Sunday, January 17, 2016

Artist Spotlight: Tamar Nahir Yanai

    My brother's and my childhood summers were spent in wild freedom, roaming woods and fields, climbing trees, catching fireflies, no shoes, hair in tangles, and "bath" was a four letter word.  But, there always came a time when the heat chased us indoors and we succumbed to boredom.  One particular summer my sweet little grandma (not the one who sent bird sweaters) was busy at her embroidery making a quilt for someone.  Since what she was doing seemed far more interesting than anything on t.v., we asked her to teach us.  And she did for the rest of the summer and for years after that she was always willing to let us pick through her Aunt Martha's patterns and scrap fabric and then guide us to making a completed piece.  
    My grandmother has been gone for almost twenty years now, but I still love to embroider and every time I pick up my needle I think of her.  I was searching for patterns for my girls to work on during these long winter days when I came across the work of Tamar Nahir Yanai.  The sweet innocence of her illustrations and embroidery patterns took me right back to those carefree summers.  I am so pleased to share her work with you and get to know a little about her.
Bleu Avenue:  Thank you so much for joining me to talk about your work.  How long have you been doing embroidery and how did you first become interested in it?
Tamar Nahir Yanai:  I started embroidering 4 years ago. During that time I received requests from my customers who liked my illustrations and wanted to embroider them.  I remembered how I loved watching my grandmother embroidering and how I loved embroidering with her so I had to try again.  I fell in love all over again with the embroidering art.
B:  From where do draw inspiration for your designs?
TNY: Most of my drawings come from observing the nature around me.  Leaves and branches that I love to collect.  When my daughters were little I enjoyed drawing them.  You can say that the inspiration is everywhere, you just have to 'catch' it.  It can be the simplest things around us.
B:  I love that and I completely agree.  Inspiration is all around us if only we take the time to look.  What is your favorite design that you have made and why?
TNY:  It's very hard to pick, but I would say its the 'Happy Thoughts' design.  I think I prefer it because of the feedback I'm receiving from customers. Women have bought the 'Happy Thoughts' design for best friends who experience some rough personal time, or for a relative that is in a hospital.  They all wanted to give a present that is crafty and optimistic.  I'm moved by the thought that my drawings can have an affect like that between family and friends. 
B:  I love that you offer complete kits for creating your designs instead of just the PDF pattern like a lot of other shops. What made you decide to do this?
TNY:  Great question!  When I've started I sold only PDF files.  After a while I understood that since part of my designs include small and delicate details it can be a bit hard for some of the customers to transfer those items to fabric.  I had to find an option of printing directly on fabric and once this attempt worked the enthusiasm was great !  My goal is giving my customers who love to embroider all the tools to start embroidering.  They'll only need to open the embroidery kit and start embroidering without delays or limitations.
B:  You and I have memories of our grandmothers tied to embroidering. What is your best memory or favorite experience of doing embroidery or since opening your shop?
TNY:   I can say that every new order excites me. It's amazing and so not obvious that women from around the world visit my shop and order embroidery kits.  In our digital and advanced technological world the art of embroidering can be just a great relaxing break.  I'm so happy that a craft that I'm so connected to succeeds to reach and excite more women around the world.  That is one of the reasons I love to teach in embroidery workshops. During the workshops I see the joy the embroidery brings to women and that is the most satisfying for me as an artist.
 B:  Beautifully said and thank you so much for talking with me today.  I can't wait to see what marvelous things you create next!
See more of Tamar Nahir Yanai's work at

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