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Olga Prinku

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Olga Prinku

I live in a village in North Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. It’s close to the North York Moors, the Yorkshire Dales and also the coast. I’m fortunate to have lots of opportunities near where I live to go for walks in the countryside, where I can draw ideas and inspiration from whatever is growing at the time, as well as from the beautiful landscapes. I’ve lived in the UK for over a decade now, with my husband and our son.

Olga Prinku

I was born in the Republic of Moldova and spent my childhood there, initially when it was still part of the Soviet Union and then in the years after the Soviet Union broke up. It was a time of economic upheaval and uncertainty, when there wasn’t a reliable selection of products in the shops and people were looking for ways to earn a living. My mum used to bring home various things to work on—I remember evenings she spent with her sewing machine sewing men’s underwear, and other evenings I spent helping her to sand down metal parts for chandeliers.

At one point my mum got into importing wool. We lived in a small apartment and my room was full to the ceiling with wool. She used to knit jumpers for me with leftover wool from her business. Oddly, I never learned to knit at the time. I finally learned to knit years later when I was starting a family myself, as I wanted to make woolen clothes for my own child.

Olga Prinku

It was the woolly winter hats I made for my then-infant son that started me on my crafting journey seven years ago. A few people asked where I’d bought them, so I thought of making more knitted goods such as Christmas stockings to offer for sale on online platforms such as Etsy. It seemed like something I could do whenever I had some spare time during the year. I have a degree in graphic design and over the years I’ve worked as a graphic designer on various projects including branding, logo design, typography and layouts for a home interiors magazine. It involves a lot of the same skills and creative thinking processes.

Olga Prinku

I started an Instagram account initially with the thought of showcasing the knitted goods, and I made some Christmas wreaths to style the photographs. But I soon found I was getting more comments on the wreaths, and that got me started thinking more about ideas related to doing art with flowers. I made some more experiments and posted them on Instagram, and that was a great form of feedback. Gradually I came to the idea of floral embroidery hoops, which is my main medium now.

Olga Prinku

Strange as it sounds, the idea of weaving flowers into some kind of mesh first came to me in a dream—I’m not aware of having come across weaving flowers before my dream. I woke up wondering if it would work in reality. My first attempt was with fresh flowers and the kind of garden sieve you use for getting little stones out of soil. Soon I thought of trying it on tulle stretched across an embroidery hoop, and that worked well. I realized that there’s a drawback with using fresh flowers—you can’t predict exactly how they’ll look when they dry. So I started using dry flowers instead. Sometimes I buy dried flowers online, but much of what I work with are natural materials that I’ve found and gathered locally and preserved.

Olga Prinku
I love this letterform of the letter M. It’s the first time I used an all-white palette; plus my son’s name starts with an M, so it’s one of my favorites.

The process really begins with foraging for the natural material, gathering and drying them—there are some things I collect a lot of in autumn, for example, because I know I’ll use them in many of my designs, particularly berries such as rowan, pyracantha, red holly and dry seed pods.

I don’t really feel that I have a style, more that I’m led by the materials I have available to work with; though one could describe much of my style as geometrical, in that it involves playing around with shapes within a circle.

Olga Prinku

When it comes to creating, I don’t usually plan in advance what pattern of design I’m aiming for, I just decide on the size of hoop and a colour palette, then lay out the flowers and foliage and other materials. I stretch out the tulle over the hoop, and that’s a blank canvas. I’ll start to randomly place elements, and adjust and rearrange as I go along. Sometimes I rearrange individual items several times as the design starts to take shape and I can picture more clearly in my mind what balance I’m looking for in terms of distribution of shapes and colours. After I’m happy with the overall look of a piece, I seal it, which helps to hold the flowers in place as I move it about.

Olga Prinku

The idea of weaving flowers into some kind of mesh came to me in a dream.

Moldova was part of Romania for much of its history before it became part of the Soviet Union, so I grew up in a culture with both Romanian and Russian influences. I sometimes loosely draw on some of the shapes and colours and patterns you see in khokhloma, a traditional folk art used in handicrafts, for inspiration with my floral hoop designs. If you Google “Moldovan traditional dress,” you’ll see an influence that’s related to the Romanian part of Moldova’s cultural heritage—it’s delicate, intricate embroidery typically on a white blouse. I would love one day to see if I could recreate something similar using flowers for the embroidery—though it would be an indulgence, as you’d only be able to wear it once!

Olga Prinku

I would have to say the biggest contribution to my development as an artist has been Instagram. I wouldn’t even have started on floral art without encouragement from the community I interact with on Instagram. There’s obviously been a lot of comment recently about the mixed impacts of social media on society and individuals, and I definitely empathise with those concerns, but when it works well, Instagram can be an amazing place to get immediate feedback on what strikes a chord, and that can suggest new directions to explore.

Olga Prinku

Don’t be afraid to experiment. I’ve often felt that I’ve drifted from one creative idea to another when I should have stuck longer at one thing, but with hindsight I can see how different ideas combined with each other and led into unforeseen directions. Ultimately you never know what will work and what will resonate with people!

“Look deep into nature and then you’ll understand things much better.”

