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.
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July 08, 2015
If you follow me on Instagram, you have noticed that over the course of the past few months I have begun sharing many photos of my hand embroidery work.
As I explained in a guest blog post on Oh So Beautiful Paper last month:
At the end of 2014 I was sidelined with a major ankle injury I sustained while running (note to self: watch out for those curbs!). Being on crutches and laid up for weeks, I knew I would soon be going stir crazy. I had dabbled briefly with hand embroidery a few years before and thought now would be the perfect time to pick it back up. I ordered a number of supplies online (since I couldn’t drive anywhere), delved deep into some online video tutorials I discovered via my old pal Google, and began creating some pieces of work.
As with my hand-illustrated paper goods, I am completely self-taught in the art of hand-embroidery. What started as a fun side project has turned into something more as folks have begun inquiring about purchasing my work, if I offer patterns, and requests for custom pieces.
I am in the midst of planning to sell pieces from this one of a kind collection in the near future. My intention is to offer them as contemporary pieces of art ready to hang on your wall. This is not your grandmother's old timey hoop art (no offense to your grandmothers!) and I am excited to soon offer unique pieces to adorn your walls. To learn about when the collection launches sign up for my newsletter here or at the bottom of this page.