Dutch illustrator and punch needle artist
To kick off this new series of portaits, I interviewed Henrieke, an illustrator from the north of The Netherlands. Her creativity goes further than drawing, so she started a DIY blog Oh Cosy Craft. On her blog she posts about all sorts of DIYs varying between carpentry, fiberart, paperart and more. As an illustrator she not only works for various companies and magazines, but also sells her art in her Etsy shop.
How How (and when) did you get into punch needle rug hooking?
Instagram is my number one inspiration source, so I saw it there, but then it wasn’t as popular as it is now, so it was very hard to find more information about it. And then, I discovered the account of Emily, The Joyful Punch, she provided a lot of information on her feed and her website and so I ordered a punch needle immediately.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
My designs are very illustrative, secretly I’m a little jealous of makers who can make very cool graphic and abstract pieces, but that just isn’t me. I transform my illustrations into punchneedle pieces, with an outbalanced use of colour.
What has your learning curve been like?
When I started punchneedling I bought a very small, cheap punch needle in a local craft shop, but that needle wasn’t for punching with thick yarn like I wanted to. Also the fabric I used wasn’t right, it was way too stiff. Getting the tools – the needle and the right fabric – took a long time. I had to import the monk's cloth from America and that webshop was very busy because of the increasing popularity of the punch needle art! Finally my tools were complete and I began punching. I started a small piece in an embroidery hoop and discovered how to punch. I learned that you can’t really make small details, at least, not how I did. So I downgraded that piece as my practicing piece and all the follwing artworks became much better!
How has your work evolved over time?
At first I only used the flat side, because I find it much prettier than the bobbled side. But now I combine these two sides, so my work has more texture and depth.
What does your workspace look like? What are the essentials that you need?
Because I do DIY and illustration I need a lot of tools and craft materials. Or wait, I don’t need it, I want to have it! I am very lucky to use a huge attic as my studio, so I can store all my tools properly and keep it neat, which I am not very good at actually. The essentials I need are a lot of handpainted paper, my x-acto knife and my digital supplies. When I’m punching I of course need my punch needle tools and a lot of yarn, which I have neatly sorted by color.
What materials do you love most?
I love yarn and especially wool and wool roving. But the sad side of wool is the way sheep get treated. Of course there is wool from sheep that are treated very well, but the industry is so untransparent. Therefore I am always looking for acrylic yarn that seems like it’s wool and hey, that isn’t as hard as I expected!
What tips do you have for beginners? What do you wish you’d known when you started punching?
The best tip I have is: having a hobby costs money and it’s worth it. Neither the punch needle nor monk's cloth is cheap, but you can make beautiful things with it and it’s for forever! Another tip: don’t give up and experiment, if you don’t like it. Your punch project is easy to take out and you can start again.
Who or what inspires you? Anyone you follow on instagram?
Like I said before, Emily inspires me a lot. Besides here I love to see the work of Lela Harris from Knot and Gather and the Dutch Liesbeth from Sloppopnl. Besides these Instagrammers I find my inspiration everywhere, when I walk in the city, in nature or when I’m taking a shower. My ideas just pop up in my head and then I write them down.