Interior uniqueness lurks in handmade décor cozy details that are perfect in form and in content. But finding ourselves in a new space, we evaluate the entire atmosphere and are impressed by some special and unique pieces in the interior.
We are impressed by exclusive works of Hugs&Kisses.
Being in a house of Ukrainian designer of patchwork accessories Alena Malitskaya, one immediately falls in love with all her works: patched plaids, table-clothes, soft toys. The talented patchwork master, extremely interesting and passionate person, happy woman, wonderful mother, the owner of a gorgeous cat and a little dog told IDEADESIGN about her work, meditation and the role of her cat in Hugs&Kisses brand establishment.
Patchwork is sewing of patches of various fabrics that differ in pattern, color and texture. This technique allows creating gorgeous plaids, cushions and even cloths.
Many little girls used to sew dresses for their lovely dolls of their mom’s long-sleeved dresses. But far from everybody has become a patchwork master. Would you tell us what inspired you to start creating your patched masterpieces?
A couple of years ago in a needlework store I came across with a large patchwork book with stunning photographs. “Why not create something like this?”, I thought. And then I moved to my first patchwork lesson. I came to my second lesson realizing that this passion is not accidental in my life. Since then I’ve been improving my skill, creating new pieces. I was attracted by embroidery before so my hand-made experience makes up 13 years!
Do you create the plaids’ design, patterns and color combinations on your own? What are you inspired by?
This is miracle: when I see fabric, patters start taking shape in my head. I take a scrap in my hands and immediately feel what fabrics from my collection will match and what story it will tell the world. The blocks forming the plaid are driven by intuition.
Patchwork is great as a master can follow some canons but also can take his own way. I make classic things, and spend much time studying traditions of famous masters. But I dream sometimes I’d be able to develop complex compositions and patterns and print fabrics. If you have your own recognizable style – this is a symbol of the highest skill and perfect technique.
Can you emphasize schools and masters in patchwork?
Yes, just like in art and literature (smiles). Each patchwork school is distinguished by fabrics design, special stitches, and recognizable color combinations. For instance, master Jinny Beyer uses rich colors and border ornaments, creates patterns and makes fabrics. Her master-classes are very popular around the world. Although her color combinations are not reference for me, I pleasantly use basic fabrics from her collections.
For instance, in USA where patchwork today represents the whole industry, patchwork blankets are often created in tandem. One master sews “sandwiches “, invents pattern and assembles the right side; the other one uses stitch, and this is art as well. Easy-running stitch is great. It can emphasize the beauty of plaid, add plasticity or compact a product, if it is a bedspread, for example.
I’m interested in creating a product by myself and put a piece of inspiration in any process. This is the essence.
Hand-made décor is becoming more popular in Ukraine. But at the same time there is an opinion that patchwork is a grandma’s scrappy blankets, something like greeting from the past…
Yes, many of us still care about loud brand on the label, we must “be in trend” (laughs). But I think that a person has passion to hand-made or doesn’t have it at all. And the level of income, intellect or social status has nothing to do with it. This is like passion to classic music – many people are totally satisfied by ordinary FM-frequency.
In my house the expensive interior elements are harmonized with designer’s pieces and hand-made, which are priceless. These things create comfort. This panel in a dining room was sewed by me. I like being in interesting and live houses with the interior speaking language of the residents but not the shiny magazines.
How much time does it take you to create one plaid?
I’ve even downloaded a special application – the time indicator! (laughs). I switch the timer when I start working and I turn it off when I’m distracted.
Each product has its unique timing. Because I spend time with needle only hours of inspiration – more often in the evening or at night, when my family is sleeping and nobody can pull me out of nirvana.
So this is not only patchwork but meditation as well?
Immersion to the world of colorful scraps and beautiful patterns is an escape and creative flight beyond time and space.
When I take fabric and a needle in my hands, I become disconnected from the news flow and tuned to an absolutely different wave. I can only think about what character my next fairy rabbit is going to be, and which product will look good with a new flower print. When I create pieces for my friends, I sink into our good memories or imagine them happy.
I guess this was the reason why our great-grandmas and grandmas appreciated hand-made women’s tedious toil, handed down their skills from generation to generation, and traditionally assigned embroidering and knitting skills to women.
Do you have your favorite workpiece?
I love all of them! My current passion is Tilda dolls. This is so exciting. Because each animal (a rabbit, a cat or a frog) has its own character and face as I create them for a definite person trying to reflect his passions and even his garb sometimes (smiles and then shows her new work – Tilda rabbit that she’s made with her daughter).
Do you buy materials, instruments and fabrics in Kiev?
Unfortunately, in Ukraine there is no production of fabrics and materials and this is great success to buy something in Kiev because of a poor assortment and unreasonable prices. That’s why I buy fabrics for patchwork mostly during my trips. It often happens when I go to the handicraft store directly from the airport and wondering there for hours! (smiles). There is a huge assortment.
Fabrics for patchwork have special thickness, thread weave and pigments. I prefer American and Japanese fabrics. I can feel by touch where fabric came from: American one is rather rough and Japanese one is soft and silky.
In addition to special threads, needles and pins I also use a knife, a ruler, and a matt rug for cutting. Gloves are very important! Yes, they are also special! They prevent fabrics from slipping from my hands. Patchwork is so delicate matter that one shouldn’t skimp on these things.
Do you have a special nook for work in your house?
Oh, yes! I’m going to show you my sanctuary – workshop where I create.
The design is totally mine. And I made my best. My particular pride is a cutting table. It must conform to a master’s height – I understood this at the lectures in Kiev bending over a writing table (laughs).
And this the main muzzle of this room – Peach! (Alena points to a gorgeous Maine Coon who sits on one of her plaids. It turned out that Alena’s cat made her first work his own sleeping place).
When I work, my cat is always here. He lies in the corner of my working table or takes his pedestal on the plaid. He is a direct participant of the working process. In general, I guess each house should have an animal – a canary or a tiny fish at least! (laughs).