Maricor and Maricar (B. Design, 2005) are two artists making their mark on the international stage using a most unusual medium. The twin sisters, who had their first solo exhibition in Sydney earlier this year, are transforming the humble needle and thread into playful and quirky art.

Handcrafted pieces along with animations created from embroidered designs have led the design duo to work with an enviable list of Australian music celebrities. This has included empire of the Sun, Sneaky Sound System, Death Cab for Cutie, Architecture in Helsinki and even Playschool’s Justine Clarke. Not limited to the painstaking art of embroidery, Maricor and Maricar’s work also utilises paper, illustration and print to create colourful and whimsical graphics and video that have become their signature style.

“We’ve always liked working with our hands and experimenting with various techniques, we love the tactility of using different materials in our work. Lines, patterns, texture. These are the basis of everything we do.”

However, the decision to branch out under their own name has only been a recent one. After graduating, the sisters originally went in separate directions, one into print and the other into motion.

“We finally got a chance to work professionally together at a design studio and that’s where we got to combine our different interests in animation, illustration and print. We decided to go off on our own at the beginning of last year and focus on our handcrafted design and graphics work.”

Success followed quickly. Maricor and Maricar were finalists in the Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards (SoYA) and began getting overseas attention. An animated music video they created made it into international film festival Plus Camerimage; they were featured in Russian magazine Free Hugs; and some of their designs are set to be published in a book on graphic design.

“We’ve been really lucky in the last year and a bit since branching out under our own name. We won the British Council Australia’s Realise Your Dream award last year which grants creative professionals with tickets and money to travel to the UK.”

Listing the UK trip as the highlight of their career thus far, Maricor and Maricar say it is an invaluable opportunity and they are looking forward to meeting with other designers who they admire, to talk about future collaborations.

Like their famous client list, Maricor and Maricar say music is a big inspiration for them. Their recent exhibition was based on misheard song lyrics and it was through their work with a band that started their fascination with embroidery.

“The Architecture in Helsinki video clip is one of our favourite projects because it introduced us to a technique that’s since become our main creative outlet. We had a very limited budget and tight deadline but were able to experiment with embroidery, something we’d never worked with before at that time."

Words: Vanessa Marks