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Behind the Inspiration - How I came to love silhouettes

A homage to the illustrator Jan Pienkowski by Jess Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins showing silhouettes of a mum and two children with an open book, illustrations from the book appear from swirl lines above them. The silhouettes are against a marbled pink and blue background.
Thank You Jan Pieńkowski (1936 - 2022) by Jess Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins

It was with a very heavy heart that I heard the news in the week that the incredible illustrator Jan Pieńkowski had passed away, one of my earliest and most abiding memories is my sister and I being read to by my mum from the fantastic Joan Aiken books 'A Necklace of Raindrops' and 'The Kingdom Under the Sea'. The incredible illustrations by Jan Pieńkowski, beautifully placed throughout these two books, had me absolutely entranced and were my first understanding of something truly magical. My illustration above is my homage and thank you to an incredible artist who has had an indelible and powerful influence on who I grew into as an artist.

Even after making my first classic literature inspired embroidery piece (Wuthering Heights pictured above) for a competition run by the Bronte Parsonage Museum back in 2012 it took me a year or so to realise that it was this early experience of the work of Jan Pieńkowski that had helped instill in me such a love for silhouettes.

Another honourable mention that cannot be missed when talking of my love for silhouettes is the incredible Wayang Kulit Javanese shadow puppet performance I was lucky enough to see as a child, the advantage of having a mum who works in the arts!

A black and white image showing wwo Wayang Kulit Javanese Shadow Puppets
Two Wayang Kulit Javanese Shadow Puppets

My love of silhouettes isn't going anywhere anytime soon and I hope you'll all enjoy seeing where this journey may take me in the future!

Three wood blocks with silver metal escutcheons covers open to reveal keyholes containing tiny silhouette embroidered scenes
Behind Closed Doors by Jess Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins


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