Interview with Jane Carkill

I have been following Jane Carkill (Lamblittle) on Instagram for some time – I find her illustrations and embroidered works utterly captivating and a great source of constant inspiration. I can’t help but admire her attention to detail in everything she creates which reflects a sincere love of nature. Although Jane’s work does not not strictly fall into the category of ‘Dark Art’ which is our main focus here at VargaMor, there’s no denying that there is an air of fantasy and an ethereal quality to her work, despite it’s accurate depictions. As a nature lover and environmentalist – I had to share! Read on to learn more about Jane and her illustrative and embroidered works!

~ Becca

Hello! Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed by Vargamor – to start off with could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a twenty twenty two-year-old college graduate of Textile Art and Contemporary Practice in GMIT Centre for Creative Arts and Media in Co. Galway, Ireland, although I live and have grown up in The Burren in Co. Clare.

Your main mediums are illustrations and embroidery – what inspired you to pick up a paintbrush/needle?

Nature has always been the ultimate inspiration for my work. The unique terrain of my homeland is my first memory of belonging in the natural world. It possesses a unique character, my private setting of botanical specimens, fauna and man- made dirt-roads.; a place ripe with personal history, folklore and memory, primal and elegant as one. It is a habitat that is rich and diverse, yet fragile, in constant need of surveillance and conservation. The land elicits a receptive, reverential response, a blend of watching and feeling. It rewards close observation, a vehicle I personally feel is ideal for creating art.

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You’ve mentioned that nature is your ultimate inspiration – Do you have a preference for a subject or creature in particular to illustrate?

I have a preference for natural beauty and scientific accuracy, so I like to draw from life, especially when it comes to observing and illustrating botanical specimens. In terms of animals in my work, I like to draw inspiration from folklore and mythological meaning. I love to include the Irish Brown Hare and Barn Owls within my work. Although it may look very idealistic and nostalgic, they are both unfortunately an endangered Irish species. I would like to raise awareness of not their beauty, but need of conservation and protection.

When it comes to starting a new illustration, how do you go about it? Do you study photos, conjure the image from your mind or merely spend a lot of time outdoors?

Drawing and photography play a fundamental role in my work. The landscape is abundant with animal and wildlife inspiration; I find imagery very accessible and easy to source. I use photography to capture real stills, imagery from the landscape and minute details of objects and animals. When I find that imagery is not accessible, I like to use vintage nature book illustrations for colour and imagery referencing.

What would your advice be to people wanting to start embroidering themselves?

Find yourself a comfortable seat, play some music and relax. Embroidery takes a lot of patience so it is very important that you are comfortable, otherwise it will not be enjoyable. Cut up some scraps of old fabric and begin by even just practicing straight lines. Practice it until you feel confident enough to embroider that line in a different stitch style. Before you know it you will be able to stitch a square, a circle, a flower!  We all must begin somewhere, all it takes is some practice, patience and time.

I love all of your work but I find your illustrations of fungi particularly captivating and recurrent in your work – what is it about fungi in particular that fascinates you?

 I would say that my fascination comes from a passion for painting beautiful specimens and intricate detail. Their variety in shape and colour obviously does pose a challenge using watercolour techniques, not to mention they have a wonderful ephemeral fairy-like quality.

Tell us about the place you create your work – what makes it special?

I don’t have my own studio unfortunately, although that is my dream! I work from home, generally the kitchen table! However ,the surrounding landscape is beautiful, its composition is unique and has an awe inspiring presence.

Have you become self employed through your work or would you consider it a hobby with the benefit of additional income?

I am very lucky to consider myself to be employed through my work. I have been drawing since I was a toddler, and when I began posting my work to Lamblittle aged 17, I never imagined that it would grow into the brand that it is today. I now have my own online shop where I sell a range of my artwork along with various retails outlets who stock my work in Ireland. Not a day goes by where there are enquiries about commissions, special requests, tattoo designs! It really is surreal.

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What are your plans for the future?

At the moment, I am just trying to take things day by day and appreciate the little things without having to worry about what might happen in the future. But if Lamblittle continues to grow in popularity with the support at the rate that it is at the moment, that would be just amazing.

Are there any particular instagrammers/artists you find particularly inspiring?

I take great inspiration from female artists such as Beatrix Potter and print-maker Kiki Smith. Their works combines a personal passion for narration and drawing which I try to reflect in my own work.

You can find and follow Jane on various social media sites:

Instagram: @lamblittle

Facebook: Lamblittle Illustration

Etsy

Or contact her at: lamblittleillustration@gmail.com

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