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For the past decade, artist Yumi Okita has been making insects out of fiber. She creates elaborate designs of moths and butterflies out of bright threads and fabrics. Artist Statement: “I have always been fascinated by objects that look frail, yet hide their strength and ferocity — beautiful and yet hideous, like insects and plants,” as quoted on DeMilked.

Yumi said, “My background is in 3D fine art (ceramics), but I lost interest after school. I wanted to try something different, so I began experimenting with fabric—specifically, some antique kimonos I had brought back from Japan—to create purses and other small leather goods. Then I became interested in designing my fabric and began hand-dying and painting cloth. My bags evolved into more sculptural works as I emphasized shape, texture, and pattern more than their actual practical use. I added the embroidery on one of the moth sculptures to one of the bags I produced. Upon observing the attention paid to my mouth, I decided it had to be set free from its confinement in a bag, which led to the creation of the current collection of works. The insect’s wing developed more and more complicated features throughout time.

Yumi said, “I majored in three-dimensional fine art (ceramics) in college, but I lost interest in the field after graduation. I needed a change, so I experimented with some antique kimonos I had brought back from Japan and began making purses and other small leather goods. After that, I was interested in making my textiles and began hand-dyeing and painting them. My handbags evolved into more sculptural works as I prioritized form, texture, and pattern over practicality. A moth sculpture I stitched was affixed to one of the bags I produced. When I noticed that people were touching my mouth, I knew it had to fly free, and that’s how I came up with the pieces I’ve made so far. The insect’s wing evolved into a complex pattern throughout time.

Yumi told us, “When I start a project, I don’t draw; I generally settle on the form and colors in my thoughts, and then I start stitching.” For me, embroidery is akin to other forms of artistic expression, such as painting. My art relies heavily on the time-consuming technique of hand-stitching individual threads of different colors to build up layers of depth and texture.

View some examples of her brilliant work in the gallery. Don’t forget to stop by her Etsy site if you’re interested in purchasing any of her wares.

More info: Instgram | Etsy | h/t

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