Irem Yazici: Embroidery in miniature

Irem Yazici: Embroidery in miniature

Irem Yazici was born in Istanbul Turkey. She studied public relations and advertising at Anadolu University.

Irem says: I didn’t like my department and I didn’t want to work in an agency. I feared when I graduated, I would be sucked into a lifestyle that I did not want. So I stopped going to classes and delayed my graduation. With dropping the classes, I had so much free time. Then I suddenly took an interest in embroidery. I spontaneously bought some fabric and threads. That was the best decision I made in my life….

In this interview, Irem reveals how she transfers images from her imagination into her delightful miniature hoop landscapes and explains exactly why embroidery is so precious to her.

Irem Yazici, Celebration in the Forest, 2016, 4' 'x 4'', Hand Stitch

Irem Yazici, Celebration in the Forest, 2016, 4” x 4”, Hand Stitch

The feeling of becoming whole What initially attracted you to textiles as a medium?

Irem Yazici: When I was a kid, me and my family would go to my grandmother’s place at semesters. She was such a good tailor and she had a whole bunch of embroidery supplies. I really loved to mess with them.

My mother was trying to teach me how to use them properly. She taught me to crochet and cross stitch. Her teachings were so magical to me. I remember I was fascinated how the thread, with the help of a needle, became something totally different.

Years later when I held the needle and threads, I felt the feeling of becoming whole which I never experienced before. I was fascinated by repetitive patterns, embroidery equipment and textures.

In my eyes, embroidery is very precious. It can take some time to work even on small areas but the results are equally rewarding. That has a pretty big impact on my bond with embroidery.

Irem Yazici, Haunted Pond, 2015, 25 x 18 cm, Hand Stitch

Irem Yazici, Haunted Pond, 2015, 25 x 18 cm, Hand Stitch

And, more specifically, how was your imagination captured by stitch?

My first works were a recoil of embroidery being used for only traditional and decorative purposes. The idea of mixing the inherent tradition of embroidery with modern ideas seemed interesting to me.

At first, I did some miniature landscapes and put them into small bottle caps. After some time, I started doing pieces directly from my imagination. I began to stitch not only with traditional methods but with beads and sequins.

Since the old times, embroidery has a very natural and a strong relationship with clothes. I think the embroidery is an important part of what gives a dress a soul. To transform a very basic dress to a unique piece of art is possible with embroidery. Working on accessories like collars, purses and pins, making embroidery, to be realised as a usable art form, feels very refreshing.

Irem Yazici, Tiny Floral Pins, 2016, 16 mm, Hand stitch

Irem Yazici, Tiny Floral Pins, 2016, 16 mm, Hand stitch

What or who were your early influences and how has your upbringing influenced your work?

Back in my childhood, my brother and I were constantly making each other believe that what we were doing was magic. Even if it was momentary, the idea of there is something beyond our comprehension was felt precious.

This feeling is one of the elements that made me who I am today. I am trying to complement that feeling with my works today.

Exploring my artist self

Irem Yazici, Zora's Garden, 2015, 30 x 40 cm, Hand Stitch

Irem Yazici, Zora’s Garden, 2015, 30 x 40 cm, Hand Stitch

What was your route to becoming an artist?

Unlike other textile artists, I never went to a fine arts faculty. In 2014, I started embroidery and as an embroidery artist, I’m learning step by step and teaching myself. I’m exploring my artist self directly with embroidery.

Tell us a bit about your chosen techniques.

I try to use different embroidery techniques together. Enriching texture to give it a visual dynamism is very important for me.

Mostly I try to use embroidery techniques on patterns that match their real life texture. I enjoy combining these traditional techniques with the modern patterns. I also like fancy and intricate embroideries and I wouldn’t hesitate to decorate my works with sequins and beads.

Irem Yazici, Moonlight Banjoist, 2015, 18 x 14 cm, Hand stitch

Irem Yazici, Moonlight Banjoist, 2015, 18 x 14 cm, Hand stitch

How do you use these techniques in conjunction with pin embroidery?

