COLOURS and texture are the main elements of self-taught artist Julie Sabrina Mohammad Mohta’s unusual embroidery artwork.
Beads, sequins, feathers and yarn are stitched to make a single piece, often within the constraints of embroidery hoops.
Her embroidery is dense, filled with coloured threads and even clam and snail shells, which had washed up on beaches and were collected by Julie during one of her many travel trips.
These items are incorporated into a pattern on her embroidery, making it a very personal project.
“Each one of my artworks has a piece of my heart. I remember them all dearly,” said 38-year-old Julie.
Apart from embroidery, Julie also does beadwork, hand-stitched necklaces and patches.
Minimalism has no space in Julie’s artwork, which includes animal characters. It may seem over-the-top, but Julie likes to find a method within the madness.
What inspired you to create embroidery?
“I have fond memories of my mum sewing rugs, curtains and other items for our house. Luckily, I have a mother-in-law who does the same thing.
“I slowly figured out what I love the most, which is embroidery, after trying out various sewing DIY (Do-It-Yourself) projects, and the support, I receive from my husband and family is the fuel that keeps me going.”
How did you come up with the idea to merge unusual items such as clamshell in your embroidery?
“I started my embroidery journey with different types of yarn, beads and sequins.
“As time passed, I realised that I have collected memorable items from places which I have visited, especially beaches and streams. These include shells, rocks, wood and feathers.
“I just merge them together with the hope of creating an amazing texture, allowing you to look, touch and think about it.”
Can you explain your creative process?
“I love experimenting with new materials and techniques, whichever is suitable to add into my artwork. Nature and animals inspire me, a lot.
“I have tried making jewellery, accessories and wall decorations, but I still can’t figure out which one I want to focus on. I just love creating anything, just as long as I can play with colours and textures.”
What is the most challenging part of your artistic process?
“To be honest, it is to keep it going. There are times when I barely make RM50 per month. Don’t get me wrong, I am not making art for the sake of money, but in order for me to continue practising and to keep creating, I would need money for the materials.”
What are your customers’ feedback?
“So far, they like it. Half of my clients are artists or crafts makers. I am so glad to be able to connect with kindred spirits.” – by S. Tamarai Chelvi