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Meet Donatella Crippa - Stitched Indigo Textile Artisan

Company Name: Folk Art By Doni
ETSY Shop: Stitched Indigo
FB: Donatella.Crippa.artist
Instagram: @donifolk, @rapsody.in.colour
Pinterest: Donifolk

How would you describe your art/craft? I work with vintage textiles creating items inspired by folk art from Japan and Eastern Europe.

What kinds of items do you sell? I sell small dolls, rug mats inspired by Japanese boro textiles and wearable art like scarves and fabric jewelery.

What is the price range? My pieces start at £25 for a necklace to £120 for larger dolls. I also work on commissioned scarves where prices depend on how intricate and long the final piece will be.

How long have you been doing this? I’ve been working as a textile artist for almost 20 years but only a few years ago I started working with Japanese kimono fabrics creating the art that can be found on my Etsy shop.

Have you travelled to Japan? I have been dreaming of travelling through rural Japan for years but so far my dream hasn’t come true. It is the countryside and rural architecture that attracts me the most. Hopefully soon.

What is your favorite thing about working with kimono fabric? Love the Japanese idea of mottainai or the “no waste” culture which suits my way of working very much, through reuse and recycling of the tiniest scrap of fabric. In old kimonos you can still feel the traces of an era, the human soul that was. The stories behind the old kimonos fascinate me into researching more. I find the exceptional in the tiniest of stitches, that special human touch with its imperfections and flaws. I love stitching by hand. Those textures created by sashiko stitching are a pure joy to me.

What is the most challenging thing about working with kimono fabric? Not living in Japan, finding really old pieces of indigo dyed kimonos with the right colours is sometimes a challenge. I like them worn and faded which adds that extra depth to my pieces.

Tell us more about yourself, your business…

My name is Donatella and from the name you might have guessed I come from Italy. However I’ve been living in the UK for almost half of my life. I’ve been trained as a musician and started a career in folk music. Singing and travelling with my band gave me unique opportunities to discover art that was previously unknown to me and learning new languages.

I finally settled down in the UK with my husband, where I’ve been living ever since. I’m very lucky to live in a very old wooden house that inspires me to create work that finds its roots in folk living and rural culture.

Although I studied textiles, I consider myself self-taught and very early I discovered fabric illustration and worked for many years as a children’s book illustrator. Something that I’d like to pursue again in the nearest future. The Japanese illustrator Rokuro Taniuchi ( 1921-1981), with his nostalgic look into old Japan, has made me discover a Japan beyond technology that I found very appealing to me. And my Kokeshi dolls collection inspires me to no end.

I also create fabric-stitched collages inspired by Makatki, which are Polish embroidered folk textiles, and naïve art from Europe and North America.

Stitching by hand, using old and faded pieces of cloth, gives me so much pleasure. I hardly ever use a sewing machine in my work and crave small imperfections that give so much character to the final piece.

I have two shops where I sell my work: my folk.art.by.doni-squaresite store - so far I have completely devoted to my cloth dolls, and my Etsy shop Stitchedindigo for Japanese-inspired art plus other small pieces I think fit well with the rest.

I’m very open to commissions and exhibiting in small art galleries and shops. My new year resolution is to work on new larger pieces with old indigo blues

See more of Donatella's creations here: