Hi guys, I'd like to introduce you to Emma Wood, a fascinating UK-based stitch artist. Last month, Emma reached out to us and since I have always been a sci-fi nut, burning through every sic-fi show and movie I can get my hands on, I was captivated by her space-inspired works - including her constellation lampshades and space embroideries. Here's an interview with Emma for you all - enjoy!
What is your stitching background?
My mother and grandmother are my main influences! I come from a very creative family, my mother used to make toys, she did a bit of cake decorating, was a florist and she now makes jewellery. I was introduced to cross stitch at a young age which was easy enough to start with, and then progressed to other more tricky hand embroidery techniques.
Did you attend art or design school? Why or why not?
I went to college and studied general Art & Design where I was able to cover all areas: graphic design, fashion, applied arts. I then went on to study applied arts at university, specialising in embroidered and printed textiles. I feel like my skills have improved so much whilst at university, it's nice to sometimes do a project or a technique you aren't familiar with and you form great relationships with tutors and colleagues along the way.
What draws you to space imagery?
I've always liked designing and making for children, so space is something that you can be quite playful with. Initially it was the amazing colours from the Hubble telescope that sparked my interest. I just wanted to recreate the swirls and bleeding colours with dyes on fabric. I also dyed my own space inspired threads that I could sew with.
Your works contain a fascinating amount of goldwork (in silver thread). What advice would you give our readers if they’d like to try goldwork?
If you're thinking about trying goldwork the easiest thread to start off using is pearl purl. Is super easy to couch down as the thread just disappears inside the coil and leaves a really neat finish. A book I found helpful was Beginner's Guide to Goldwork by Ruth Chamberlain, it contained a lot of the basic stitches and a few little projects to get you going. Goldwork takes a lot of patience and practice so don't take it up if you want instant results!
Please tell us about your children’s book project.
This is a project I undertook in my second year of university. I created a handmade children's book in which I used a combination of machine and hand embroidery with some CAD embroidery for the text. The pages are also hand dyed and various elements are screen printed. I wanted to create something tactile and completely unique. This is something I would love to do again, children's stories are full of inspiration!
How many hours does it take you to stitch your pieces?
The space inspired pieces each took about a week solid. I was working to a deadline at university so these pieces could've taken a lot longer if I'd had the extra time. Now I'm able to make these in my own time I can slow down and enjoy it even more!
The children's book was a little longer but that included a lot of dye work and screen printing. I had to do a lot of trial when it came to the construction and positioning of imagery and text.
Are you organized or cluttered? A careful planner or a procrastinator? :)
I'm extremely organised! I keep all my equipment and materials stacked neatly in boxes. I have 8 pairs of scissors, all for different things - they are all kept in a zip up case and are always put back in the correct slot! (Maybe that's a bit too weird?) Not at all!
When I was at university I was a very careful planner, working to tight deadlines meant no room for procrastinating! However I think now I'm able to do my own thing I will have fun just experimenting.
Please describe your work space OR describe your ideal work space if your current one is less than ideal! :)
I've moved house 3 times in the last 3 years so unfortunately I don't have a permanent work space :(
I would love to have my own shop selling local handmade bits and bobs with a studio out the back where I can print and dye and sew till my hearts content! Either that or when I have a nice big house (in my dreams) I can have a sun house in the garden where I can be creative and do my work in peace!
What do you do when you’re not stitching?
When I'm not stitching I do a lot of computer designed work, I like surface pattern design so I try to do some drawing and designs every now and again. I also created my website from scratch which I'm quite proud of! I like to read too, I've just finished “The Hunger Games” which was so good!
*****Thanks, Emma, for showing us your work and sharing your inspirations with us! All photos in this post are courtesy of Laura Ramsey and are used with her permission.
For more on Emma, visit:
Her Website: www.emmawoodtextiles.co.uk
Her Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/emmawoodtextiles