Manoela Grigorova is an emerging, intuitive artist exploring bold colours and contradicting textures through mixed media art and adornment.
Born in Bulgaria in 1983, under the Iron Curtain, there was certainly nothing oppressive about her childhood. Inspiration was all around, from colourful textiles, tapestries to folklore stories and ornate rugs hung on walls like art. In 1991, with the fall of Communism, her family fled to London, UK.
Manoela’s curiosity for textiles and design eventually led her to study Art, Fashion Design and Photography at college and university, though she says, ‘The fickle reality of the Fashion industry did eventually tire ’ and so she quit her degree and looked for a more meaningful sector to work in. She is currently fundraising for an animal charity in the day and creating at night.
Throughout her life, her creative outputs have served as a sanctuary and especially in 2020, with a global pandemic and being put on furlough. Exploring the meditative and repetitive process of embroidery and mixed media became a way of dealing with current events and emotions. Her passion for nature and the environment has pushed her use of sustainable, salvaged and recycled materials.
Since becoming a coveted member of the Society for Embroidered Work, she flies the flag for fibre art and challenges the idea that stitch art is not just ‘women’s crafts’ but must be recognised as an art form.
Inspired by Surrealism, Pointillism and Abstract Expressionism, she creates wondrous, abstract worlds with stitches, beads (and anything in between) that are colourful, playful and deliciously touch-worthy.
I’ve been drawing, making and creating since I’ve known myself! During every low point in life, every gap between jobs, the only way to fulfil that void was through creating, whether it be fibre art, jewellery, or simply learning to use new mediums.
The stresses of 2020 and 8 months of being furloughed (from work) gave me time to strengthen my skills and the creative output helped me to make sense of the ever-changing world.
Fascinated by the contrasts and contradictions of life, my work mirrors this in different ways; the fast processes of mark making with alcohol ink compared to the slow process of stitching with fibre, the smooth nature of Yupo paper and defining lines of alcohol inks, versus the soft and tactile feel of the fibre. It’s sometimes intuitive and sometimes methodical but almost always meditative. Working with fibre is a slow process, it allows me to be completely present and in-the-moment, working through my emotions with each French knot.
Mixed media pieces are layered with collage of paint, ink, fibre, and beading. My passion for sustainability and limiting excess waste leads me to use a variety of preloved and upcycled elements weaving in and out of my pieces. Using materials that would otherwise go on landfill, I aim to give them new life within my art works and jewellery.
The inspirations for my abstracts come from everywhere; micro-organisms, close ups of nature’s patterns and textures, the earth’s geological layering, our dwindling natural world and all the emotions that go with that. I gain a lot of inspiration from the materials themselves, layering and creating something abstract but organic with contrasting textures. I want my work to convey contradiction, emotion, curiosity, joy, colour and make you want to touch it!