/ maker was up to appreciation of some authorities of the art/design community which was discouraging to become an artist. Since the chance of exposure were low and you know you need to make a living as an artist to be able to keep create non stop. I know so many people who has chosen another path rather than focusing to practise their art because of these reasons. There are many specific audiences and everything has a buyer in this world and now by the help of social media everyone has the opportunity to meet their specific audience.
I also think internet is the reason that embroidery has finally got to be recognized as an art branch and find the value it deserves. Now we are able to access so many artists' works and the community has realized there's something more in this medium.
2. Where do you find inspiration for your work? In what ways has the internet and/or social media impacted your design process?
In the process of designing accessories such as pins, I do make a research on the internet. When I'm preparing a specific collection of pins it helps me a lot by giving me ideas to stitch something that I've never seen in my life such as a kind of frog that lives in the rainforest. For my one of a kind artworks, I can say they are more related to my real life. It all starts with a vision appear in my head in random moments but also anything can stimulate my mind such as a music, my spiritual journey, or a specific plant and sometimes some materials can flash ideas into my mind. Most of my works are telling a story since they can also be visions of the tales I made up. When I get stuck on imagining the surroundings around the basic idea I get help from the internet where I have pinterest boards called things like gardens, places, trees, birds where I gathered my favourites.
3. How have you, as an artist, found your creative voice?
I feel like finding your creative voice is like finding your home in a labyrinth. It can be tricky and a hard way to find. You sometimes follow a path but you realise that it's not taking you to your home. Actually everytime you try, you get closer to your home. I can say it's just a result of hardwork and non stop effort. Stitch by stitch, piece by piece it starts to have a characteristic face.
4. Sites like Pinterest and Instagram are popular places for artists’ to share their own work. They also act as public visual archives, often leading to creative work by others that walks the line between ‘inspiration’ and ‘infringement.’ Have you encountered copies of your work online and how does it affect you? What are your strategies for dealing with it?
I saw some copycats of mine. Some were selling those works and some were not but I think both of them are frustrating. When I saw them I felt like someone was wearing a mask of my face and pretending to be like me which gave me a creepy feeling. Dealing with them can be exhausting but when I come across them it charges me to do better and level up.
5. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or creative business people?
The best thing I learned so far is to trust my own vision. We may sometimes feel influenced so much by others and feel like we are lost. Try to give an ear to your inner voice because it's actually always there and you know you hear it, don't ignore it. It's the thing that enlightens your very own path that takes you to your 'home'.
All Images provided by the artist