May 09, 2016
When asked about the hand embroidery process, these words always come to mind: slow, meditative, fun, tedious, enjoyable, calming, tiring, invigorating. Clearly, it can be a study in opposites!
Hand embroidery is also a test of my patience. A piece doesn't just take form in a matter of minutes or even hours. It happens over days and weeks. I don't really plan out most pieces ahead of time, so I never really know how long something is going to take. I sometimes track my time from the first stitch to the last stitch, but this can get a bit laborious.
I posted this photo on Instagram recently to demonstrate how slow and methodical the process is for me.
The three flowers above took about one and a half hours to complete, and most of the work was stitched with a single strand of thread (from a skein of six strands). Each flower is about an inch to an inch and a half.
Hand embroidery has also taught me a lot about listening to my own body. The process can actually be quite physically grueling - there is a lot of leaning, neck strain, and an intense use of both hands and arms (one hand for stitching, one hand for firmly holding the hoop still). At the same time, I'm focusing my eyes on the exact point of stitching. I've become better about taking breaks, stretching, noticing and correcting my posture, and switching tasks, plus I see an acupuncturist, chiropractor, and a massage therapist regularly (it takes a village!).
All of this is to say, when you buy a piece of hand embroidered artwork from me, a lot of love, patience, and time went into each and every piece. It's a process I love more than anything. Through embroidery, I've been able to push myself creatively in ways I didn't know were possible, and I hope that comes through in my work.
Want more of my hand embroidery tips? You can find them here.
Want to be the first to hear about Happy Cactus Designs' latest products and promotions? Sign up for our newsletter here.