Leah is one of my creative idols.... Can you name all the flowers and plants you come across? Leah prefers to keep to her own favourite flowers and plants. Just like an artist might use their favourite brushes.
Every work is well thought out, with the composition process of both flower and threads taking well into a few hours.
@leah_nikolaou... combines flower pressing and hand embroidery to charming effect.
Vintage Style Art
Leah Nikolaou is a British artist designing floral art that is timeless & unique. Her vintage style art mirrors the vintage soul of her classic subjects such as vintage McCoy vases, American ‘lady head vases’, French style brocante jugs & Dartmouth ‘gluggle jugs’.
Her shabby chic art also has an old time charm that rivals the precise craftmanship of her vintage counterparts.
She holds both the vintage crafts of flower pressing and hand embroidery close to her heart with nostalgia for moments in her childhood when her skills were born. Modern interpretations of these passions is what brings Leah great fulfillment as she looses herself for hours in her woolly & floral creations. It’s also the juxtaposition of such unlikely past times which make her art original.
Leah believes that her flower prints can adapt to latest interior trends with longevity as they have a one-of-a-kindness appeal. Which is important in a world that’s moving away from people all having homes that look the same.
Botanical art prints will always be in style in their own way.
Leah loves the way people valued things in bygone eras and makes her pieces with a similar immense attention to detail, to last. Despite most pieces not exceeding A3 in size the creative process is very slow. From being not much of a gardener Leah now grows some of the flowers she uses in her rustic art herself.
Growing has been a matter of trial and error but a joy in itself.
What has been quite challenging is finding out which flowers press well. Anything with too many layers of petals is difficult in its whole form. It’s also interesting to see how different flowers discolour completely or press into seriously pretty hues. Flowers take from 2 weeks - 2 months to press properly depending on their structure. Favourites are wild flowers she collects from road sides and her own wild flower patch at he bottom of her garden.
Leah grew up in Birmingham surrounded by women embroidering handkerchiefs, cards, towels, bedspreads, cushions and wall art. Her grandmother Irene or ‘Nonna’ as she called her was Italian, likewise her sister Evelyn and these women appeared to be producing incredible pieces of textiles to a high level of technical ability. Likewise they would borrow pieces from other Italian friends to show us the talent of their fellow Italians. She noticed how their creativity was always a source of so much pride and joy. It was a source of much inspiration!
Leah supports small local yarn companies who hand dye their wool in the UK in small batches. Finding skeins in just the right shades that fit her vintage shabby chic art aesthetic is quite a challenge. Once she has selected a fitting skein she carefully selects 40 cm threads to embroider with, sometimes determining where a certain section of colour will fall within her design and at other times leaving it to complete chance.
The process is precarious as she stitches into recycled brown paper.
One wrong pierce into the paper too close to another stitch and the work is ruined as it results in a huge ripped hole. She has found that by pulling the needle always in only one direction and holding the paper at just the right angle that holes can be avoided. It is a pretty addictive process in which her style has developed. Working only with an outlined shape her method of embroidery is quite freestyle. This also means that not every design makes it to these pages!
Cards are also another element of her creative work. Leah takes pressed flowers and rearranges them to illustrate humorous vintage phrases. She creates vintage greeting cards including birthday cards, wedding cards, engagement cards, christening cards and congratulations cards. Perhaps harking back to all of those remarkable cards she witness her creative family making years ago.
The search for something unique to adorn your walls with is an exciting hunt! Leah believes that people should choose art that helps to create a space in which they can feel themselves.
Hopefully her vintage style art is a fit & will compliment your special place!
Thank you for stopping by!