Shakirra Rees is a fibre artist and textiles designer from Central Coast, Australia.
How did you get into textiles?
I first got into textiles during year 10 in high school. I was more into drawing and art when I was younger and did visual arts as a subject as well, but I enjoyed textiles and making things with material. I continued on with it in year 11 and 12 and while I prepared for the Higher School Certificate in year 12, I soon figured that art and textiles design could come together to make a beautiful combination! That’s how I came up with my major work. I came first in my class and I was pretty damn proud! It’s how I grew to love textiles and design.
How do you go about planning your work?
I’m fairly new at embroidery, so I don’t have a lot of pieces or designs yet. I follow so many lovely embroiderers and artists on Instagram (I love to support by giving a follow). I just brainstorm and draw little designs that I plan on doing in the future. I want to have a certain style that I go by, and I do believe I already have. But as other creative people inspire me, I have come up with some new things in the past couple of weeks and I am really keen to show that style too. It’s really contemporary and simple, I love it. With the actual embroidery, it is hard for me to complete them quickly as I am working around my daily routine (job, etc.) but I usually just put on my favourite tv show and embroider as much as I can before and after work, or whenever I have free time!
What ways do you apply your textiles?
On cotton t-shirts.
Where do you buy your materials from?
I buy most of my threads from the local sewing shop called Hobbysew but I just bought a massive pack of embroidery floss from eBay for only $25 and it had 250 colours, such a great deal! For my shirts I am starting to buy really nice quality cotton tee’s from Gildan. I used to buy organic cotton tee’s from my local shopping centre, but the material is just too thin. The Gilden shirts are much better for me to embroider on.
What do you find difficult about the work you create?
I find it difficult because hand embroidery is time consuming. I really would love to start an Etsy shop now and pump out heaps of designs on heaps of shirts so people can buy them but it just takes so long. I am not a super fast embroiderer… yet, and sometimes I’ll have to stop and do something and then go back to it which can be frustrating.
What’s your background noise when you’re working?
My bedroom is outside in the garage so it’s pretty quiet out here, but sometimes I’ll hear my little sisters screaming and having a tantrum in the background! But I like to listen to music really loud when I am embroidering so it cuts out all the other noises.
What do you love most about textiles?
What I love most about textiles is the different cool things that you can create. I love the fact that I can try to sew things I can’t afford, or recycle some vintage clothes from the Australian Op Shop and make the coolest jeans ever! The recycled DIY side of it is really fun and it makes you feel good when you can wear something that you altered yourself. I am really in love with textile art, I think it’s super amazing! I am still yet to explore and learn more about that side of textiles. I really want to keep creating more things like my year 12 major piece. Embroidery is a really good skill to have and if you love creating and you can draw you could most likely make a really beautiful art piece like a wall hanging for example.
Can you recommend any good books for textiles lovers?
A really good inspiring book would be from my favourite Australian artist Del-Kathryn Barton, ‘The Nightingale and the Rose’. It contains her paintings and drawings and her art is so beautiful.
You can follow Shakirra on Instagram here.