I'd like to introduce you all to an Etsy seller and artist I've been following on Flickr for awhile now - under the name Moxiedoll, Mandy creates collectible embroideries framed in hoops. There's something addictive about her uncomplicated style - a combination of fun fabrics, imaginative doodles, and hilarious quotes make each of her works uniquely wonderful. She was nice enough to agree to a brief interview - so let's learn a little bit more about Mandy!
How long have you been stitching?
I've been stitching for close to 10 years now. A friend and I discovered an underground craft club and decided we wanted to check it out. I purchased some Sublime Stitching patterns, taught myself to stitch and the rest is history!
What is your first crafting memory?
Well my first documented memory of crafting is "sewing" with my mom, although I'm not quite sure what my end creations came out looking like. ;) I think my actual real memory is creating those pot holders from loops on a loom. I remember feeling such a sense of satisfaction and pride after I would finish one because it was something I knew someone could USE and I made it.
Where in the world are you? Do you think your place in the world has an influence on the embroidery you create?
I live in Forest Park, IL within walking distance from the last stop on the Chicago El. I do think that living in a metropolitan area definitely provides me with a constant source of creative inspiration that I know I wouldn't get in a less urban area. But as much as I love the Windy City, I can't say for sure that Chicago itself has a specific influence on my work.
I love the variety of fabrics in your stitched pieces - do you have a process for selecting them?
I try to make sure I have a wide rainbow of colors available at any given time. I don't really have a real process per say for selecting - I just buy colors and textures that I think will work. As far as choosing which fabrics I'm going to use for each piece, I usually pick the design first and then that guides the fabric choice. Anchors Away is a good example of this. But when I find a fabric with a cool print on it, then oftentimes the repeat pattern or print guides the design. My Mr. Rogers piece is a perfect example of this.
Do you have an art background - if so (or if not), how do you think this has affected your work?
I don't have an art background - I have a Bachelor's degree in English and a Master's in Library Science. It's hard to say if my work would look different if I had a different educational background. I'd like to think it wouldn't. I do wish I was a better drawer though. I envy stitchers like Jenny Hart and Wild Olive who can draw such fantastic patterns.
There’s such a fun mix of old and new, vintage, cinephile, and geekery in your work - where do you find your inspiration?
Basically I just stitch stuff I personally like. And I guess I'm personally kind of a nerdy hodge podge of old and new, with a passion for pop culture. My theory has always been if I like it, it's very likely someone else will too. Perhaps that sounds selfish, but I have a hard time creating pieces based on whatever is currently trendy. If I had to produce work based on some prescribed list of what's hot, I think I would quickly grow to hate my job.
What do you do when you’re not stitching?
Well like many people, I spend way too much time on the internet. I've become great at building Pinterest boards of projects/recipes/vacations I have to yet to actualize. ;) But I also absolutely love cooking, baking and playing hostess. And I am an interior design junkie, so I love styling my home and helping others style theirs. That's partly why I started my vintage Etsy store - so I could have a reason to buy cool vintage pieces and learn more about the history behind them. In 2010 I started curating an art and craft show with two friends of mine in Chicago, which has been a really challenging, yet rewarding experience as well.
Name one project of yours that you LOVE
This might quite possibly be my favorite piece I've ever stitched. I made this for a "Fathers and Daughters" themed art exhibit. It incorporates so many things/themes that are dear to me: maps, silhouettes, love, geography, remaining young at heart, long distance relationships and, of course, my dad.
5 movies you LOVE
Garden State, Run Lola Run, Heathers, Totoro, Amelie. That question was seriously the hardest one to answer, as I could list 50. ;)
What do you LOVE most about the online stitching community?
I love the vast amount of creative stitching talent that there is out there right now and how willing everyone is to share their creations with others. I'm in constant awe of stuff I see online and seeing other's work keeps me perpetually inspired and motivated to work harder.
More about Moxiedoll:
Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/moxiedoll
Vintage Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/showsomemoxie
Art and Craft Show: http://www.5050pilsen.com/index.html
Thanks, Mandy, for taking the time to chat with us! :)