Photos Courtesy of Leah Nikolau
Pastimes of a more gentler nature might seem more straightforward, easy, and relaxed, or at least to the minds of the Victorians. Gathering a few picked flowers into a keepsake book perhaps, or adding fine finishing touches to a few linens may feel like classic domesticated pleasures of another time somewhere in the English countryside. But leave it to artist Leah Nikolau to freshen up these hobbies into delicate but delightful pieces of work that transfers her modern visions onto paper using these classic, natural mediums. The result is a series of art blending flowers and yarn that are in itself, by nature, fragile yet timeless.
A graduate from the Royal College of Art, London, Leah revisits childhood activities she grew up with and brings out her inner worlds using the natural beauty around her. Flowers are mostly homegrown and yarn is selected from hand-dyed varieties around the UK. These mediums come together on recycled paper that makes for the perfect canvas, capturing her sentiments on the fragility of nature. The wrong stitch in the paper or the simple crush of a small flower can rupture an entire piece of work!
The contrast of mediums in her work– chunky, thick wool with thin, delicate flowers– are breathtaking reminders to the viewer about the importance of harmony in all that surrounds us. Every work is well thought out, with the composition process of both flower and threads taking well into a few hours. As for her own inspiration, the imagery found embroidered within Leah’s work range from vintage items, like French brocante jugs and McCoy vases, as well as shabby chic and simple Scandinavian aesthetics.
Leah Nikolaou’s dedication to her one-of-a-kind craft is something to be desired in a world where digital achievements or life-size interactive pieces in art are celebrated. For those like us at Marjorie and for the admirers of Leah’s work, simple is the key, the key to remember that we don’t have to look far for inspiration. Only just in nature, and in our past pastimes.