Manica K. Musil / Stitchings
UGM Studio, Trg Leona Štuklja 2
14 December 2018 – 23 February 2019
opening: Friday, 14 December 2018, 19:00
opening tour: Friday, 14 December 2018, 18:00

exhibition curator: Mojca Štuhec

Three Kittens and a Dragon, Cecilia the Goat, the Naughty Pigs, the Magic Shell, Johnny Mosquito, Franky the Anteater, Robbie the Lion and Stan the Elephant are the heroes of Manica K. Musil's picture books. The author, otherwise an architect, started her career in illustration in 2011. At first, she did illustrations for her children's books in graphic techniques, but her designing approach has changed over time and in a creative eruption, she firmly stepped onto a different path. She simply no longer drew the images, but started to sew, glue and crochet them. Cecilia the Goat was her first book, published in 2013, followed by Cecilia the Goat and Who Drank All the Water (2014), The Naughty Pigs (2015), The Magic Shell (2016), Johnny Mosquito (2016) and Stan the Elephant (2017).

Manica's creative process begins with a story in her head being written down and sketched, and only after that, it is sewn. She creates her textile illustrations by combining different materials – fabric, felt, cotton wool, wool, wire and paper. It takes her several months to prepare an individual book. Protagonists of her tales are usually animals; according to Manica, children love them and can easily identify with them. Texts in her picture books are in the form of a comics book, running parallel to the illustrations. The long-running process makes the end product visually outstanding and therefore interesting for Slovenian publishers as well as the international market. Children in China, Brazil, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Turkey and Pakistan all read Manica’s picture books, and those in Russia and India will soon be joining them.

The author has received a lot of acknowledgement and numerous awards for her work. Her picture book The Naughty Pigs made the Top Ten Best Children’s Books list in Chinese province of Jiangsu in 2017, she was awarded two gold medals by the 3x3 Magazine for Contemporary Illustration in New York – for the books Stan the Elephant, and Three Kittens and a Dragon (2016). In 2015, The Naughty Pigs were chosen as the best-designed book for children and youth at the Slovenian Book Fair; the year before Manica was named among the ten best illustrators at the Cow International Illustration Festival in Ukraine.

A puppet theatre play for children was devised at the Maribor Puppet Theatre in 2016, based on The Naughty Pigs, directed by Miha Golob and with music by Vasko Atanasovski. At this ocassion, Manica, together with the architect Teja K. Lozar and Maribor kindergartens, decorated the space in front of the puppet theatre with chickens from the book. A project in Maribor's time as the European Capital of Culture (2012) was similar, with children filling up the great void of Maribor Leon Štukelj Square.

Manica K. Musil is a universal artist. After finishing high school (II. gimnazija) and music school (piano) in Maribor, she studied architecture at the University of Ljubljana. Her first project, the municipal hall in Gorišnica, was awarded Best Realization price at the young architects' competition »Leonardo« for the 2nd UIA region (in collaboration with Mateja Katrašnik). She received numerous prizes in the field of printmaking and co-authored 11 Slovenian postage stamps. After birth of the first of her three children, she has expanded her creative field and started writing nursery rhymes and tales. Between 2011 and 2017, she had published nine picture books, for which she had received numerous awards internationally as well.