Nod’s Creation – creating threads to stitch


The artist Estelle Delphin Lobel tells us how she creates unique threads to be embroidered..

Text Estelle Delphin Lobel, answering questions from Claire de Pourtalès


After a scientific training, I worked for many years in the field of marketing studies and consulting, on issues related to health and the environment.
And then there were many crossroads, … I wanted to weave something else. Not entirely by chance. The pleasures I had during my childhood had resurfaced: the piles of fabrics in my mother’s sewing workshop in the family home, the clicking of the Singer, the boxes of buttons, those, arranged by color, made of spools of threads. The scraps of fabric or the ends of ribbons that ended up in small works and the remains of wool in pompoms and knitting.

Estelle in her workshop

Embroidery came first through material and color, as with all the artistic activities that I have previously practiced as a hobby. In particular painting. In this area the color is almost obvious, the material sometimes less important, and yet that is what attracted me and I quite naturally turned to painting with a knife which allows for textural effects. My photos also reflect this attraction.
I am first seduced by a light, a relief, a material or a pattern.

My textile work is therefore characterized by a visual and tactile density which makes its identity. I work the embroidery threads in a very personal way, knotting them in chains, in order to obtain a more complex material. I accentuate this dynamic by inserting old trimmings or recycled fibers, cotton veil, gauze, silk, linen, jersey … plain or printed, as many wefts, textures and colors allowing to diversify the rendering. By working them together, the knots create a shine, a shadow, a gradation in tones or, on the contrary, a rupture. Yarns close in shades will give an infinite number of variations. Threads of contrasting colors will create, by mingling, color tensions. This new material is sewn in colorful and textured patterns, most often of naturalist inspiration (birds, insects, floral patterns, marine organisms …).

Chaines of knots
Beetle Brooches

This work, which I present under the signature Nod’s, is a long term job. The threads are not only tied before being embroidered, but they are enriched with recycled elements. Recycling fibers is an important component of my creations. Scraps of sewing work, clothes that had a first life, antique trimmings, so many traces of the past that bring new vitality to the raw material. Then the pattern comes to life, patiently, stitch after stitch, very closely juxtaposing the textile chains and working on the colors and textures according to the pattern and the desired effect. I claim a “slowmade” approach, not only in the realization of my creations, but also in their future. I want to create long-lasting, timeless jewelry and decorative objects that go beyond the fleeting desires of a season.

Regarding the creating process, I always have a lot of ideas in mind. Either because I saw a visual that caught my eye, or I was drawn to a fabric pattern, or just a thought that caught on. I start to compile photos on the subject. I keep it all organized in files on my computer. Sometimes the idea takes shape, sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes later. I then draw my pattern. And begins the long work of preparing my chains, depending on the palette. Like a painter, I prepare my colors. I need to prepare a lot of it to pick the shades that will best match what I have in mind. But I know I will do it again when making the design, because I will find that I am missing that black-tinted blue or ocher-tinted green. Finally, I stitch the chains on the fabric, most often linen but not always. It’s a job that can take tens of hours. On some patterns, I will combine my technique with more conventional embroidery stitches such as satin stitch, French knot or chain stitch. Sometimes I also add beads.

Bird-Flowers quilt (details)
Wall decorations – sardines (detail)

Depending on its final destination, the pattern is left as it is. For a painting for example, I directly embroider the canvas that will be the background, whereas for a pattern that will dress the back of an armchair, I stitch the cut fabric that will will then be installed by an upholsterer. Or I cut my pattern from its support and I make a nice leather finish on the back. This is the case for jewelry (brooch, necklace …) or wall pieces.
So I navigate between the decorative universe and the accessory universe, depending on my desires and also the subjects covered. And depending on the venue / trade fair, I put one or the other more forward or, on the contrary, I bridge the gap between the two. I also work on commission, and I would like to further develop this part of my activity, by working with decorators.

In terms of visual “foods”, besides nature, I have seen many exhibitions, art fairs, galleries, etc. Today, I have less time but I continue to go regularly to the Museum of Decorative Arts, and to rush (when it is not too late!) to all the exhibitions linked directly or indirectly to textiles. Regarding the artists who touch me, inspire me or whose work I follow, there is above all Sheila Hicks, whose creations have always fascinated me; also all the textile works of Louise Bourgeois and Annette Messager. I also really like the works and installations of Alexandra Kehayoglou, the embroidered paintings and volumes of Aurélie Mathigot. Also as embroiderers, Clémentine Brandidas and Kyoko Sugiura. And with networks, inevitably, we discover more artists every day!

Textile wall works
Jelly fish 3 – wall decoration

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Workshop : 21-23 rue des Fédérés, 93100 Montreuil (with appointment)

Photos © – Atelier: KSPhotographie and Estelle Delphin Lobel

The content of this site is free and is not damaged by un-welcomed publicity. I do this work with love and passion but it requires a lot of time. I would like to continue to offer a wider market to our artists, to show how embroidery is a wonderful art. But I do need a little bit of help. If you feel like it, you can participate with a little donation to help me continue. I will be so grateful! Thank you! Claire