— Albert Einstein

Olga Prinku

Olga Prinku

I live in a village in North Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. It’s close to the North York Moors, the Yorkshire Dales and also the coast. I’m fortunate to have lots of opportunities near where I live to go for walks in the countryside, where I can draw ideas and inspiration from whatever is growing at the time, as well as from the beautiful landscapes. I’ve lived in the UK for over a decade now, with my husband and our son.

Olga Prinku

I was born in the Republic of Moldova and spent my childhood there, initially when it was still part of the Soviet Union and then in the years after the Soviet Union broke up. It was a time of economic upheaval and uncertainty, when there wasn’t a reliable selection of products in the shops and people were looking for ways to earn a living. My mum used to bring home various things to work on—I remember evenings she spent with her sewing machine sewing men’s underwear, and other evenings I spent helping her to sand down metal parts for chandeliers.

At one point my mum got into importing wool. We lived in a small apartment and my room was full to the ceiling with wool. She used to knit jumpers for me with leftover wool from her business. Oddly, I never learned to knit at the time. I finally learned to knit years later when I was starting a family myself, as I wanted to make woolen clothes for my own child.

Olga Prinku

It was the woolly winter hats I made for my then-infant son that started me on my crafting journey seven years ago. A few people asked where I’d bought them, so I thought of making more knitted goods such as Christmas stockings to offer for sale on online platforms such as Etsy. It seemed like something I could do whenever I had some spare time during the year. I have a degree in graphic design and over the years I’ve worked as a graphic designer on various projects including branding, logo design, typography and layouts for a home interiors magazine. It involves a lot of the same skills and creative thinking processes.

Olga Prinku

I started an Instagram account initially with the thought of showcasing the knitted goods, and I made some Christmas wreaths to style the photographs. But I soon found I was getting more comments on the wreaths, and that got me started thinking more about ideas related to doing art with flowers. I made some more experiments and posted them on Instagram, and that was a great form of feedback. Gradually I came to the idea of floral embroidery hoops, which is my main medium now.

Olga Prinku

Strange as it sounds, the idea of weaving flowers into some kind of mesh first came to me in a dream—I’m not aware of having come across weaving flowers before my dream. I woke up wondering if it would work in reality. My first attempt was with fresh flowers and the kind of garden sieve you use for getting little stones out of soil. Soon I thought of trying it on tulle stretched across an embroidery hoop, and that worked well. I realized that there’s a drawback with using fresh flowers—you can’t predict exactly how they’ll look when they dry. So I started using dry flowers instead. Sometimes I buy dried flowers online, but much of what I work with are natural materials that I’ve found and gathered locally and preserved.

Olga Prinku
I love this letterform of the letter M. It’s the first time I used an all-white palette; plus my son’s name starts with an M, so it’s one of my favorites.

The process really begins with foraging for the natural material, gathering and drying them—there are some things I collect a lot of in autumn, for example, because I know I’ll use them in many of my designs, particularly berries such as rowan, pyracantha, red holly and dry seed pods.

I don’t really feel that I have a style, more that I’m led by the materials I have available to work with; though one could describe much of my style as geometrical, in that it involves playing around with shapes within a circle.

Olga Prinku

When it comes to creating, I don’t usually plan in advance what pattern of design I’m aiming for, I just decide on the size of hoop and a colour palette, then lay out the flowers and foliage and other materials. I stretch out the tulle over the hoop, and that’s a blank canvas. I’ll start to randomly place elements, and adjust and rearrange as I go along. Sometimes I rearrange individual items several times as the design starts to take shape and I can picture more clearly in my mind what balance I’m looking for in terms of distribution of shapes and colours. After I’m happy with the overall look of a piece, I seal it, which helps to hold the flowers in place as I move it about.

Olga Prinku

The idea of weaving flowers into some kind of mesh came to me in a dream.

Moldova was part of Romania for much of its history before it became part of the Soviet Union, so I grew up in a culture with both Romanian and Russian influences. I sometimes loosely draw on some of the shapes and colours and patterns you see in khokhloma, a traditional folk art used in handicrafts, for inspiration with my floral hoop designs. If you Google “Moldovan traditional dress,” you’ll see an influence that’s related to the Romanian part of Moldova’s cultural heritage—it’s delicate, intricate embroidery typically on a white blouse. I would love one day to see if I could recreate something similar using flowers for the embroidery—though it would be an indulgence, as you’d only be able to wear it once!

Olga Prinku

I would have to say the biggest contribution to my development as an artist has been Instagram. I wouldn’t even have started on floral art without encouragement from the community I interact with on Instagram. There’s obviously been a lot of comment recently about the mixed impacts of social media on society and individuals, and I definitely empathise with those concerns, but when it works well, Instagram can be an amazing place to get immediate feedback on what strikes a chord, and that can suggest new directions to explore.

Olga Prinku

Don’t be afraid to experiment. I’ve often felt that I’ve drifted from one creative idea to another when I should have stuck longer at one thing, but with hindsight I can see how different ideas combined with each other and led into unforeseen directions. Ultimately you never know what will work and what will resonate with people!

“Look deep into nature and then you’ll understand things much better.”

— Albert Einstein

Olga Prinku

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