April 21, 2012

Blog love: Interview with Jamie and Bridget of MrXStitch

MrXStitch has been one of my blog faves for years, or more specifically, since 2008 when Jamie and Bridget (aka Beefranck) started blogging together. What I love about MrXStitch as a site and community is that you can find every kind of embroidery there: cute, sweet, edgy, weird, technical, traditional, snarky and racy. It's a taste of everything (and I do mean everything) in the contemporary needlework scene - but all carefully curated to make you think and show you something new.

Jamie and Bridget are both cross-stitchers who take a very traditional art and turn it around so that it perfectly reflects their humor, talent, and let's face it, oddness. :) Oh, and did I mention? Jamie and Bridget are hilarious. Their awesomely offbeat humor takes a front seat in their podcast, Stitching n Junk, where you can find interviews, shout-outs, stitching anecdotes, and Jamie pronouncing words in a British-y fashion while Bridget snickers. :)

Enough of me jabbering on about how much I love these these two, without further ado, here's a few questions for Jamie and Bridget of MrXStitch!


Renegade Handmade

If someone told you 5 years ago that today you’d be writing for a modern cross stitch and embroidery blog and have thousands of worldwide fans, would you have believed them?

Jamie: Probably not – let’s face it, it’s a pretty bonkers story. I’m still convinced that this is an elaborate ruse in a Truman Show style, and that my Mum is pretending to be thousands of people from the inter webs. But seriously, it’s a huge honour to have had the success we have had, and to be able to showcase such fantastic stitcheries from around the world. There’s a real momentum with this stitchy malarkey at the moment and I think there’s plenty of mileage left. It’s exciting! I should point out that both Bridget and I take stitching seriously, but not too seriously.

Bridget: Nope. I had never even picked up a needle before 2008, even though I had admired embroidery and cross stitch for a long time. Thanks to Julie Jackson's Subversive Cross Stitch patterns, I gave it a try and was absolutely hooked. The Subversive Cross Stitch Flickr group was my first introduction to other stitchers like me. Then I ran across work by artists like Penny Nickels and Bascom Hogue and I became absolutely fascinated by embroidery. There was no going back after that. It's funny to think that 5 years ago I knew nothing about the thing that would be such a big part of my future.


Spam stitch - 170910
Spam stitch by Jamie

How did you two meet? Did you hit it off from the start? 

Jamie: I blame Joss Whedon. I’d gotten to know Bridget through Craftster and we’d chatted on a few different social media. Bridget created the All the Birds pattern and I asked her for a copy. And the rest was history. One day we’ll do a Wikipedia page about it. It wasn’t long before our relationship evolved to the state it’s at now – sibling rivalry. She’s my sister from an American mister and I love her to bits.

Bridget: Jamie and I met via Flickr and Craftster - I can't remember which came first. We became friends when Jamie asked to do a swap for my Dr. Horrible blackwork. I had already sold it, but I emailed him the pattern. We started emailing back and forth and the rest is history! We did hit it off right away. I believe that there are certain people that we're supposed to be friends with - it's almost as though you are already friends and you are just waiting to meet them. It was like that with Jamie. I knew he was my brother from a European mother right away.


hit me with it
Parliament lyrics, stitched by Beefranck

Have you ever hung out in real life? Was it weird?

Jamie: I popped over to Chicago to meet Bridget in 2011 for a marvellous ten days of meat filled madness. We drank cocktails with friends on the 96th floor of the Hancock Tower. We visited some great stitchery shops in the Chicago suburbs. We watched crap telly and stitched together. It was just grand! It was a bit strange meeting at first as I’d never seen more than Bridget’s head and was pleasantly relieved to see she had a torso and legs. I was also unprepared for how fantastic she smelled.

Bridget: Jamie came to visit in August of 2010 and it was a really great time. Because of the time difference we often have to schedule times to talk so we keep in touch, so it was really nice to be able to hang out and talk about whatever. Friends came in from out of town so them could meet and hang out with him, too, and we had an awesome stitchy outing in downtown Chicago. It was kind of weird at first, but only for a couple minutes. We were friends for two years without ever seeing each other, so hearing his voice come out of a person rather than a computer was a little unsettling at first.


PUSH Stitchery by Jamie Chalmers - 30 Artists Explore the Boundaries of Stitched Art


What’s the dumbest interview question you’ve ever been asked?

Jamie: That’s a hard question to answer. I’m still waiting for someone to ask: “If I said you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me?” I’m sure that we’ve asked far more dumb questions on Stitching n Junk than we’re ever likely to receive.

Bridget: I've been lucky, the interviews I've been a part of have been pretty awesome. :) One thing that has come up quite a lot when I'm being interviewed by someone who doesn't understand embroidery is "What do you do with the finished project? Put it on a pillow?" I always frame my finished stitches, but people often think I make pillows out of them. :)


Hemingway stitch


Jamie - what’s your favorite piece that Bridget's stitched? Bridget - same question for you. :)

Jamie: I’m always telling people about Bridget’s “Dog in Heat” piece, because it is a terrific example of the form. The combination of traditional sampler patterns and a snarky slogan is encapsulated perfectly in this piece and it’s one of the many many reasons why I refer to Bridget as the Queen of Ironic Stitching. Most people don’t realise how fine Bridget’s work is, but she has mastered the use of high count fabric and linens – her work is truly magnificent and I’m proud to have a few pieces in my collection.

Bridget: I CAN'T PICK JUST ONE. Jamie's first recycled cross stitch is my favorite piece he's made. It's so clever and unexpected. It has a sense of humor as well as a sense of style, just like the big lug himself. The other piece I absolutely love is one of his spam stitches. I call it word salad. It's a bunch of random words in different colors meant to represent spam emails he has received. One of the words is Franckobubble, one of his many nicknames for me.


D.I.S.C.O.!!!


*****

Thank you, Bridget and Jamie for keeping the embroidery community so awesome and highlighting amazing stuff on MrXStitch. If you'd like to stitch one of their patterns, do visit the MrXStitch store.

For more on Jamie, visit:
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrxstitch/sets/72157624246256265/
Stitching n Junk podcast: http://www.mrxstitch.com/stitching-n-junk/

For more on Bridget, visit:
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/beefranck/
Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/beefranck
Tumblr: http://beefranck.tumblr.com/
Emergency Pants podcast: http://emergency-pants.net/

5 comments:

  1. Oh those two are so cool! Love the MrXstitch blog- great interview!

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  2. Yay! Love these two incredibly talented stitcherers!

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  3. Just when I thought I couldn't love Joss Whedon any more he brings these two together!! Fab!

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  4. Two of my favorite stitchy people!  Bridget and Jamie's feedback on Craftster and Flickr really encouraged me to go for it with my embroidery and are a big part of why I still stitch today.

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