Back in February, LA-based textile artist Hyla Frank was trying to help a friend feel better about moving to a new apartment without her dogs. So she pulled out some of her favorite Belgian linen and got to work: hand- and machine-stitching the likenesses of the pal’s pooches, Leon and Stanley. “I created these pillows with the idea that she needed something to remind her of her dogs on a daily basis and be cuddle-able at the same time,” Frank tells CH.
Frank’s motto—“Sleep Solves Everything”—may give some clues into why she has been spending most of her time focused on making pillows, duvets and shams. When taking on a new pet pillow creation, Frank makes a few preliminary sketches from photographs—which she studies carefully. “It always helps when I get multiple photos of a dog since they can look different from so many different angles,” she says. “I like to make sure I capture unique spots or shapes. I love dogs that always have their tongues out. Those are my favorites.”
From her many illustrations, Frank traces the best one onto fabric and then hand-embroiders the outline, eyes and a few key features with thick thread. Next, with her heavy duty Singer 4452 sewing machine, she sews the fur, smaller details and the pet’s name. The result is an uncanny likenesses to the pet blended with a charming artist’s impression. On leaving the thread trailing off the pet’s name, Frank says, “I love the crazy shapes and swirls they make in the blank space—they are ever-changing doodles within the image I’m making.”
Frank doesn’t just create pillows boasting dogs’ faces, her creations have featured cats, horses and pigs. She tells CH, “I recently got asked to do a rabbit, so we’ll see how that goes.”
Hyla Frank’s Custom Dog Sketch Pillows are available at Ready-To-Wag from $290 to $380.