I am a very detail oriented person in my works. Because of that, I try to work on a small space as accurately as possible. Working on a miniature scale is very relaxing and satisfying for me. I started making pins because I believe their effect on a dress is huge.

I sometimes try to embellish and dimension them with a single bead or a sequin.

Irem Yazici, Microscopic Sea Creatures Peter Pan Collar, 2015, Hand stitch

Irem Yazici, Microscopic Sea Creatures Peter Pan Collar, 2015, Hand stitch

How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits within the sphere of contemporary art?

My works consist of quirky, dreamy and surreal worlds and characters.

Even if I don’t know where to place my work within contemporary art right now, I do think they share similar characteristics with both illustration and fibre art and I try to achieve a balance between them.

Irem Yazici, A Night in the Haunted Forest, 2016, 4'' x 4'', Hand stitch

Irem Yazici, A Night in the Haunted Forest, 2016, 4” x 4”, Hand stitch

Do you use a sketchbook? If not, what preparatory work do you do?

I use sketch books but I still haven’t made the habit of carrying them wherever I go.

At times when I have no sketch book with me, a piece of paper or a desk make fine temporary replacements, not to forget about the ideas that I’ve just have. Then I transfer them to my sketchbook to gather all ideas together in one place.

Formations from the imagination

Irem Yazici, The One, Came From The Night, 2016, 20 x 15 , Hand Stitch

Irem Yazici, The One, Came From The Night, 2016, 20 x 15, Hand Stitch

Tell us about your process from conception to conclusion.

Everything develops around a simple image which happens in my head. After that, I try to fit the image in a proper world. All of these are part of the process which happens in my mind.

It can take some time to reach its final form. So I can say that the layers that come from the first image are conceptually planned parts. Then I illustrate the idea and make it better with the final changes to transfer on fabric.

The colour of background plays a decisive role on what the other colours will be. Colour palette usually shapes up when I working on the piece.

After I finish, I have them framed or just leave the piece in its hoop.

Irem Yazici, The Goddess, 2016, 3'' x 3'', Hand Stitch

Irem Yazici, The Goddess, 2016, 3” x 3”, Hand Stitch

What environment do you like to work in?

I am at my best when I work in peaceful and quiet places. Even though I very much enjoy a tidy and organised work place, that sometimes can be very difficult with embroidery since using a lot of different materials at the same time can easily cause a mess.

Irem Yazici, Underwater Portal, 2016, 4'' x 4'', Hand Stitch

Irem Yazici, Underwater Portal, 2016, 4” x 4”, Hand Stitch

What currently inspires you?

I started meditating recently and I use images from my spiritual experiences. Apart from that, I draw inspiration from both illustrators and fibre artists. To name a few Davor Gromilovic and Paulo Duro are the biggest inspirations in my most recent works. Also, Anna Jane Searle’s texture works have inspired me lately.

What piece of equipment or tool could you not live without?

I cannot imagine how would I embroider without my embroidery hoop stand. When I first started, I had no idea such equipment existed. I was holding the hoop with my hands all the time. Because of that I experienced neck pains and had to take physical rehabilitation sessions.

With the hoop stand, I ease my pain that my arms had to endure and I don’t need to learn anymore. It is very precious to me.

Irem Yazici, Magic Carpet Ride on a Pink Night, 2017, 5'' x 5'' , Hand stitch

Irem Yazici, Magic Carpet Ride on a Pink Night, 2017, 5” x 5” , Hand stitch

Do you give talks or run workshops or classes?

I’ve never done these before but I decided that I might as well as run workshops since people request it.

Between next May and October, I’ll be arranging workshops at Burgazada, Turkey.

Irem Yazici

Irem Yazici

For more information visit:

Let us know what your favourite aspect of the artist’s work is by leaving a comment below.

Monday 25th, September 2023 / 07:45

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19 comments on “Irem Yazici: Embroidery in miniature”

  1. Betty Bickford says:

    Thank you! So very inspiring!

  2. Margaret Hynds-Ryman says:

    Magical! Passion, wonder and gentleness combined. Irem herself can be described that way too. Thankyou Irem for being yourself.

