They are a unique way to celebrate your cult heroes from the world of rock ‘n’ roll, TV, film and literature and have been spotted everywhere from Glastonbury to the USA.
Joanna with Bowie pins as lapel badges
The company “Threadfamous” produces pin badges, hand-embroidered portraits and hand-painted jackets of some of the coolest icons of counterculture from Bowie to Barrett and Hepburn to Huxley.
And the mini artworks are all the creation of Leicester-based DMU Fine Art graduate Joanna Root.
Joanna set up Threadfamous after starting to embroider while visiting a family member who was in hospital.
After sharing the results on Instagram, she started getting good feedback, so set up a shop on web trading site Etsy. Due to the time it takes to create a hand-embroidered portrait Joanna also produced a few pin designs.
Joanna said: “Accessories are such an easy way to wear your heart on your sleeve - or lapel - and once I'd started thinking of a few famous faces to turn into pins I couldn't stop!”
A close-up of Bowie's Aladdin Sane
The list of portraits reads like a dictionary of 20th century cool, including Sylvia Plath, George Orwell, Philip K Dick, Ziggy Stardust, The Log Lady, Agent Dale Cooper and Audrey Horne from Twin Peaks, Morrissey and Jack Torrance from The Shining.
Joanna said: “I make things that I'd like to own. It really is that simple. No matter what you make or produce, as long as you'd love to have it, others will follow! At least I hope so. Most of the people I portray are musicians, authors or much loved characters; basically people who inspire me, have sentimental value attached to them or are a bit of fun.
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“Some of the more popular designs have been editions for charity. I had been drawing up some David Bowie designs the week before he died. He was such a hero of mine that I wanted to go ahead and make them, and decided it would be a fitting tribute to donate the proceeds to Cancer Research UK and the Anthony Nolan charity. One of my most recent pins is David Attenborough, which came about from a weekend binge-watching his documentaries. He inspired me to donate 10 per cent of the sale price of all the pins to the World Wide Fund for Nature.
The Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett
“The reaction has been fantastic! I've been blown away by it all really. It’s been steadily growing and I've met some fantastic people along the way. Instagram has been incredibly beneficial, and there is a really supportive community of makers on there.
“Many of my orders are from the USA or further afield, which is crazy if I stop to think about it. Some of my friends even walked past some people wearing my pins at Glastonbury, which was a bit surreal!”
Joanna graduated in Fine Art from DMU in 2009 and says it sometimes feels like it was only yesterday.
She added: “I met some fantastic people along the way, many of whom I still count as great friends today. I think university is a massive learning curve, and there are so many opportunities there for the taking. Being away from home and growing up so much can provide many obstacles, but there was lots of support, and it was a great environment to study in. I definitely miss the access to all of the equipment and tutors to teach you how to use it! Make the most of that while you can.
The classic scene from Le Voyage Dans La Lune
“My course definitely helped me learn more about what I liked, and what wasn't really my thing. We got to study various disciplines, and refine what it really was that we wanted to pursue. It also gave me a great grounding in how to approach a new type of work, and how to keep something of 'you', even in an area that is out of your normal comfort zone.”
You can view and buy Joanna’s pins, embroidery and jackets by visiting www.threadfamous.co.uk
You can see upcoming designs and behind-the-scenes info on Instagram @threadfamous and also see more on Twitter and Facebook @threadfamous
Posted on Monday 25th July 2016