There are many layers of artistry in Hand & Cloth. Sylvia Krzysztofek, a photographer and textile enthusiast, photographed our first ever Kantha Yardage collection. In our experience, textile enthusiasts are so inspiring to meet, so we decided we would introduce you to some! Meet Sylvia...
Sylvia, tell us a little bit about yourself and where you are from.
I work as a food & lifestyle photographer with a strong passion for traveling, animals, our environment, and of course food! I grew up in the city of Chicago and from a young age I was inspired by my surroundings - city life, the architecture, and the diverse culture. I come from a Polish background so cooking home cooked meals was a big part of my life. Now that my in-laws have a farm out in Harvard, IL, I am trying to start a small garden of my own with my husband and our two dogs, Boomer & Bella. ;) I love the ocean - it is my sacred place and my inspiration. I absolutely adore animals and someday wish to own a farm with pigs and goats!
Can you tell us what inspired you to become a photographer and what your specialty is?
I come from a painting and mixed media background so colors, scenery, and self expression is very important to me and my work. I love paying attention to the little details. I studied fine art photography at Columbia College, shooting with film. After living in California, I was left inspired by colors and textures and the simple way of life and of course, farming. The food out there is quite amazing and I really love how everyone gets together and brings home cooked meals to dinner parties and picnics. It’s so important to know where your food is coming from, and it’s awesome to see everyone share that information with each other. I’m now in Chicago working with talented artists collaborating on different projects and photographing gatherings of friends and family enjoying good food. I shoot both in film and digital!
You so beautifully photographed Hand & Cloth’s new Hand-Stitched Kantha Yardage! What could you envision the Kantha Yardage being used for?
Oh my! Every piece was just simply stunning. The colors are enticing and so vivid - it’s almost like a story in itself with the different patterns. I can see it being used for upholstering chairs or couches, creating a beautiful wall piece, pillows and bedding, the possibilities are really endless!
You mentioned on your website that you split your time between Chicago and San Francisco. What are some of your favorite spots in each city?
Chicago is very beautiful for its architecture and and I’m really enjoying the growth of small artesian shops popping up such as Gather Home + Lifestyle for home goods, Foxtrot for local groceries, for a cup of coffee with an amazing view, Restoration Hardware and of course picking up flowers at A New Leaf. In San Francisco I absolutely love heading down to Ocean Beach watching the surfers and sunset, then stopping by the General Store to check out their latest shipment of books, clothes, and home decor. Biking to Saulsalito from Fisherman’s Warf is a fun weekend activity! You can rent a bike there and ride it all the way across the Golden Gate Bridge - the views are breathtaking. And of course, just driving and exploring up and down the coast to Half Moon Bay or Bolinas was pretty much our weekend adventures, every weekend!
What is the most interesting thing you have read or watched recently?
Recently watched the documentary - “Cooked” by Michael Pollen. Highly recommend watching this if you’re interested in learning about how different cultures get their food and how they eat it! As for books, I read a lot! I’m currently reading two books (I know, I can’t help myself sometimes!) One book is called “Unprocessed” by Megan Kimble. Great book to learn about how to get rid of eating processed food - and it’s possible! The second book is “Modoc” by Ralph Helfer. It’s a beautiful story about an elephant.
As you are so passionate about food, what is your latest food discovery… or the thing that you just can’t get enough of lately?
Latest discovery would be learning about a new farming technique called Aquaponics! Quite fascinating. As for my latest food obsession, I’m experimenting with cabbage! Trying to get my husband to eat more sauerkraut. It is SO healthy for you!
We've saved one of our favorite questions for last... What has been the most formative textile in your life?
In Poland it is very common to see a beautiful, traditional embroidered table runner. I remember growing up and finding a handful of them in the cupboard and I would take them out and lay them down and play “tea time”, as silly as that sounds. They’re quite beautiful and my mom still has them all.
Thanks, Sylvia, for being inspiring! Check out our line of Kantha Yardage photographed by Sylvia as well as her website thisgirlsylvia.com!