Nature-inspired Hand Embroidery

Candle With Hare is the creation of London, ON-based textile artist Alejandra. Lovingly known as Alex or Al, they creates ornately embroidered hoops, inspected by their trusty canine sidekick Mika, who also happens to be the employee of the month, every month.

A person stands smiling, with a creek or river beside and behind them. They are wearing a toque, sunglasses and a heavy-looking coat. A small dog is popping out from the coat. The person holds a canvas tote bag in front of them.
Candle With Hare’s Alejandra and Mika enjoying nature together. Image via Instagram @candlewithhare.

With a background in vegan cooking and nutrition, Al’s love of plants, animals, gardening, and foraging comes through in their art. Whether inspired by the world around them or creating something custom from a client’s vision, their work is intricate, detailed, and downright gorgeous. 

A hoop embroidered by Candle With Hare sits on a backdrop of live white and yellow flowers. The hoop has the words Support Local embroidered around a woven basket of produce.
Support local, folks! Image via Instagram @candlewithhare.

Their work often features native plants and mushrooms found throughout southwestern Ontario mixed with messages such as “Food Not Lawns” and “Nature Over Profit.” Sometimes they even incorporate branches, twigs, or leaves they find on woodsy walks with Mika into their textile pieces. 

Candle With Hare’s intricate handiwork is on full display with these colourful embroidered monograms. Image via Instagram @candlewithhare.

Unsurprisingly, as a fierce advocate for the environment and reducing waste, in addition to embroidery, Al also enjoys making their own clothes, modifying thrifted pieces, and mending worn threads. 

Also, as an intersectional feminist and proponent of mental health, their work is inclusive, thought-provoking, and kind. With beautifully coloured pieces with embroidered messages such as “Trans Rights Are Human Rights,” “It’s Okay Not to Be Okay,” and “Your Kindness Can Save Someone’s Life,” Al makes it clear — their art is for everyone. 

A embroidery hoop by Candle With Hare sits on a tree branch. Surrounded by brightly coloured sprinkles are the embroidered words Love is Love.
Candle With Hare maintains and advocates for safe spaces online and through her work. Image via Instagram @candlewithhare.

So, let’s hoop it up with this nature-inspired creative!

What do you make?

I am a textile artist and my focus is embroidery inspired by nature and in support of mental health. I like to create work that will make people happy when they bring it to their home.

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How and when did you start creating?

Ever since I was little I’ve always been interested in textiles. I would go into my mum’s fabric stash and I would try to create little things for her. Later she would teach me how to knit and crochet. I learned to embroider on my own and started creating little gifts for my friends. I found myself feeling very relaxed and happy when I was working on a hoop, then people started showing interest as I started to share my work online and just like that Candle with Hare was born.

Do you remember your first piece? What was it?

My first piece was a portrait of my dog, Mika. It was my first big project. I still have it hanging in my bedroom and I look at it every day. It’s very gratifying to see how far I’ve come.

What do you wish you had known when you first started making?

Write everything down and make sure to plan things. Lists are your best friends, they’re a very good way to keep track of things like new ideas or supplies you may need. They also help you organize and prioritize your day and activities.

How did you come up with your name for your business?

I was playing with words trying to figure out a logo and a name for my business. Handle with care was always in my head and a little switch of letters made it work.

What or who inspires you?

I find most of my inspiration from walks around the city. We have so many beautiful green areas, if you walk a little into the woods you’re able to forget that you’re in the middle of the city. You’ll run into deer, all kinds of birds, and if you’re lucky, you may even see some wild turkeys in the summer sunbathing.

What’s your favourite item or piece to work on?

I love making custom hoops for my clients, from wreaths to celebrate new family members to items that will memorialize a loved one. Every hoop is so personal and it’s such a wonderful feeling to have people trust me with these very personal mementos. I love seeing their faces light up when they receive them, there’s nothing like it.

What’s the most challenging aspect of being a maker?

Being in charge of everything, from beginning to end, it’s all on you. From designing, making, marketing, packaging, shipping, you have to be on top of everything. You learn a lot and it’s very satisfying, but it can also be very overwhelming.

What’s your favourite London neighbourhood and why?

The historic Woodfield! It’s such a cute neighbourhood, with very friendly folks. Every time I’m out for a walk I know I’ll run into a friend. We also have great small businesses you can visit, like Locomotive for a tasty coffee and vegan doughnuts or The Bag Lady for some sweet brunch and fun decor!

What’s your favourite “hidden gem” in London you think more people should know about?

I love food and one of my favourite restaurants is Addis Ababa, the food is amazing, vegan-friendly and the owners are the sweetest! Highly recommend trying the platters.

Where can people find your work?

You can find me online on Instagram, Tiktok, Etsy, and Grow and Bloom.

What other London makers should Londoners check out?

There are so many very talented folks in town, but a few of my favourites are:

Dauma Ceramics — Dauma makes really gorgeous and detailed ceramics, my favourite are her blobs, they will bring you so much joy, they all have great personalities and are so unique.

Forest City Stained Glass — Stacie is so creative and makes really beautiful pieces, she shares a lot of her process and inspiration and it’s wonderful to see.

And Dog Tired Prints — Eric makes beautiful prints that will blow your mind and you’ll be amazed at the number of details in his woodblocks.

Connect with Candle With Hare

Feature photo courtesy of Candle With Hare.

London Makers and Creators is a series from LondonFuse, focusing on the talented artisans who make and sell their work throughout London and area.

Are you or do you know a London maker we should be highlighting? If so, let us know in the comments below or email info@londonfuse.ca to be featured in this series.

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