We interviewed Olga Prinku, an artisan talent who creates breathtaking embroidery with wool, tulle and flowers. A lively and interesting interview, which makes us understand the beauty of handmade and love for creativity and design. Embroidery, through her works, becomes trendy; the designer embroiders delicate and dreaming worlds, totally innovative, creating a modern concept of embroidery.
Could you tell me about you, your background, your passions…
I grew up in the Republic of Moldova, which was part of the Soviet Union during my childhood. I’ve lived in the UK now for about a decade and a half, with my husband and our son. I’ve always had a passion for visual creativity – I studied graphic design and I’ve especially enjoyed working on jobs such as logo design and layouts for an interiors magazine. Other than creating things I enjoy looking at, my passion is walking and being in nature.
I love your embroidery. How did you start working with crochet and knitting?
Thank you! I started when I took some time off working when I was pregnant with my son. My stepmother taught me how to crochet and knit. Initially I wanted to learn how to knit a chunky woollen hat for my son. I found it very enjoyable and people kept asking me where I’d bought the hat, so I started knitting more pieces and offering them for sale on a couple of craft platforms. It was styling photographs for my knitted goods that first got me into wreath-making, and from there botanical art.
What do you take inspiration from for your work?
From nature, both walks and my garden. I’m lucky enough to live very close to varied places to walk, including the moors and the coast, and I enjoy foraging for wildflowers and foliage to use in my art. Throughout the changing of the seasons there’s always something to be inspired by. I also enjoy spending time in my garden and cultivating flowers I can dry for later use.
Do you work only on tulle for your embroidery?
For now yes, but I used some other materials before like wire mesh and loose knitted twine. In fact flowers on tulle has become my signature look that I’m in the process of trademarking. I love the delicate effect of flowers almost floating that it creates. All the other materials were much more dominant and more difficult to achieve the transparency I’m looking for. But I’m always open to trying new ideas both with tulle and perhaps something different I might come across in the future.
How much did social media influence your work?
A huge amount. It was feedback from the community on Instagram that led me to pursue certain directions more than others. First I found that I was getting a lot of comments on the winter wreaths I used to style my knitted goods in photos I posted. So I started experimenting more with wreath-making. And then when I started doing embroidery with flowers on tulle, it was encouraging feedback from my Instagram followers that made me continue experimenting and coming up with new ideas.
Have you always loved botanical art?
I’ve always loved flowers – my very first job as a student was at a florist shop. But it’s mostly since I started doing botanical art myself that I’ve discovered so many other amazing other artists doing spectacular work with flowers. I especially love the work of Rebecca Louise Law and Vanessa Hogge.
How did you come to use real organic material?
I was using organic material for wreath making and my flowers on tulle embroidery was a progression of that. The idea was something that first came to me in a dream, and I didn’t know whether or not it would work until I experimented with it. By trial and error I discovered that it’s better to work with dry flowers rather than fresh, as fresh flowers will shrink as they dry and you can’t be confident what the final design will look like. As I’ve progressed, I’ve come to learn which flowers work best and what other kinds of organic material I can complement them with.
How long do you usually spend creating your work?
It all depends on whether I get into a state of flow. There are days when everything seems to go smoothly and effortlessly, and other days when I can’t seem to translate the picture in my head into reality, or when I keep breaking the flowers. When that happens I find it’s best to take a break and come back to it again later. For smaller pieces if can be from a day to a few days. But I’m also starting to work on much bigger frames inspired by floral tapestries and those take a very long time to complete.
Who buys your work?
When my work started to become popular on Instagram I received requests for commissions from all kinds of people, but recently I’ve started to move away from taking private commissions and concentrate on working with commercial clients and video tutorials. I’ve collaborated with some amazing brands including Swarovski and Anthropologie, and if people fancy trying their hand at flowers on tulle embroidery they should check out my website prinku.com/tutorials.
Close your eyes. An object or a shape that makes you think of your country?
Well, I guess I have two countries now – Moldova, where I grew up, and England, where I’ve made my home. I would say that for Moldova it would be the folk embroidery patterns that are typical of the national costumes that can be either floral or geometric. For England it would have to be the rolling hills of the Lake District, a very distinctive landscape and my favourite place to go walking.