July 27, 2016

Wonderful Wednesday #11: Odd Ana Stitch

Squid Embroidery Kit by Odd Ana Stitch

There is something oddly wonderful about this embroidery kit by Odd Ana Stitch on Etsy. I love all the hand-drawn elements of this pattern, and all the extras included in the kit, like a beginner's guide to embroidery, floss, and a beautiful illustrated color guide.

July 26, 2016

Stitchy Snippets - Antique Textiles


Louise Saxton has an expert eye for antique embroidery and lace. Her artistic practice is centred around reclaiming vintage needlework to produce contemporary, textile collages and sculptures. Louise Saxton talks about the appeal of embroidery: 'Needlework is an ancient art form, beautiful as well as practical, and whether simple or complex in design it is painstakingly constructed.'



Saxton predominantly uses pins to fix the textiles and fabricate her collages and with this technique she can achieve a textile relief. This technique also echoes the traditional handwork experience and the labour involved.


Undertaking residencies in Mexico and Malaysia has broadened her insight into local artisan technique, influenced her work and also helped in increasing her great collection of needlework.


Saxton regards her artistic process as a 'silent collaboration with the anonymous original makers'. This transformation of forgotten and discarded textiles is integral to her work as it returns importance and value to the craft of needlework and showcases these precious pieces of handwork. Saxton elaborates: 'Historically, handmade embroidery and lace were as economically valuable as gold and silver... Needlework is cross-cultural, but sadly in most parts of the world today, it is in danger of disappearing.' Promoting traditional needlework and textiles within her work helps to protect the art form.

To find out more about her work and upcoming exhibitions look here.



Hi, I'm Julia - an embroidery enthusiast based in Amsterdam with a lifelong passion for textiles. I like to mix things up by combining different techniques and mediums - my origami styled dress won the Hand & Lock embroidery prize. Join me on my exploration of embroidery with mixed media and fibre art.

July 22, 2016

Friday Instagram Finds No. 62 featuring Ruby Sew Oh


Happy Friday, stitchy fans! On today's Friday Instagram Finds we take a look at @rubysewoh and her Instagram account. Danielle creates beautiful hand embroidery on gorgeous, printed fabric. She also sews and is in the process of creating a gorgeous Liberty hexie quilt. Here are some of my favorites from her Instagram feed. Danielle used #feelingstitchyig, and I'm glad she did so I could discover her fun and creative work.

While you're on Instagram checking out Danielle's work at @rubysewoh make sure you follow Feeling Stitchy! We'd love for you to stop by and say hello. You can find Feeling Stitchy on Instagram at the handle @feelingstitchyish. You can find Amy at @randomactsofamy on Instagram.


Want to be featured in Friday Instagram Find? Tag your best stitch-related photos with #feelingstitchyig!



A photo posted by Embroidery hoop art & more! (@rubysewoh) on

A photo posted by Embroidery hoop art & more! (@rubysewoh) on

A photo posted by Embroidery hoop art & more! (@rubysewoh) on

Hi, I'm Amy - I feature interesting embroidery and stitch-related photos I find on Instagram. Use #feelingstitchyig on Instagram for pictures you want me to find.

Find me on: Instagram | Random Acts of Amy | Etsy

July 20, 2016

Winner in the Jessica Taylor Made Giveaway!

We have a winner for this beautiful kit in the Jessica Taylor Made giveaway!

Black Star Kit

The winner, who will receive the lovely Black Star tapestry kit is:



I like gold star the best.


And, if you are curious as to which kit was our reader's favorite....

Here are the results of the "vote" :)
Gold Star - 1st place
Black Star - 2nd place
Coral Sun + Pink Diamond - 3rd place tie

Personally, I found it very hard to pick a favorite, but I am very drawn to the bold colors in Pink Diamond. Thank you once again to Jessica, for making this giveaway possible. If you haven't already, be sure to check out her lovely shop, Jessica Taylor Made. And thanks to all of our readers for taking part!

Wonderful Wednesday #10: The Noble Thread

Folk Garden Pattern by The Noble Thread

I absolutely love the wooly texture in this beautiful Folk Garden PDF Pattern - but I'm sure it would look equally lovely stitched up in DMC floss - the pattern includes color options for DMC, Appleton crewel wool, and Renaissance crewel wool.

It's hard to believe there are only 8 stitches used in this piece - it is so beautifully and delicately stitched, one would think it was far more!