  3. Marie E. Garrow says:

    Without getting bored I thoroughly enjoy whole reading.
    Embroidery Library

  4. Bruce says:

    Wonderful work. I love the images – the lion’s head w/ the serpent’s tail in ‘Zora’s Garden’ especially – the colors and the textures – simple stitches but perfectly chosen and placed. Very inspiring for a beginning stitcher such as myself. Wish I could get to Turkey for a workshop – let us know if you make it to Australia.

  5. Georgina says:

    Your work is lovely! The naive quality combined with artistic coloration and whimsy are simply delightful.

  6. Marianne says:

    Your work is magical and inspirational. Such beauty and humor. My next project will be to present something from my imagination. I am looking forward to it. Thank you.

  7. Elly says:

    Irem, your work is wonderful. Your colour combinations work so well and are very refreshing.
    Australia will love you.

  8. Kathy Sobb says:

    Unique and inspiring work! Such delightful characters. I could see them gracing a fantastic children’s book. Well done!!

  9. Margot says:

    Precious, lovely, joyful work. Exquisite stitches and stitching. Thank you

  10. kathryn wood says:

    Before I even read about you, the word that came to my mind as I looked at your works was “magical” as well as whimsical. I’ve never seen any stitch work like yours! I can see a bit of Gromilovic’s influence but the rest is totally you. Now you have inspired ME in my felting. I am very much into Halloween all year, so I loved your skeleton images, especially with the “bunny ears!!” So funny!! I also thought you absolutely made the right decision to pursue the art. You are an artist in the true meaning with your ideas, visions, talent and craftmanship.

  11. Lovely magical work. I particularly like the multi-cultural imagery. It gets my imagination flowing. Is there a Mexican influence there?

  12. Kate Twohig says:

    Your work is fascinating and seductive. How beautifully detailed they are and your colours are perfect. Best of luck with all you do.

  13. Lee says:

    I absolutely love Irems magical worlds. The way she has captured everything from the expressions on her animals to dreamy wood and waterlandscapes.
    I smiled and felt like a child reading the most fantastique book leading me further and further into a magical world. She could use pictures of them for illustrations to a book. Team up with a writer of childrens books or write the storys yourself.
    Will keep track of her progress, for sure.
    Love when I find new favorites through your pages. Thank you!

  14. Linda S says:

    It’s as though you have entered a magical world you want to stay in.

  15. Irem,

    Thank you so much for sharing your embroidering to us. From the first embroidery hoop until the last, I was mesmerised by your work. I love the folklore and naivety of art that you produce, and the delightful little pictures expressed in embroidery. I, up to date, only do that when I write, but I have always loved embroidery, traditional up to now. So, I wondering if I dare to open up this interest and create my own fairy tales. Again thank you so much, your work is a sheer delight.

  16. Gulsun Koru says:

    Dear Irem,
    Thank you very much for your inspiring art and your hard work. I loved every bit of the road that I passed with you through your art. You are a real, brilliant, wise and intellectual artist in everyway. I can see that. At first, I thought this is the place for me, I remember at once a motorcycle guy exploring the world saw me on the street of Crete and called me that I was an art. I felt flattered but scared at the same for some reasons. Now, here, reading your story I am thinking about my own life and future. Our story is similar somehow. I loved my grandmother who I am named after and I carry a lot of her with me. She thought me how to weave and she thought me how to love. I make some stitch works also, so that I can make her memories, her mark in life and her love alive. Stitching itself makes me feel good as well. I can express myself somehow. I want to keep that as much as possible.
    Coming to my journey in life as a human being, I feel that I have other places to visit. I don’t know which way, how and how long does it take but I know my destination. Hopefully on the way I can learn much more, find some handmade jewelleries, some other friends and bigger loves. I want to make it deeper and listen some music with underwear headphones.
    I wish all the best for you from the bottom of my heart. My prayers is with you. I hope to meet you somewhere, listen your story and know you better in everyway.
    And please teach me more with your wonderful art. I will follow you useful skills and get informed and inspired. It is prićeless.

  17. EMB says:

    You did a brilliant job in minimalistic Embroidery arena.

  18. Michelle says:

    You did awesome stuff in Embroidery elegance.

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