Flirting With Yellow: A Conversation with Embroidery Artist Liz Payne

Issue Five: Prints & Patterns, A Conversation with Liz Payne of Flirting with Yellow 

Liz L. Payne is an embroidery Artist based in Sydney, Australia. She works in various mediums but uses paint, embroidery and beading to create rich shapes, patterns and color on textiles and other objects. We interviewed her about her inspirations, creative patterns and style. Visit her full series for Issue Five here.

"Patterns emerge from colour and shapes and begin to evolve as I work."

Can you remember your first experience with embroidery? 

I was always creating in different mediums when I was little - painting, making necklaces, embellishing clothes with thread, etc. I think I was doing embroidery long before I even knew what the word ‘embroidery' even meant. I just loved the art form of stitching, the variance of different threads and all those colours! 


Are there any artists in particular that have inspired your work?

I find inspiration in weavings, knitting, rugs, fashion, Suzani and Ikat fabrics. I also have much fascination in the history of textiles, specifically from Uzbek, Guatamala and Mexico. As far as embroidery in particular goes, there are two artists doing wonderful things right now that I've been admiring: Lisa Smirnova & Marie Sophie Lockhart, definitely check them out!


When you are not feeling inspired to create, what do you do to reconnect?  

It's definitely about what you do what that time! For me, if I feel uninspired by what I'm working on, it’s a great time to go for a walk, take a breather and gather inspiration. I’m always working on multiple projects at once too, so if I’m feeling uninspired by one piece, I’ll switch and work on something that feels right at that time. 


Have you explored other mediums? 

Many! It took me years to hone in on what I'm doing now, even thinking it could be a possibility to combine my love of painting with embroidery and beading. I have always painted and done crafty things, so after High School, I studied Visual Arts which was a good time for experimentation with different mediums. Even now, I like to get inspired by different mediums like clay and seeing if they can be incorporated into my current work. For example, I’d really like to make some of my own beads with clay to incorporate into an embroidery piece.

How do you decide on the patterns you create? Do you plan them out beforehand?

Every piece of mine is different, I don’t have a regimented method at all. Sometimes, I’ll sketch a pattern that’s been lingering in my head, I need to get ideas onto paper quick before it’s too late and I forget! Sometimes, I’ll even take that initial sketch into Illustrator or Photoshop to plan it our further. I have a background in Graphic Design so I guess there is a certain level of comfort there for me. Other times, pieces are entirely random, and I’ll let colour, pattern and intuition take over. Usually, patterns emerge from colour and shapes and begin to evolve as I work.

Do you follow any artistic patterns when creating?

Yes, the initial step for me in creating work is painting the fabric. This can be a lengthy process! I always paint a couple of works at the same time, not knowing which piece I’ll actually work on later. After the fabric dries, then comes the fun bit of embroidering. I see working with the thread as a replacement to the more traditional paintbrush or pencil; with embroidery, I add colour and texture to a piece and build in dimension. It’s a lengthy process but it is definitely my favourite part. I love that with each stitch made, it adds to the uniqueness of a piece, and it’s my aim to create synergy of movement so your eye dances from one intricate detail to the next. Some days can feel like there has been no progress made in my work - even though hours and hours have been put into a piece. But it’s a great feeling when it finally comes together and I can prepare to frame it (which I also do myself - I know - control freak!)

Does fashion ever inspire your art? Does art ever inspire the way you dress? 

I love the crossover between art and style and would love to explore fashion more in my work someday. I myself can’t say no to any clothing or accessories that are embroidered or beaded! 

Do you have any recommendations for resources on patterns? 

I love Instagram to be able to keep up with other artists from across the world, Pinterest to be able keep inspirational images all in the one spot, and I’ve been a big fan of the website Patternity for information and resources.

Do you have any artistic goals for the near future?

 I would love to have a solo show one day and I’m really keen on expanding my work into clothing, accessories and housewares.

We look forward to your apparel and accessories! Thank you so much for taking time to meet with us Liz! 

Thank you for having me! 


© Armoire Magazine 2016