July 15, 2016

Friday Instagram Finds No. 61 featuring Nerds and Needles



TGIF! On today's Friday Instagram Finds we take a look at @nerdsandneedles and her Instagram account. Redd creates fun pop culture-inspired embroidery and cross stitch projects. I especially love her Doctor Who applique hoop series! Here are some of my favorites from her Instagram feed. Redd used #feelingstitchyig, and I'm glad she did so I could discover her fun and creative work.

While you're on Instagram checking out Redd's work at @nerdsandneedles make sure you follow Feeling Stitchy! We'd love for you to stop by and say hello. You can find Feeling Stitchy on Instagram at the handle @feelingstitchyish. You can find Amy @randomactsofamy on Instagram.


Want to be featured in Friday Instagram Find? Tag your best stitch-related photos with #feelingstitchyig!

@nerdsandneedles










Hi, I'm Amy - I feature interesting embroidery and stitch-related photos I find on Instagram. Use #feelingstitchyig on Instagram for pictures you want me to find.

Find me on: Instagram | Random Acts of Amy | Etsy

July 14, 2016

Jessica Taylor Made - Interview and Giveaway!

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Jessica from Jessica Taylor Made Her bold, geometric tapestry kits look like a joy to stitch. Read on to learn more about Jessica and stay tuned to the end of this post for a special giveaway of one of Jessica's kits!

Pink Diamond canvas by Jessica Taylor

What inspired you to do tapestry?

It is not what inspired me but rather who... my Grandmother bought my first tapestry kit at the age of 7 and taught me how to stitch, we used to sit together for hours on end stitching. I looked up to her talent and loved her enormous sofa covered with her beautiful cushion creations. As I grew with confidence I would pick up her more complicated tapestry and complete a section, later being proud that it was a joint effort. Over the years I have tried embroidery, cross stitch and long stitch but always come back to my real passion, tapestry.

Jessica Taylorgrandmother


Can you recall your first tapestry piece?

My first kit was a small swan design and I was so delighted when I completed it and my Grandmother helped me to finish it and put in a frame. I only wish I still had it or could find the original kit to buy again so I can teach my daughter when she is old enough.

Jessica and Elodie

Why did you start designing your own kits?

I became a mother to a gorgeous, squidgy daughter recently and it seemed like the best time to set up something for myself which I really enjoy doing and will always have time for. The main aim of JessicaTaylorMade was to design modern and appealing creations for the more discerning. I could not find kit designs on the market to satisfy my passion and was bored of the dull floral or animal tapestries available. I am fed up of stitching numerous kits and not wanting to display them or even give them to friends and family as gifts!


Two Stars pillows

What influences your designs?

I am quite addicted to using shapes and lines to create pattern. I like order and combining simple shapes to create an overall beautiful form. I have been influenced by numerous trips to Morocco and Turkey where there are such beautiful patterns everywhere: pavements, columns, mosques and palaces. I have taken inspiration from these and simplified them to create my tapestry designs. I am strongly attracted to bright colours which is part of my heritage, being half Nigerian and having my Grandmother's influence. She would wear traditional, brightly coloured Nigerian dress everyday despite the cold British weather.

White Sun pillow


Do you exhibit your work, have a shop, or sell your work in any way?

I launched my website (http://www.jessicataylormade.co.uk/) as my main point of sale in April this year, after just having my Facebook page and doing bespoke commissions for people who contacted. I built the website myself from scratch which I am pleased with as being technical with computers in not my strength. I have attended many markets, mainly in London and now more locally to Marlborough where I live.

Coral Sun kit


Do you do your work in a studio or special place? Do you think your surroundings are important to your process?

I have a few places I love to stitch, mainly somewhere snuggly and warm with good light. I do think tapestry stitching is quite seasonal and I find I do a lot more in the winter months curled up on my leather chair with a glass of wine. Or on a leather chair at my local pub with a roaring fire. Stitching on holiday in the sunshine al fresco is often just as relaxing if not more so than getting into a good book. Your surroundings are important, it needs to be peaceful with few distractions, a place where you can switch off and give stitching 90% of your attention, the other 10% on the TV, your husband or glass of wine.

stitching on canvas

What do you think is the best way to learn tapestry?

