When I spotted Natalya Aikens’ beautifully-quilted artwork at The Other Art Fair in Brooklyn, I was utterly charmed. Her subjects – skyscrapers, buildings, bridges, water towers, and fire escapes – satisfy the native New Yorker in me on a positively molecular level. But when she told me the embroidered piece I was admiring was actually done on used plastic shopping bags, I loved them even more.
Aikens’ process is incredibly complex. Taking her inspiration from the city’s architecture, she begins by photographs her subjects, then manipulates them in Photoshop until she’s got the basic shape down. She then begins creating her canvas by layering materials like vintage linens, fabric scraps, and plastic shopping bags. After sketching her design on the newly-made canvas, Aikens begins to sew, first on her machine, then by hand, spending “many hours of meditative hand stitching on all the intimate details.” All that attention to detail really pays off. Her finished works are truly spectacular, richly-textured renderings of the city we both love.
All images property of Natalya Aikens, used with permission.