This article was originally published on Haute Macabre on January 4, 2018.
Goats that gracefully gambol across a waistline, miniature moths fluttering about one’s throat, delicate alpine flora blooming across an expanse of vintage lace–these are just a few of the eerie, elegant motifs one might find adorning both the artwork and clothing stitched by the patient, gentle hand of textile artist Elsa Olsson, aka Fevernest.
After studying textiles for a number of years and learning a multitude of varying embroidery and weaving techniques, it was cross stitch that Elsa returned to, again and again. “The challenge,” she confides, “lies not in the technique itself, but more in the patience that it requires.” She enjoys the slowness and precision of the craft, the building of patterns in tiny pixels– a timeless method of building shapes and figures. In in a world where so many things are reliant upon speed and efficiency, Elsa emphasizes, it is both grounding and meditative for her to work as slow as possible, instead.
Noting cinematic influences, Elsa is inspired by silent films for their creative play with silhouettes and shapes, as well as, old horror movies, costume dramas and psychological thrillers for their somber moodiness. “When I work with larger pieces that are not clothing” she fancifully divulges, “I often find inspiration in older/antique objects; my mind wanders off to what their story is, who the previous owner/owners were, and what tale the object would tell if it could speak.”
I am especially captivated by the beautiful vintage dresses onto which Elsa’s exquisite embellishments bestow new life–each garment seems to rustle and whisper with myriad haunted secrets and memories. A self-described “hard-core perfectionist”, she tells me that a great deal of time goes into searching for objects and garments to use for her work, and that she prefers to use second-hand and vintage pieces for environmental and humane reasons. Working on linen, cotton, and viscose, she favors shapes and pieces that are timeless and quite simple to begin with, when planning out how to enrich these charming gowns with her cunning designs. And further, she declares…
I want the people who wear these pieces to feel beautiful, strong, and empowered in them!
Elsa’s Instagram account is awash witha gorgeously restrained sense of elegance and tender grace: shadowy and dusky-hued photos of her artful stitchery, her curiously cozy home, and her splendid furry companions. These soft, quiet moments and spaces may have been your gateway to her world of uncommon needle craft creations, as it was mine.
“I spend quite a lot of time and energy into how I present and shoot my garments, I want everything from the packaging to the photos to have the same vibe, so I am always very happy when people appreciate that! Instagram is a wonderful platform for me and I think about 95% of my customers find their way to my shop via that forum.”
When asked if she has any favorite Instagram accounts she might like to share, Elsa enthusiastically replied:
“I have also made so many friends and collaborations that have started off there. There are so many favorite accounts and people that I love following; among textile artists there are two who I really adore and admire–memorialstitches and adipocere (featured previously on Haute Hacabre). I also love lillistorm for her beautiful nature and animal photos. Two other artists that I enjoy following are goodyhoran (also featured previously) and kathleen_lolley.
In 2018, Elsa has some very exciting projects coming up, and should no doubt be of great interest to those amongst you who wield a needle, yourselves! “I have been working on a book with cross stitch patterns that I hope will be finished and released before the year is over,” Elsa discloses. “It’s sort of like an old pattern book but with an occult/folkloric theme.” Now I am definitely keen to learn cross stitch, myself!
She is also looking into expanding her etsy shop with some textile prints on home interior goods, which will be a way to make some more affordable pieces as a compliment to the hand-stitched work that she offers there. Elsa hopes to have time to work on larger installation-type art, as well. She wishfully notes that it would be great to do an exhibit in the states; so far she has only shown her work in Sweden, where she resides but, she continues, “most of the people who buy from me are from USA, so it would be great to be able to bring my work there in the future… but we will see!” Elsa concludes, thoughtfully, “as an artist it is always a struggle between time and money, but I am really grateful to be where I am today and to be able to do what I do.”