I would say just start, don’t choose a kit that is too complicated and select one with a coloured canvas to give you more of a guide. I know people who were terrified because the canvas is large, but stitching is supposed to be a slow progressive hobby and so it may take months to finish. But the sense of pride and achievement once it is completed is amazing. The feeling when someone comes to your home and asks where you bought your cushions and you say actually I made it, is like no other.

I have designed my kits to be simple to stitch and can be ideal for complete beginners with few colours and simple shapes, all straight lines! I include in depth instructions which you can take step by step and as long as you start in the middle and work your way out the outcome will be lovely I’m sure! Think of it as an adult paint by numbers combined with dot to dot and be brave! I am always happy to help at the other end of the phone or email if you get stuck!

***

Thank you Jessica, for your letting us all get to know you better! Jessica would like to celebrate the launch of her new store with a special giveaway!

One lucky Feeling Stitchy reader will receive the gorgeous Black Star Tapestry kit below:

Black Star Kit

To enter the giveaway, Jessica would like you to view her shop and tell us which of her 6 designs is your favorite. Leave your comment here by 9 PM US CST on Monday, July 18. We'll choose one random winner and announce it soon after. Thanks, Jessica, and good luck to our readers!

July 13, 2016

Wonderful Wednesday #9: Miniature Rhino


Ampersand PDF pattern by Miniature Rhino

From time to time, I love to check on Miniature Rhino and see what lovely work she is up to - like this beautiful bold Ampersand pattern on Etsy. I love the variety of stitches and bright colors in this wonderful piece. I bet you could do a fascinating version of this in black and white as well.

July 12, 2016

Stitchy Snippets - Texture


Undulating, organic sculptures are masterfully crafted by artist and designer Rowan Mersh. Each element of his sculptures is individually positioned and fixed.



The elements and structure of the chosen materials are explored to maximum effect. Mersh creates stunning textural art works using an assortment of media from leather and fabric to walnut shells and seashells.


The textures hold so much depth that they resemble nature perfectly such as ruffled feathers, knots in oak, tousled fur and sea creatures' swirling tentacles. The realistic quality of Mersh's works of art and attention to detail is inspirational.


Hi, I'm Julia - an embroidery enthusiast based in Amsterdam with a lifelong passion for textiles. I like to mix things up by combining different techniques and mediums - my origami styled dress won the Hand & Lock embroidery prize. Join me on my exploration of embroidery with mixed media and fibre art.

July 8, 2016

Friday Instagram Finds No. 60 with Miss Minianmna


Hello! On today's Friday Instagram Finds we take a look at @missminimanna and her Instagram account. Sam creates fun embroidery projects, many of them stitched onto felt designs. I especially love her summertime brooches, the pineapple in particular! Sam's feed is so bright and cheerful, and her photos are beautifully styled and staged. Here are some of my favorites from her Instagram feed. Sam used #feelingstitchyig, and I'm glad she did so I could discover her beautiful work.

While you're on Instagram checking out Sam's work at @missminimanna make sure you follow Feeling Stitchy! We'd love for you to stop by and say hello. You can find Feeling Stitchy on Instagram at the handle @feelingstitchyish. You can find Amy @randomactsofamy on Instagram.


Want to be featured in Friday Instagram Find? Tag your best stitch-related photos with #feelingstitchyig!

@missminimanna








Hi, I'm Amy - I feature interesting embroidery and stitch-related photos I find on Instagram. Use #feelingstitchyig on Instagram for pictures you want me to find.

Find me on: Instagram | Random Acts of Amy | Etsy

July 6, 2016

Wonderful Wednesday #8: Nancy Nicholson

Butterflies Pattern by Nancy Nicholson

I am floored by the talented, bright, colorful stitchery of Nancy Nicholson - and this dense Butterflies PDF pattern on Etsy does not disappoint!

If you're looking for a larger challenge, her printed linen kits look impeccable as well, and include a gorgeous drawstring stitchable bag:

Cat Stitch Kit by Nancy Nicholson

July 1, 2016

Friday Instagram Finds No. 59 with Novelsnob


Happy Stitchy Friday, friends! On today's Friday Instagram Finds we feature @novelsnob. Emma creates absolutely stunning pieces of 3-D embroidery! And that's not the end of her talents - she is an accomplished embroidery artist, she sews, crochets,  and does free-hand machine embroidery. Here are some of my favorites from her Instagram feed. Emma used #feelingstitchyig, and I'm glad she did so I could discover her beautiful work.

