The charming nature of embroidery by Liskin dol – an interview with Ellen Tyn
Do you know this feeling when you stumble over the work of an artist and immediately feel drawn into a whole other world that feels like coming home?
This is how I felt when I first saw a picture of Ellen‘s embroidered polar bear surrounded by a wreath of twigs.
Hi Ellen, I’m glad to have you here! Could you give us a short introduction?
Hi! And I’m very happy to answer your questions! Short introduction – ok, I’m Ellen and I live for the creativity. That’s my meaning of life. Creativity and nature. And my life is full of them. I constantly make something because I just can’t sit idle. If I don’t make something with my hands then I walk through the woods. I believe that we must do what brings us pleasure (if it’s not anything bad of course :)). I know it for myself. This summer I got a bachelor’s degree in journalism but didn’t work as a journalist and am not going. And I’m happy with my art.
When I found your Instagram, I was immediately charmed by your amazingly calming world of pictures. Can you tell me a little bit about the place you live in?
The most part of the year I live in my wooden cabin near the forest. It’s 80 km north Saint-Petersburg, we are surrounded by wild fields and valleys and wonderful pine forests, there are many pure lakes and rivers. For me it’s the best place on Earth. I always miss it when I’m not there. We haven’t all the benefits of civilization in our small house, sometimes (after the great storms, for example) we even haven’t electicity. But i love it. So we are closer to nature.
When did you start embroidery and how? Do you remember your first project?
I remember the first time when I embroidered a picture with simple stitches, I was 4 years old. It was an exercise in my kindergarten. We had to make only one embroidery but i liked it so much and made some more embroideries. There were trees with hollows and suns with faces. Later I was fond of cross-stitch embroidery. All my gifts to my parents were cross-stitch pictures. I was admiring the surface embroidery by my grandmother but i thought that it’s very difficult.
When I already had a shop on etsy and instagram page, i made an Easter gift for my grandmother with applique and simple stitches. Somebody saw a photo of it in my gallery and asked to make it for order. After that I began to embroider more. And now I don’t like cross-stitch. I can’t say that my embroidery is neat and graceful. I continue using simple stitches, and i think it’s my style. Surface embroidery, by the way, still seems to me very difficult. But now I show some of the techniques to my grandmother:)
You make so many different projects with your embroidery – book covers, needle cases, brooches, wall art, necklaces – how do you find inspiration for new projects?
This is a very difficult question:) Because I find inspiration everywhere! And I can never say for sure where I got this or that idea. Most often new ideas come while I work on another thing.
Now, on the embroidery related questions!
How do keep your embroidery tools, floss and fabric in order?
To be honest, until recently all my tools and floss were in a great mess! But now I strive to the perfect workshop. I made a holder for my needles and scissors, my favorite linen fabrics are in a big box and floss are sorted by colors. I really dream about very big workshop with thousands boxes, shelves and other. But who doesn’t?
You have a unique way of making a round frame out of branches for your embroidered pieces. Would you mind sharing how you do it?
I use heather branches, because they are very strong. Right after i collect them i make a wreath and leave it to dry on something round like a glass. After that i just sew a wreath to an embroidery back. There should be a thick cardboard sewed into the embroidery.
What is your favorite part of the embroidery process?
I’m a person of result so I love when an embroidery is ready 🙂 I love all the process, honestly. But the best thing for me is sewing those heather branches to embroideries.
Which embroidery project was the most challenging you have ever done?
I think that such a project is coming now. I would not want to reveal the secrets, but I will say that I’m going to make a collection of clothes. It’s very difficult to start!
What piece of advice would you give to your younger self who has just started embroidering that you wish you had known back then?
Actually, I just want to say that you should try yourself. Try different techniques and materials, combine them. It’s the only way to create your own style. Not reading books and not watching the master classes. Only self-learning. And only after you learned something yourself, you can start using the lessons and adjust some advices for your own style.
Thank you for taking the time answering my questions!
Thank you very much, I enjoyed answering!
You can find Ellen and her charming embroideries on
April 12, 2018
April 7, 2018