Hello! I’m Irina Stepanova, a designer and artist based in Maryland.
While my studio's name is Mishutka Design Studio (which means "little bear" in Russian), I chose Oak Lane Cottage for this website as a nod to an old brick house I once lived in. It was a sunny and peaceful home, a refuge of sorts, where I could find some quiet time to design, paint and stitch.
I grew up in Russia around fabrics and sewing, but I didn’t learn to stitch until I found a treasure trove of my mom’s and grandma’s linens and whitework. I'm fond of antiques and some of my embroidery patterns are based on antique designs. I enjoy giving them a new lease on life.
As a teenager, I tried my hand at watercolors and absolutely loved it. Watercolors and gouache are still my media of choice, although I do use ink and pencils as well. My artwork is inspired by nature, travel, antique ephemera and folk art.
You can find my articles about antique needlework in PieceWork and JustCrossStitch magazines. My antique paper collection was featured in the Uppercase Encyclopedia of Inspiration, Ephemera volume.