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Fog & Swell's Stitched Creatures Capture West Coast Magic

Apr 4, 2012 at 3:00 PM Chime in now

Sea Urchins - A stack of sea urchin shells in natural and hand dyed linens.

Sea Urchins - A stack of sea urchin shells in natural and hand dyed linens

Kristy Pedersen’s stitched creatures capture the spirit of the West Coast and Vancouver Island where she is based. Her art is for "all those who enjoy nature from mountain peak to ocean floor, and the creatures that inhabit it with us". Visit her Etsy Store “Fog and Swell” to take a closer look at her marvellous creatures.

IV How do you describe your craft to people?
FS I make small creatures and stitched pieces inspired by nature, especially the west coast of British Columbia. And in turn, many people giVe me a strange look as they often don't understand what I'm taking about unless they get to see actual finished pieces. That's okay - I think soft sculpture is a quirky little niche which suits a quirky sort like myself!

iV What are some of inspirations behind your designs?
FS The West Coast landscape and inhabitants are obviously a big influence on my work, and I am attempting in some way to recreate all the creatures that ply the coast. I feel a strong connection to the environment around me and think it's important to maintain that - I have spent a lot of time since I was a little kid out exploring the natural world.

I worry that a lot of people nowadays don't have much of a relationship with nature. How can anyone be expected to care about the planet and its non-human inhabitants if they are quite isolated from the environment? I hope in some way my work might draw attention to- and appreciation for  - some of the amazing critters that we share this space with.

I am also inspired by traditional Japanese boro textiles and by other artists that find innovative and clever ways to re-use or repurpose materials.

iV What colours are catching your eye these days, and making their way into your work?
FS I try to stitch my creatures and other pieces in colours at least near what you see in nature, but certain colours definitely come to the forefront now and then. At this moment, I am particularly liking yellow, rich blues and grey-blues, but I can be set off on a completely new colour if something exciting comes out of the dye pot!

iV Do you draw from other media, like literature and music for inspiration in your art?
FS Photography is always an inspiration, especially that which giVes a window into the natural world. I often use my own photographs as a direct impetus for a piece, but it is the way others see landscapes, wildlife, and even the play of light over those things that can get my mind buzzing with new ideas.  I also read a lot of natural and local history books that draw me in to the rich culture of the coast. While online media can be a bit overwhelming at times, it can still be a great source of inspiration too.

iV If you weren't working in your media, what material would you like to work with?
FS I feel a strong pull toward clay. I keep thinking I would like to take a pottery class, but I haven't found the time. But maybe someday I'll be a potter instead.

iV What is your favourite of your creations this year?
FS This year had a bit of a slow start for me as I was waylaid by an injury for the first two months and I'm still not at full strength. But I'm getting back into my groove and trying to innovate with new pieces. It's pretty hard to pick a favourite, but I am quite fond of the sea nettle jellyfish I recently finished.

Grey Whale
Grey whales are known for their scars and barnacles, and I like to accentuate this worn appearance with boro-style patches.
Ochre Stars
This is a detail shot of one of my flat stitched pieces, a few ochre sea stars nested on rock and seaweed.


spirit bears, fogandswell.com Spirit Bears
A pair of spirit bears, a magical subspecies of black bear seen only on an isolated stretch of the BC coast.

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