Rather than create designs with floral motifs, Olga Prinku goes straight to the source. The UK-based artist stitches real dried and preserved flowers onto delicate tulle fabric, merging nature with the beauty of traditional craftsmanship.
As one might imagine, working with such fragile materials demands extreme concentration. Prinku uses stems that can be as thin as 0.03 centimeters, and stitches them into the equally fine texture of tulle. Breaking either element is a high possibility, but she relies on her experience and instincts to follow what the plants can or cannot do, oftentimes free-styling her designs until the hoop is complete.
Prior to creating these unique embroidered pieces, Prinku was a graphic designer who made crafts like embroidery and knitting on the side. “It actually wasn't through embroidery that I came to embroidering with dried flowers—the idea emerged out of my hobby of wreath-making,” she tells My Modern Met. “One day I used a garden sieve as a frame to hold the greenery in place by poking the stems through the holes in the wire mesh. It struck me that a garden sieve is similar in some ways to an embroidery hoop with the mesh fabric stretched across, so I wondered if I could embroider in a similar way with the stems of flowers.”
Since stumbling across the idea, Prinku's practice has quickly developed, using a variety of organic materials and different techniques. “My background is in graphic design, which I draw on in coming up with the concepts for my pieces—as well as a fascination with folkloric motifs from my country of birth, Moldova, and traditional tapestries,” she explains. “I'm inspired by nature—I love to go for countryside walks near where I live, in North Yorkshire, and I think creating artworks with plant life opens up a lot of possibilities to explore themes related to the fragility of nature, the relationship between humans and nature, the transience of beauty and the importance of living in the moment.”