Xenia Rybina is a embroidery designer originally from Russia currently living in Paris.
How did you get into embroidery?
Two of my passions combined together, and that was the outcome.
When I was a child, I was always sewing something, learned crochet and made stuffed toys out of old clothes. In university I graduated as an illustrator and was creating dolls at the same time. After university I thought of how I could combine my love for drawing and sewing together, so then embroidery came in. I stitch my illustrations and I cannot get enough of it.
Do you sew for fun or is it a job?
It is finally turning into a small business. I do have another job though, I am a designer for a fashion brand in Paris.
Who would you like to collaborate with and why?
I’d like to collaborate with fashion brands like Nanushka or Acne Studios. I have always found the fashion world to be very interesting, how it evolves and generally its importance in our society. My dream is to combine the world of illustration art and fashion together and create something that will tell stories on clothes, bring wearable objects to life and give them another purpose. I would like my art to slide into the world of home decor. I would love to see my embroideries or illustrations on curtains or bed sheets in Ikea! I am a big fan of cozy homes. I am an outdoorsy person, yet the time that I tend to enjoy most, is the time I spend at home; my small coven as I like to call it. I love decorating and creating a living space, so to create a piece of home decor is a big dream of mine.
What other textiles would you like to do?
Personally I would like to learn how to make clothes, or couture craftsmanship. It’s divine and includes so many different techniques, I really want to learn more and more. The more the better.
Where do you buy your materials from?
My last purchases were from the vintage market, someone was selling a bunch of old embroidery threads for cheap, and I couldn’t resist. Some I stole from my mum. Otherwise there are three stores in Paris which I sometimes visit: Le Bonheur Des Dames, Maison Sajou and Rougier Plé.
Where do you work from and what do you listen to in the background?
I work best at home, where I feel most comfortable and organised.
When I draw or embroider, I like to watch documentaries and films rather than listen to music; weirdly it makes me more productive and I gather inspiration at the same time.
Do you have any textiles or art books you look at for inspiration?
Lots of books, I have a small library at home. I get inspiration from anywhere though, currently I am learning about spiritualism, alchemy and occult witchcraft. My main inspirations come from all the documentaries and books I am currently reading.
Who are some of your favourite embroidery designers you follow on Instagram?
How do you think people perceive embroidery?
Embroidery, needlework and textile art has had a rather big comeback the last couple of years. To me, it says that people finally start to see the beauty again in something so delicate, rich in history and mainly, hand made. It is still conceptual, but the work is more cherished for its handiwork and the effort put into creating. When you think about how much time is spent to create an embroidery, it’s almost as delicate as oil painting to me. For oil painting it’s about managing a successful colour transfusion and succeeding in making it look alive. Embroidery is no different with its delicate approach. To make one line, you have to go back and forth, to make a good gradient, you need to know where to place the right thread next and so on. One stroke doesn’t take a second, it’s a longer process. Let’s not forget the damage sewing tends to make on our fingers, it’s a beautiful sacrifice.
Embroidery is ancient. It has been with us for centuries. It came from sewing, which was something people did practically for survival. Sewing clothing to be warm, sewing bags to carry stock to survive on. It went from something so basic to this fantastic art world and fashion.
What do you love about embroidery?
It is so therapeutic to me. When I work, I can relate to someone after their long bath, relaxed, happy and full of life.
Follow Xenia on Instagram here