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Textiles in Motion

Sydney-based embroidery designers MaricorMaricar hit our radar screen back in August with a series called Turns of Speech, weaving misheard lyrics into textile magic. We got on the horn with Maricar Manalo, one half of the fledgling company, to check in on the twin sister super-duo's latest sewn projects and discover what's next for 2012.

Embroidery design by MaricorMaricar

How did you two start MaricorMaricar?

Both Maricor and I studied Visual Communications at the University of Technology in Sydney. We worked professionally for a number of years at the same studio [Mathematics] where we worked as designers and animation directors. Our work has always been very illustrative with a lot of hand crafted elements so in 2010 when we decided to start up MaricorMaricar, we wanted to focus on hand crafted design and animation. 

We're self taught in embroidery, and our first embroidered project was an animated music video [for the band Architecture in Helsinki] that we created whilst working at our old studio. It had been a few years since then that we'd picked up a needle and thread. Luckily we fell back into it after I created the Hungry Colours piece for fun and since then we've experimented more with the medium. It really suits our love of pattern, texture and color.

How long does it typically take to complete something like the newest custom commissions you've done? 

Each commission can be quite different. Depending on size and the needlepoint techniques we use they range from one to four weeks to complete the embroidery stage. "Be Excellent to Each Other" was medium sized and took about one week to embroider while the pieces in our Sweater Letter style usually take half a week for just the embroidery phase. We design the lettering and graphic elements from scratch so the design process which includes sketching, colouring, planning what stitches to use, fabric prep, finishing, final clean, stretching and photographing can add up to one week on top of that.

Be Excellent Textile Embroidery Design by MaricorMaricar

How much is family input and how much autonomy do you have in the design? 

We're lucky to be given a fair amount of freedom with personal commissions. We'll receive a quote and maybe some color inspiration to start with but then we'll work through lettering and colorway ideas that we present to the client so they're still involved throughout the whole process. For artwork that is quite personal we hope they feel connected to its creation and development.

What are some of your design influences? 

We're influenced by traditional textiles and patterns from all regions but also lettering artists such as Alex Trochut and Mike Perry who both really experiment with type form.  

Colorful embroidery design by MaricorMaricar

What should we look out for from MaricorMaricar in 2012?

2011 was a big year, we lived in London for most of it and this year could see us potentially have bases both in London and Sydney. My boyfriend and I are expecting a baby and I've been bitten by the nesting instinct so we'd really love to start translating our work to home furnishings and are keen to find opportunities to collaborate with textiles designers. There are a few things on our list of "To Do" that we hope to cross off this year—embroider an album cover, book cover, embroidered animation, full set of Sweater Letters and explore packaged DIY kits if there's enough interest. If anyone out there can help us make these things happen please get in touch!

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