While you're on Instagram checking out Emma's work at @novelsnob make sure you follow Feeling Stitchy! We'd love for you to stop by and say hello. You can find Feeling Stitchy on Instagram at the handle @feelingstitchyish. You can find Amy @randomactsofamy on Instagram.

Want to be featured in Friday Instagram Find? Tag your best stitch-related photos with #feelingstitchyig!

@novelsnob
A photo posted by Emma J. (@novelsnob) on

Hi, I'm Amy - I feature interesting embroidery and stitch-related photos I find on Instagram. Use #feelingstitchyig on Instagram for pictures you want me to find.

Find me on: Instagram | Random Acts of Amy | Etsy

June 29, 2016

Wonderful Wednesday #7: Tiny Boxes


I'm loving everything about this lovely little PDF pattern on Etsy by Tiny Boxes - the colors, the modern feel, and that it looks like a quick and easy stitch.

June 28, 2016

Katrina Majkut - In Control


The fantastically innovative artist Katrina Majkut joins us to discuss her work and specifically her latest embroidery collection entitled 'In Control'. Katrina talks about her inspirations and work processes as well as the powerful message that she expresses and transfers through her work and the incredible impression and response it evokes.

What led you to the medium of thread and embroidery art? Was there a defining moment for you?
I was living in Berkeley, California from 2009 to 2011 and all around me was the birth of many modern activist movements: Black Lives Matter, marriage equality, Obama was pushing for free birth control, Occupy. I was also starting TheFeministBride.com and doing a lot of research into wedding tradition and how many Western social practices define women’s identity and set their status in society, which really helped me understand how embroidery did the same. I was also bound for grad school and very bored by store-bought, mass-produced cross-stitches so I started experimenting.

When did you learn to embroider?
I was around ten years old. Like most young girls, I learned from my mother.


How does embroidery best translate your idea and vision?
Embroidery as a domestic craft has almost always been a way to assert specific feminine values and identities – for example, what it means to be a woman, a mother and a wife, but it never included the physical components many use to fulfill those roles. I began to wonder whether that omission had contributed to so many social and civil politics that refused to give women full reproductive rights or even acknowledge that basic need, so I started stitching all products related to women’s reproduction, bodies and health. In doing so, my artwork is often characterized as subversive, which is insane because the reality is these health products and needs are natural and common for the majority of women. Someone once called me “brave” for doing this work, which was a compliment that caught me off guard because it’s so basic to me - it’s part of everyday life, but for me to connect the idea of bodily autonomy with women’s roles has been considered radical. There’s absolutely no reason why this should be the case.


How does feminism inform your art in particular your embroidery collection entitled 'In Control'?
The collection would not exist without feminism. Feminism is the tool that enabled me to understand how women’s health is treated in respect to social practices and equality. It also empowered me to modernize the sexism embedded in embroidery in a constructive, educational and bipartisan way. It also gave me the confidence to do this project despite the fear that it might be considered controversial; it’s a great support system. Feminism is just the means to achieving social, economic and civil equality between men and women; healthy and comprehensive access to widespread reproductive rights is crucial for that to happen. I don’t think that equality is possible if we don’t address where the inequality lies in all social and civil systems, and that includes embroidery. How can equality be possible if everyday practices, even something seemingly benign ones like stitching, reinforce obsolete gender roles and inequity?

Do you sketch your designs before you commence your embroideries? Could you tell us more about your creative working process and how you develop your idea into the final piece?
As a classically trained painter, I use observational painting techniques to create my cross-stitches. That means I essentially look at the object and translate it visually directly with needle and thread. There’s no computer program to turn the image into a stitching map and I seldom draw the object on the fabric (drawing on the fabric muddies up the final image). I will draw curves sometimes so I get the angle correct the first time, but it’s very minimal. I use a grid book to block text though as it’s more efficient to do so and helps to prevent spacing mistakes and material problems. Using observational painting techniques also lends itself to more accurate still life drawing; a computer program too often reduces the complex colors in an object to the point of color blocking. Being familiar with color theory immensely helps realistically render an object. As a result of my personal methods, I’ve taught myself new techniques in cross-stitch that include color layering through half stitches, texturing and color gradation.


Is there a particular style of embroidery that you prefer?
Definitely cross-stitch, though I’m currently learning drawn thread via traditional Ukrainian techniques, which is awesome because I’m simultaneously learning about my heritage.

