Time for another interview! I am sure you must have seen the work of Hare And Drum on Flickr - and one piece was highlighted here on Feeling Stitchy a little while ago. Hare And Drum is a duo of talented ladies: Agnieszka who thinks up the designs and her mum Maria who does the beautiful embroidery.
Who/what inspires you?
My designs are inspired by two major influences: nature, and historical design, often combined. I am making an effort to stay away from man-made items as imagery in our creations, although they are very tempting! It's a little niche I'm creating for our work.
How does your work benefit from your collaboration?
I have developed immensely in my skill ever since I started working with my daughter! I never before thought of creating entire patterns, other than small tweaks in the patterns I already found in books and magazines.
Additionally, my work used to be traditional in nature. I embroidered table and bed linens and added some stitchery to clothing. Now we both ventured into a whole new world of wall decor and jewelry, often in color schemes that I used to consider crazy! Working on them also pushes me to develop new techniques. One example is the Pine Tree, for which I needed to fill large areas of horizontal satin stitch, adding realistic texture at the same time. (see photo I attached)
Mom and I have a great, continuous conversation about each design. We truly create it together. Mom reins in my wilder ideas and translates them into reality. It may have been difficult for me at first but it definitely made me a better designer who understands the constraints of the material we work with.
How long have you been stitching?
My first embroideries were 4th grade school projects, ages ago in Poland. All kids in my class, including boys, needed to create an embroidered piece as part of standard workshop curriculum. Same goes with knitting and other simple crafts. Girls, in turn, needed to do some woodworking. Very holistic approach to education, I'm sad to see it gone and replaced by cramming theory.
Later, crochet home decor became more popular so I didn't embroider much at all. I started stitching again in my 30s to embellish my kids' clothing and then became part of a hobby group headed by a Hungarian lady. That way I took up interest in Hungarian folk embroidery and discovered magazines with printed embroidery patterns.
Please tells us about your subject matter
Historical images I use are mostly Art Nouveau designs, often authentic, from museum collections. I give them new life by adding contemporary color schemes and reworking their ornate patterns to fit certain constraints of embroidery. Art Nouveau designs are most often nature-based, so they are easy to fit into my general interest in nature.
I use nature as inspiration, both the monumental (trees, entire landscapes, such as my Four Seasons series) and the miniature (most recently, insects, sea creatures).
What perceptions of embroidery do you meet?
Granny style comes to mind. I believe embroidery and crochet are still plagued by that perception, as much as knitting has been rediscovered by younger crowd. Your Flickr group certainly contributes to changing that perception! Most recently it seems to be working and embroidery becomes recognized as fashionable again, with the revival of Victorian style decor and new appreciation of fiber art and crafts as recalling the comforts of home in difficult times.
Why is embroidery worthwhile?
It's fun! It's like painting a picture with an unlikely tool that a needle is! It allows for a lot of whimsy and is much more forgiving than a painted canvas: you can just cut the floss out and start again.
Embroidery and fiber in general do not seem durable at first. But small, well loved embroidered pieces are likely to last generations! I still have a piece of cross stitched table cloth that my parents received as their wedding gift in 1942. The table cloth survived a wartime bombing and multiple moves. I remember it on my parents' table when I was a little girl. I'm planning to frame the piece that's left. I guess hand stitched items emanate that great warm and cozy feel of home.
Any advice for "newbie" embroiderers?
Patience is a must! It takes a lot of trial and error to finish a piece, so start small and with simple techniques such as cross stitch or linear embroidery. Make sure the pattern is clearly copied onto fabric and that you have good light when working. When you make a mistake, undo and correct right away rather than wait and hope it will not show. It will. But first, enjoy what you are creating!
Are there any other embroiderers in the group/pool that you have noticed?
I love these bee coasters!
I really appreciate clean lines done with just a few stitches. Complex is not always better, and this is a prime example. Great colors for the coaster fabric, too!
The one thing that I am a little afraid to try is a human face done in embroidery. This piece is so sweet and the face wonderfully done!