As Lovely As They Come: Shakirra Rees Hand Embroidery
Congratulations @xeniaalcazar !
We are pleased to announce you are the winner of our giveaway competition for the above Shakirra Rees hand embroidered heart tee! Shakirra will be in touch soon.
A huge thanks to everyone who entered, we appreciate your engagement and help in supporting a creative cause!
19 year old Australian artist and designer Shakirra Rees (pictured directly above) lovingly hand embroiders her quirky and wistful designs onto T shirts and wall hangings. Hearts, roses and the female nude embellish oversized, boxy tee’s in her distinctly delicate stitches. Each piece is individually hand stitched and takes hours to create; a complete one of a kind.
The shirt above, modelled by the artist, has been especially designed by Shakirra as a giveaway in conjunction with The Fiber Studio. The competition will run from 9th August ’17 for two weeks, via Instagram. Find out how to win below the Q&A session with the artist.
Describe your style and tell us about how it evolved.
My style is quirky but also contemporary. I use a-lot of thin, imperfect lines; I don’t like everything to be exact. When it comes to colour I tend to stick to a theme – mostly pinks, reds, neutrals and simple black lines. It evolved from my first ever artistic work which was my wall art series inspired by Del-Kathryn Barton. I used a-lot of thin lines and very minimal colour.
I also love to illustrate unusual portraits, using imperfect lines and alien-like eyes. But I am still figuring out my style, it’s a long and confusing process. I hope it evolves into something that’s a bit weird and quirky, a style that everybody loves.
When did you decide to start selling your work and how did you go about it? It can often be hard to take the first steps in putting your work out there, what were the stumbling blocks and learning curves for you?
Well it started from my HSC, that’s where I learnt how to embroider. At first it took me a whole night just to embroider a small rose onto a white T-shirt (right). When I posted it on my personal Instagram page a lot of people commented saying they wanted one, so that’s how I got started.
After that I made a list of 30 people that wanted to order a shirt, intending to work down the list making all the shirts to order, but I realised I was never going to get them all finished in a month… None of the customers had paid at that point so I decided to go back and message everyone individually to let them know I wasn’t going to be able to complete their order. Very embarrassing but it was the right choice to make. (So sorry to everyone on that list!)
I also learnt that I should have bought good quality tee’s from the start if I was really going to be serious about turning this into a business. I also didn’t use any interfacing at the beginning to make the embroidery neat (it’s kind of tricky to embroider neatly on a t-shirt).
When I look back now to the first few shirts I sold I know that they weren’t the best! But yeah, it’s all learning and obviously I hadn’t been embroidering for very long.
A huge problem that a lot of embroidery artists/makers face is pricing – how do you arrive at your prices and do you think a lot of embroidery artists undervalue their work?
Yes this is a big problem for me. I try to make my prices reasonable, but I should be charging a lot more for my work as it can take up to 6+ hours. I charge about $90 a shirt, and I have had a lot of customers enquiring about purchasing a t-shirt and then when I tell them the price they never get back to me. I think that a lot of people assume handmade items from small businesses are going to be cheap.
It’s a shame that people are willing to go to the local shopping centre and buy a shirt from a fashion store that has just gone through a massive printing machine that takes a few seconds to make, but are not willing to pay for something that has been stitched by hand and has taken hours to complete.
I think a lot of creative people at some point have to lower their prices just to make quick sales, pay the bills and get through the week without stressing. It really sucks sometimes! But I think the people that really appreciate the hard work and time that goes into each piece, are the people that deserve to own your art. They will be the lovely people to support you through your journey. It’s worth sticking to what you know is the true value of your work, and waiting for the right customer.
Social media is a really important tool for aspiring artists and designers, especially Instagram when it comes to
highly visual brands. Your Instagram feed is beautifully curated – do you have any tips – photography or otherwise?
Yes! I love Instagram, I use it so much. It’s really the only social media platform I use (I have Facebook, but I’m not a huge fan of it). It’s important to make a certain theme for your businessInstagram page. I make sure I have a certain colour scheme to my Instagram, which is pinks, neutrals, & reds. Pink and red is my favourite colour combo at the moment, so I have been incorporating that into my feed.
My photography tips would probably be;
– keep the photos raw, don’t edit it too much.
– I don’t post any dark photos, I really like to use natural light, no dark shadows or bad quality pictures.
– Crops – I crop an image I have already posted before and it kind of transforms it into a new photo whilst keeping your Instagram feed cohesive, kind of like a detail shot.
– Post other people’s pretty art to tie in the colours of your theme, it’s a great way to support & share the artists’ works that you love, just don’t forget to credit their work!
– Post regularly (but not too much)
– Film photography; I love film photos, it gives a really cool natural vibe
Who are all the models in your pictures? And is it you behind the camera or someone else?
So this is the first shoot I’ve done, I think it went really well, it’s a very cute girly vibe! All photos are 35mm film and you can check it out on my website. I didn’t take the photos, my lovely friend Olivia did! The models are all individually different and beautiful and that’s why the pics turned out so well! Loren is my close friend, and the other lovely ladies, Atia and Laura I contacted through Instagram. The models were really kind to help me out as my business is only small. I paid them with a hand embroidered tee, design of their choice!
Do you have any collaborations coming up or a new line of designs we should watch out for?
Yes I have a really exciting collaboration coming up with Artist Elle-Louise Burguez! Elle is from Brisbane, Australia. It is going to be really cute, Elle will be painting and I’ll be embroidering her designs onto tee’s & more. Elle: ‘My paintings are an expression of my intuition, desires, deep moods and love. My paintings are simple yet at the same time can hold many complex stories within them’.
I do have some new stuff coming soon & I have new PINK + RED shirt colours. I’ll be trying out some cute stuff like added flared sleeves, new embroidered designs, pouches, totes? I have some other ideas in mind, but I won’t give too much away.
See more of Shakirra’s work at www.shakirrahandmade.com
And follow her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/shakirra.rees/
Hand Embroidered Tee Giveaway, worth $90
How To Enter
1. Follow Shakirra Rees on Instagram
2. Repost the competition image (pictured above)
3. Include the hashtag #Shakirrareesgiveaway in the caption
The competition will run for two weeks from 9th August to 23rd August. We’ll announce the end of the competition via Instagram, when you’ll be directed back to The Fiber Studio Blog to find out if you’ve won. The winner will be chosen at random. Entries from all countries are welcome. The prize is the actual shirt pictured in the image, size large.