Who and what influences and inspires you?
I’m really inspired by the women (and men) who see my artwork and feel confident and comfortable enough to share their own personal stories or thoughts with me. It’s something I had not anticipated happening with my artwork. So many will share what it was like to get an abortion or have a miscarriage or go through menopause or grow up in a household/school that ignored basic health knowledge and will share how that hurt them as adults, etc. These are experiences that get too often silenced in the public despite being common occurrences. For them to feel strong enough to share these stories with me or the art patron next to them (who they also don’t know) is just so powerful and inspiring. And sometimes the stories are not always easy to listen to, but it’s taught me a lot about patience, listening, empathy, kindness and how necessary lessons like these are for everyone.


Which other artists do you appreciate?
My favorite artists tend to be painters since that’s where my formal art training lies and with painters that attempt to modernize historical art tropes by including modern social and civil issues – Mickalene Thomas, Kehinde Willey, Swoon. As far as embroidery artists, Elaine Reicheck was really the first one that got the wheels turning for me, though to me, her work is much more about the Mechanics of Reproduction (Walter Benjamin) and breaking away from the domestic and gendered hand of embroidery, whereas I think the power of my work lies in connecting the handmade with ideas about bodily autonomy. Cayce Zavaglia is really an inspiration too when thinking about how thread can function like paint.


Can you tell us about the impact that your art has on the audience and what responses you receive about your work?
I’ve been very lucky in that most patrons have been extremely supportive. Once in awhile, I get the question of why would I bother to make this work, why does it matter and why should it matter to the viewer; to which I have to backtrack to basic ideas about civility and understanding other people’s needs outside one’s own and how art is a good platform for increasing this understanding. I think taking a strong bipartisan, medical (I consult with doctors, etc. on accurate representation) and educational objective helps a lot in quelling those who might not like or oppose my chosen topic. The series doesn’t just focus on one aspect of reproductive rights, like birth control or abortion as is common in a lot of feminist reproductive art; I think it’s more useful to show how those two things are connected to less controversial things like disease prevention, menstruation, pregnancy, etc.

Since I’m constantly working on creating a more intersectional perspective of needed products, I get a lot of thanks from certain demographics, who want to be represented but often feel like they are excluded – baby boomers are particularly vocal! Though sometimes people often (constructively) highlight demographics or perspectives that I’ve missed, and I’m eternally grateful when they do that because my point of view as a cis, heterosexual woman is limited. Because they were brave enough to speak up, my series becomes better rounded, humbling and inclusive, my perspective is not the only one that matters. That’s why I included essays in my In Control catalogue from women who offer a diverse personal and professional perspective regarding health and reproductive rights – I hope to get more essays over time and build out the catalogue.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions, workshops or lectures?
Yes, at Hollister Gallery at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts this fall! Opening reception and artist talk is October 27 from 5-7pm and the show closes December 21, 2016. I’ll also be exhibiting at Bloomburg University in Pennsylvania in the spring of 2018. Anyone can also check out my artwork here.

Hi, I'm Julia - an embroidery enthusiast based in Amsterdam with a lifelong passion for textiles. I like to mix things up by combining different techniques and mediums - my origami styled dress won the Hand & Lock embroidery prize. Join me on my exploration of embroidery with mixed media and fibre art.

June 24, 2016

Friday Instagram Finds No. 58 with Stitching Pretty


Happy Friday, Stitchy Friends! I hope you've had a week filled with stitching fun, and a weekend filled with big stitchy plans!

@stitchingpretty

This week we're going to take a look at @stitchingpretty. Elizabeth creates beautifully detailed embroidery. She also stitches onpaper, which is a fun twist. I'm so glad Elizabeth used #feelingstitchyig so that I could discover her Instagram feed, and see her awesome work (and super cute dog!).







That's it for this week's edition of Friday Instagram Finds! Join in the conversation by commenting below. While you're on Instagram checking out Elizabeth's work at @stitchingpretty make sure you follow Feeling Stitchy! We'd love for you to stop by and say hello. You can find Feeling Stitchy on Instagram at the handle @feelingstitchyish. You can find Amy @randomactsofamy on Instagram.

Want to be featured in Friday Instagram Find? Tag your best stitch-related photos with #feelingstitchyig!

Hi, I'm Amy - I feature interesting embroidery and stitch-related photos I find on Instagram. Use #feelingstitchyig on Instagram for pictures you want me to find.

Find me on: Instagram | Random Acts of Amy | Etsy

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