Debra Evans' pillow artistry involves intricate embroidery. Above, a treasure chest of them at Nohea Gallery, Ward Warehouse.

Pillow talk

Plushy pillows create
a touch of luxury
and a warm ambience

The right finishing touches can perk up any room. A picture-perfect valance can dress up a window. Paintings, wall coverings or just the right paint color can brighten an area. Sofas and beds can be covered with fabric or comfy bedding, but it's the plushiness of pillows that add an air of decadence and luxury. Accent pillows piled on sofas or beds create an ambience that invites the visitor to sit and stay awhile.

Debra Evans wanted pillows to make her own nest cozy but was unable to find the right ones at the store. She ended up stitching some for herself and, happy with the outcome, started making pillows as a hobby.

"Most people don't want to sit
or lie on their pillows."

--Debra Evans, Artist

That hobby grew to the point that Evans was able to take an early retirement to pursue her craft full time. "Now when I stay up late at night or can't sleep, I work on them," she said.

"One idea sparks another," she said, noting that as a teenager she enjoyed embroidery, sewing and making things, pursuits later lost to work and raising a family.

Her pillows are now available under the name Devan's Pillows at Nohea Gallery's Ward Warehouse and Ward Centre locations. Select designs are also available at Ohelo Road at Kahala Mall.

They come in pale, neutral colors: varying shades of beige and cream. The smallest pillows measure 15 inches. The larger ones, commonly used against the backs of sofas, are 18 1/2 inches. Both are embellished with embroidery and beads.

"The creations are all hand-sewn. Each is one of a kind ... no stencils are used," Evans said. "There are no two alike, both in fabric and design. And although I have several design ideas that I utilize -- dragonflies, my 'Starry Night,' a squiggly design that radiates like sun rays, my 'weeds and flowers' and what my husband has named 'Crop Circles' -- each one is done freehand."

She also creates some pillows with "funky fishes," and she signs each work for an artist's touch, the result being that "most people don't want to sit or lie on their pillows," Evans said. But she believes people should not be afraid to actually use the pillows. She assures the material is tightly woven, Scotchgarded and holds up well.

Evans isn't ready to accept custom orders. "It's hard to please people ... they may be disappointed with the results," she said. "It becomes a chore, like a regular job."

Speaking of regular job, piles of unfinished pillows await her every day. In assembly-line fashion, pieces are lined up in varying stages of production. "If I start something and it doesn't look right, I throw it on the side," she said. "I'm afraid to find out how long it actually takes to make one."

Evans pillows range in price from $25 to $40. "I'm glad that people can afford them. I don't want people to flip over the price tag," she said.

Debra Evans signature graces each pillow.

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