Q&A: Botanical Bunny

All the way from the USA, Kerri Ciullo is the hands, heart and soul behind @botanicalbunny. An artist and hand embroider inspired by the intricate beauty of the natural world and human vulnerability. Having grown up spending her time in nature, hand sewing and battling Lyme Disease; embroidery allows Kerri to express herself and her passion for drawing, painting, colour and nature all in one, using this as an outlet especially in difficult times. With a "goal to inspire others" you certainly inspire me, please read the interview below to get to know this botanical bunny a bit more!

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Kerri Ciullo

Hi Kerri, can you introduce yourself for those who don’t know you?
Hey there, my name is Kerri Ciullo. I am also known on Instagram as “Botanicalbunny”. I am 23 years old, and I enjoy plants, animals, the outdoors, and creative expression. I am driven by empathy and a goal to inspire others. I live in the Northeastern United States and have a twin brother. 

How did you get to where you are now?
I was taught to hand sew at a fairly young age. I’ve also been interested in drawing and painting since childhood. Embroidery was a way for me to incorporate aspects of each medium into one form of expression. I have battled with chronic Lyme disease for most of my life. I have been in treatment for it for nearly the last four years; stitching has been a way for me to express myself during the hardest moments. 

Do you remember the day you first picked up a needle and thread? And the first piece you created with it?
As a child I used to love creating my own version of a needle and thread with a sturdy pine needle and long blades of scallion grass. I would sit in the grass, and attempt to stitch leaves together with my makeshift tools.

Who, what, when, where inspires you most?
I am most inspired when I walk in nature. Especially when I am alone. I take my time to visit each little detail that catches my eye. There is so much beauty hidden around us. It just takes time and patience to notice it. I have also been very inspired by my own dreams. I have a very active imagination, and I find my subconscious mind is filled with colour and endless images. 

Your work explores the ‘intricate beauty of the natural world and human vulnerability’. Can you further why you have chosen to focus on these two aspects of life?
I believe that I have chosen to focus on these two aspects of life because they have always played a large part in my own existence. Nature has always been a place of solace and acceptance for me. The one place where I felt safe, inspired, and free of judgement.  We live in such a fast passed world that can be very callous and unappreciative of emotional vulnerability. It is often portrayed as weakness, which is entirely false. I personally believe that if more people felt that they could truly express their feelings, it could cause a shift in our society as a whole. In my work I want to create a new appreciation for this planet we live on and the beings we share it with. 

What are your favourite materials to use and where do you buy them from?
My all-time favourite flosses to use are by DMC. As for materials, I love to experiment with various fabrics. I generally find my materials at craft stores, through thrifting, and online. 

How long does a piece take you to create and where does the magic happen?
My embroideries really all vary in the amount of time they take. Though, I have definitely gotten faster in my stitching over the years. My favourite place to create is out on my patio, surrounded by my plants in the sunshine. 

What do you love about textiles?
I love how versatile textiles are. There are so many mediums and techniques. I also really appreciate how textiles make art wearable in everyday life. 

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on some custom orders and planning out some new ideas for Spring/Summer. 

You take custom orders, what one has been a stand out?
I do take custom orders. They are always really enjoyable for me. At times I have to step out of my comfort zone with certain requests. Though it can be a bit intimidating at first, it has definitely made me a stronger stitcher. I’ve recently had multiple requests for custom pet embroideries. They always warm my heart and make me feel even more connected to my supporters. 

Dream person to collaborate with?  
My dream people to collaborate with are Susan Alexandra, and Samantha Pleet. 

What does 2018 have in store for you?
I am hoping that 2018 has some pleasant surprises. I am looking forward to new opportunities to expand as an artist. 

Any works of advice?
My words of advice would definitely be to always put out work that is original and feels true to yourself.