Using recycled and repurposed plastic and other materials, fiber artist Natalya Aikens stitches fantastic city and architectural scenes. See more of her work by visiting her website.
I am a person of two worlds; the world I was born in and the world I live in now. I was born in and grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1979 my family immigrated to the US and I grew up in New York City. Both places are fully ingrained in my psyche and feed my artistic expression every day.
I started my art journey by exploring my Russian heritage, folklore and decorative traditions. When I began incorporating the architecture of St. Petersburg into my art, I started to recycle and repurpose materials such as my grandmothers’ vintage linens, lace and fabric scraps. Now I am channeling what New York City is throwing my way and I am stitching skyscrapers, bridges and fire escapes out of repurposed plastic.
Today I stitch with abandon and am trying to use my raw material in the most authentic ways. I collage and layer, sketch and stitch by hand and machine.
My camera helps me see and Photoshop helps rearrange what I see. I use my sewing machine for thread painting and the many hours of meditative hand stitching are what help bring my emotional connection to the forefront.
I have a few goals and they are always evolving. I wish to celebrate the beauty of the cities around me and showcase their intimate moments.
I wish to use materials that are plentiful in this modern world, and yet are destructive to it when they are discarded. It’s my small way of helping and I hope to inspire others to do the same.
At this time, I am exploring and experimenting with the materials that I use. I am making large repurposed plastic art where I am incorporating subtle statements about the need for conservation and recycling.
I am also making small, intimate home portraits that utilize the ephemera of everyday life.
I find myself inspired by almost anything: rusty patches on wrought iron railings, cracks in the pavement, muscular spans of iron on bridge overpasses, moss growing between paving stones, reflections on plate glass windows, graffiti fading on brick walls, peeling paint on wood doors, shadows cast by fire escapes, fading street signs, rain on windshields, towering skyscrapers, run-down bodegas, nubs in vintage linen and lace, nests of snipped threads, and puckers between stitches.