I am Malwina. I am an independent crafter who believes that beautiful things can make a difference in everyday life.
Rania Hassan is a well known Washington DC artist who has mastered three art forms at once. She is a graphic designer and illustrator, a painter, and a knitter, and she has found a way to integrate all three of her skills into her artwork, under the label goshdarnknit.
Her whimsical illustrations of big-eyed, somber girls and tangled, beautiful botanicals are individually hand printed on Moleskin notebooks in various sizes. She also prints her images on neoprene lunch bags, also individually and by hand.
Her other skills come into play with what she calls her “knit paintings.” Unique collaborations between flat and three-dimensional mediums, her paintings depict two pairs of hands in the act of knitting. The two sets of hands share the knitted fabric, working on the same piece from both ends.
Like many new knitters, when Rania first learned to knit she became obsessed. Obsessed with yarn, with the process, with the seemingly endless patterns and designs to be made from just one stitch and just one length of yarn.
Unlike most new knitters, she translated that obsession into artwork that transcends the fiber and the process. She was intrigued by the community of knitters, and how the act of knitting connected individuals across physical and generational boundaries. Her knit paintings evoke those connections in a pretty, visual, and tactile way.
Originally from New York City, Rania has studied and traveled all over the world, and is now settled in Washington, DC. She has served as an art director for extremely esteemed institutions, including the Shakespeare Theatre, the United Nations, and the White House.
She’s also been awarded the prestigious Craft Award of Distinction for Fiber from the James Renwick Alliance, and an Artist Fellowship Grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Not only has she mastered her mediums, people have noticed!
You can find Rania’s illustrated Moleskine notebooks and her paintings in her online shop, and at many DC-area fine art and craft shows. Visit her web site for news regarding exhibitions and installations of her paintings.
I am a sucker for quirky illustrations, so I just love these embroidered pillows! Jacky who’s namesake shop, Jacqueline Turpin Handmade, uses her background in Interior Design to create unique home and personal accessories with an illustrative twist. Her shop ranges from her illustrated embroidered cushions to adorable felt brooches.
Born and raised in Swansea, Wales, it was a move to rural France, when she found herself without a day job, that brought her the opportunity to explore her creative passions. She was considering illustration, but came across free-motion stitching, and from there re-discovered her love of sewing. Jacky has a B.A degree in 3D Design from Buckinghamshire collage and spent 12 years in Hong Kong working as an Interior designer and as a Interior stylist for an architectural firm before moving to France with her family.
My favorite item at the moment is probably the bunting. I’m pleased with the way it turned out, and think it is something people can use over. Saying that, I also have a fondness for the old lady and school girl figures – they remind me of my childhood in the UK.
My influences are memories of home, 1970s/80s Britain. I have always loved vintage 30s – 50s decor.
She’s currently only selling online, but hopes to visit some local deco type shops soon to see if they would be interested in stocking a few pieces for a trial. You can also find Jacky at her website. She’s had no sales yet, so let’s help give her a kickstart!
Patricia Woodhouse is the owner of Bead Obsessions, Old Town Alexandria’s first bead shop. She’s also been a designer and needlework artist for more than fifteen years. Although she has been making things her whole life, her journey towards bead obsession began in the early ’90s, when she took a class on knitting with beads.
She fell in love with the technique, and quickly became interested in all types of needlework and embroidery, but especially any that involved beading. She formed a beading group with women she met in class, and together they experimented with design, and shared techniques, stitches, and sources for the best materials.
Since learning how to weave and embroider with beads, Patricia has favored extremely detailed work featuring hundreds of seed beads. She compares seed beads in bead work to pixels in a photograph: the more per inch, the more vibrant and interesting the final image.
Patricia has never been interested in selling her work; embroidery and beading and all her needlework was only ever a hobby, but one she adored. However, in 2005 she became weary of working in an office, and frustrated with the frequent buyouts and uncertainty that went along with the corporate world. At the time, there was no other bead shop in Alexandria, Virginia, and Patricia saw her opportunity.
Bead Obsessions was opened in 2005, with the goal of catering to beaders like Patricia: artists who loved to focus on the details, and wanted to create complex, decorative arts pieces in addition to wearable jewelry and accessories.
In addition to a wide variety of seed beads, Patricia’s store stocks glass, lampwork, and semiprecious beads, craft and precious metal wire, plus all the tools, notions and books and magazines needed to create art with beads.
Bead Obsessions is also all about getting others obsessed with beads, and therefore there is a class going on nearly every day! Patricia teaches many of the classes herself, but also recruits locally and nationally famous bead artists to teach classes as well. The day I visited, bead artist Amy Katz was leading a small group in making a bracelet. The bracelet, an original design of Amy’s, features glass pearls and seemingly millions of seed beads. The technique uses a peyote stitch to create bezels around the pearls, and is incredibly labor-intensive, but produces incredibly gorgeous results.
The extensive class schedule includes sessions for all levels of beaders, and does not focus only on embroidery and needlework. You’ll also find classes on making chain maille, knotting and stringing beads, metal work, wire work, and wire crochet.
Bead Obsessions is located in Alexandria, Virginia at 619 South Washington Street, and is open six days a week.