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“My whole life is still ahead of me, how do I want to live it? In that moment I just knew that being an artist is my calling. This is my gift to me and my gift to the world.”

Nana Irgolič: Weaving Sustainability into Art

Nana Irgolič (Website | Instagram) a contemporary Kintsugi embroidery artist based in Slovenia, intertwines the threads of sustainability with artistic expression. Her journey began with a deep-rooted passion for textures and patterns, nurtured through her studies in art education. Here, the critical importance of sustainable creation captured her imagination, particularly in the realm of textile waste and its potential for reuse. This led her to innovate in the space where fashion meets art, breathing new life into vintage shirts and sweaters through the intricate art of hand-embroidered floral motifs. This upcycling not only rejuvenated clothing but also played a crucial role in diverting these items from ending up in landfills.

Irgolič’s artistic evolution saw a significant shift in focus last year as she delved deeper into embroidery as a fine art medium. Her creations, characterized by minimalist designs, are crafted on reused canvases, employing vintage threads and fabric scraps. This approach is not just an artistic choice but a testament to her dedication to environmental conservation. Each piece is a statement, a silent but powerful advocate for a thriving environment, transforming pre-existing materials into art rather than waste. Through her work, Irgolič not only showcases her creativity but also echoes a powerful message of environmental consciousness.

The Inspirational Journey to Artistic Discovery

Nana Irgolič’s path to becoming an artist seems almost predestined, ingrained in her very being. Supported by her parents, her educational choices allowed her to explore and embrace her true self. However, it was not just formal education that shaped her; the world around her played a pivotal role. A significant moment of clarity occurred during a visit to Sweden. While walking along a beach, the brisk autumn wind and the vast starry sky above the Baltic Sea led to an epiphany. It was there, at the edge of the pier, that Irgolič realized her life’s purpose lay in the world of art. This moment of self-discovery was not just about choosing a career path; it was about embracing her calling and acknowledging her gift to the world.

This introspective journey was further influenced by her time in Paris, which subtly yet profoundly impacted her artistic style and aesthetics. Working under a mentor with a deep appreciation for Japanese minimalism, Nana found her artistic voice evolving, moving away from quaint, floral designs to a style that was bolder and more expressive. This transition mirrored her own personal growth from a shy teenager to an independent woman. Her artistic direction was further affirmed by the impactful encounter with Alicia Gimenos’s artworks in Barcelona, which resonated deeply with her, reinforcing her belief in her chosen path. In these experiences, Nana found not only inspiration but also validation of her unique artistic journey.

Nana Irgolič: Embracing Imperfections through Art

Nana Irgolič has carved a unique niche in the art world with her contemporary Kintsugi Embroidery pieces. Drawing inspiration from Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer and gold, Irgolič’s work embodies a profound metaphor for life. She views breakage and repair not as flaws to hide but as integral parts of an object’s history. This philosophy extends to her choice of materials—vintage, pre-loved, and upcycled—each carrying its own story and contributing to the narrative of her art. Irgolič’s creations delve into themes of fragility, resilience, and the beauty of imperfection. Her compositions, an intricate dance of minimalistic lines, abstract forms, and textures, symbolize the contrasts inherent in life: the interplay of light and dark, purity and absence, connection and separation.

The artist’s use of a limited color palette, predominantly black, white, and gold, is not just an aesthetic choice but also a reflection of her inner world. The stark contrast between light and dark, enhanced by the golden hues, creates a powerful visual impact. This simplicity in color allows Irgolič to focus on the essence of her compositions, the forms and textures that bring her art to life. In her own words, the reduced palette mirrors the clarity that life should have, underscoring the intensity and power of her work. Her art is not just a visual feast but a serene, meditative process, each stitch a symbol of her commitment to mindfulness and environmental sustainability.

A Creative Sanctuary: Building the Ideal Workspace

For Nana Irgolič, the environment in which she creates is as vital as the art itself. She is in the process of designing her first atelier, a space that embodies her artistic ethos and personal style. This creative haven is not just about aesthetics; it’s a meticulously curated environment that enhances her artistic flow. Key to her workspace is the balance of order and inspiration. A tidy, well-organized space ensures that her mind remains uncluttered, allowing her creativity to flourish unimpeded. Natural light plays a significant role, influencing her mood and sharpening her focus, essential for the intricate work of embroidery.

Irgolič’s creative toolkit is both functional and sentimental, featuring a beloved handmade sketchbook gifted by close friends, a constant companion in her artistic journey. The materials she uses are carefully selected to align with her ethos of sustainability—vintage silk and cotton threads, recycled canvases, and eco-friendly pigments. Her workspace also includes personalized touches, such as illustrations and quotes that resonate with her, creating an environment that is uniquely hers. Managing distractions is an ongoing learning process for the artist. Practices like setting her phone to “Do Not Disturb” mode and establishing realistic daily goals help her maintain focus. On days when the creative connection wanes, Irgolič turns to activities that nourish her soul, like reading, dancing, or spending time in nature, reaffirming that a contented spirit fuels her artistic endeavors.

Through her art and her approach to life, Nana Irgolič offers a glimpse into a world where sustainability, creativity, and mindfulness converge. Her journey, from the inspirations that shaped her to the sanctuary she creates for her art, paints a vivid picture of an artist deeply connected to her craft and the world around her.

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