Saskia Wassing in her Toronto Studio
I'm not sure exactly when in the 1990's I met Saskia Wassing? And I'm not sure she remembers either? That was a long time ago now. It could have been at one of the very first years I did the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair? Or we met via the West End Studio Tour, which is now defunct, but used to run every Fall in the Roncesvalles area of Toronto's west end. It started in the mid-90's and ran until about 2005, I think? I was a guest artist at Saskia's house every Fall, for as long as I participated in the show.
West End Studio Tour invitation from 1997
Saskia's work is the star-shaped ottoman on the top row
My image is bottom row, second last image of my Peggy Bracelets,
(which were discontinued from my line long ago).
So many wonderful artists were a part of that tour, many of whom are still making work today. Karen Franzen, ceramic artist, is also on this invitation (top row, first image) and she will be featured in a later Artisan Profile!
Saskia was the first embroidery person I knew who described her work as:
"richly embroidered using her basic domestic sewing machine as a drawing tool, freely stitching to build up the detailed lines, textures and colours to complete the artwork."
I had never heard of someone using a sewing machine as a "drawing tool".
Embroidery to me meant, bare linen or plain cotton fabric encased in an embroidery hoop, with screened or drawn images that you hand embroidered with different colours of embroidery floss and various stitching techniques - all using a straight needle. I did a ton of it when I was young. I was totally fascinated that she took a sewing machine and turned it into a drawing tool! What an interesting way to use a sewing machine.
Saskia loves to draw and always has a sketch book nearby. She often starts her ideas on paper, but as much as she loves drawing, working with threads and fabrics is where she feels the most creative.
Heart Ornaments $35.00
Each heart ornament has a unique hand-embroidered design inspired by Saskia's drawings of nature. They can be used all year as a special heartfelt piece to share the love. They are made from repurposed, up-cycled and felted wools that had been sweaters in their previous lives. The back of the heart is plain. The stuffing is chopped scraps of the repurposed felted woolens. The heart itself measures 2.75” x 2.75” x .75” and has a 3” hanging loop in cotton brocade or natural suede.
Silk Baby Bird ornaments $39.00
These wee birdie ornaments celebrate Saskia's love of birds. Each has unique embroidered design details inspired by her drawings from nature. Both sides of the bird are detailed in the same way. Bright colourful and metallic threads are embroidered onto appliquéd silks using a basic domestic sewing machine as a drawing tool, enabling Saskia to stitch freely over the surface. Each bird is original, carefully and individually made as a little piece of textile art to decorate and celebrate any season and occasion. The birds measure 3.5” beak to tail, approx. 2.25” head to tummy, with a suede or brocade hanging loop approx. 2.5” high.
Saskia also absolutely loves colour. Originally from England, she loves to chat over a cup of tea, but when it comes to how she see things, stitching her colourful pieces is how she hopes to share feelings of joy and appreciation of life.
Some of Saskia's other detailed and colourful work you'll find at my Studio Holiday Show:
Dot Line Tea Cozy $69.00
Each cozy has a unique embroidered line created from hand cut felt circles that are held in place with stitch. The body of the cozy is in a bright classic red, the dots are in a bright rainbow mix of colours. The back of the cozy is embroidered with the phrase ‘Enjoy’. The inside woolen liner is signed by Saskia with blue embroidery. This tea cozy is a totally practical item, is washable (instructions included with cozy) and made to be enjoyed by tea lovers for years to come. The Dot Line Cozy is perfect for a mid sized teapot and measures 12"x 9.5“ x 1/2"deep.
Balancing Teatime $899.00
This piece is inspired by the NZ Fantail, a friendly bird that loves to fly around you as you walk in the bush. Here, their natural plumage is reimagined to suit their colourful, joyous character and combined with the playful balancing teacup and pot. This celebrates the rituals and memories of domestic life with family and friends. The work is created by layering and appliquéing silks to create a ground that is then richly embroidered using a basic domestic sewing machine as a drawing tool, freely stitching to build up the detailed lines, textures and colours to complete the artwork. The oval embroidery measures 9.5” x 13.5” mounted on an acid free mat, within a contemporary white wood 16”x 20”frame, ready to hang.
Silk Bird ornaments $59.00
These decorative ornaments celebrate Saskia's love of birds which capture her imagination with their colourful plumage, habitats and rituals. Bright and metallic threads are embroidered onto appliquéd silks using a basic domestic sewing machine as a drawing tool, enabling Saskia to stitch freely over the surface. Each bird is unique, carefully and individually made as a little piece of textile art to decorate and celebrate any season and occasion. The birds measure 5” beak to tail, 2.5” head to tummy, with a hanging loop approximately 3” high.
I am so happy to welcome Saskia to my Annual Studio Holiday Show. The details in each unique piece really have to be seen in real life to be appreciated. As much as the images here show you how colourful and unique they all are, I encourage you to book your studio appointment, to have an up close and personal look to really appreciate the amazing handwork in each piece.
And speaking of appointment bookings...still figuring out my online booking calendar....so MANY to choose from, and all I want is a really simple calendar, which is proving harder to find that I thought it would be! So for the time being, you can email or call to book your one-hour appointment (up to 4 people/one hour group), starting Thursday, November 25th at Noon.
Lisa's Annual Artisan Holiday Studio Show Details:
Thursday, November 25 - Thursday, December 23, 2021
Weekdays: Noon - 7:00 pm
Weekends: Noon - 5:00 pm
If you wish to come outside of the posted hours, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (416-537-8479) to arrange.
Looking forward to seeing you, beginning in a couple of weeks.