November 24, 2012

New Embroidery with Vintage Patterns - an interview with...

** Be sure to read to all the way to bottom of the interview to find a wee preview of the New Embroidery with Vintage patterns contest that begins January 1, 2013!!  It is hosted by, and will take place in, the NEwVP Flickr group!! **

Hi, everyone, hope everyone is enjoying the new interview format for my monthly round-up post for the New Embroidery with Vintage Patterns (NEwVP) stitch-alongs (SALs). I think it is really fun and interesting to get to know some of the people behind the stitches!  (If there are questions you wish I was asking, please let me know in the comments!)  This month, instead of featuring someone who participated in the monthly SAL, I am featuring someone who stitched up vintage embroidery patterns in a really cool, non-traditional way.     

As always, I invite all of you to join our New Embroidery with Vintage Patterns group or at least stop by and take a peek.  There are lots of new embroideries with vintage patterns being added on a regular basis that are totally unrelated to any monthly SAL.  Plus, since I'm doing an interview format now, I'm not able to show-off all the beautiful SAL stitcheries in our photo pool!  

And now I am pleased to introduce you to Flickr peep filmresearch, I hear his real name is Mark ;)   

1.  Please tell us a bit about yourself. 
I love making things. I love looking at reading about art. I love feeling a needle pierce fabric. And I love all the great people I’ve met through embroidery. I have a lovely life on the coast of California with my spouse and a yellow-eyed tuxedo cat named Tinky. And I have an obsession with vintage crewel doorstop kits, the type where you stitch on fabric or felt and then cover a brick. 

2.   And let's point out the obvious: you are a man who stitches, thus you are a manbroiderer! Do you feel the pieces you create are different than what maybe a gal would stitch up? Or is it not that big of a deal that you are simply a man who chooses to express himself artistically with needle and thread?

That is a hard question to answer. I create pieces which are interesting and meaningful to me, but not necessarily the ‘man’ in me, more the spirit and sense of humor and desire in me. So I don’t think being a man really makes a difference in creating pieces. 


3.   H
ow long have you been stitching (embroidering)?  What or who got you started?
I have been stitching since 2009. Jenny Hart, artist, author, and owner of Sublime Stitching, taught me how to embroider at a class she gave in Seattle. It truly was a life changing evening. Thanks Jenny! 

4.  W
hat attracts you to vintage embroidery patterns or other vintage items?
I love old stuff, things with a bit of age on them. I also love things which are totally in their moment, that they could only be created in that year. Vintage embroidery patterns are of their moment. They were created in a world which is gone, but somehow we can capture a bit of it by embroidering or admiring it. 


Let's talk specifically about your new embroidery with vintage patterns.  It's so interesting that you stitched them up on microfishe.  Please tell us about the microfishe, what it is and what it's primary use was before you repurposed it and turned it into art. What made you decide to stitch up the patterns on microfishe rather than fabric or something else?
I work in a library, and they withdraw materials once they outlive their usefulness. Microfiche are flat sheets of clear film about the size of a postcard that have micro-reproductions of documents printed on them and are viewed on a special viewer. They were meant to be a space saving method and a way to archive materials. Basically one of them has about 100 pages on a 3x5 piece of film. In looking at the world of ‘stitched things’ I am often attracted to work not done on fabric, but on other materials. The microfiche I got were all agriculture based, with reports on dairy, pickles, sugar, tobacco, so I got the idea to use my extensive collection of vintage embroidery patterns and stitch something vegetal on them, and once I saw the weeping onion patterns I was happy. I also find very cool patterns on flickr. 

I'm stitching on microfiche as it was once one method for permanently archiving printed materials. Each of the 'fiche' I used ties in with the stitched pieces on them. What was once permanent has become ephemeral. Similarly, what was once ephemeral, cute, anthropomorphic iron-on designs for embroidery, has become permanent. So the friction between what was once thought permanent and now thrown away, and what was once short lived is now permanent.


6.  D
o you have a favorite embroidery stitch?  If so, why?
I adore french knots, but mine have a way of being more lumpy than nest-like. 

7.  Do you have a favorite DMC (or other brand) floss color? If so, what is the color name & number?

I love the new floss from Sublime Stitching and my favorite color is from the “Parlour” set and is called “Fainting Couch.” I love that flair of the dramatic in naming, like Crayola crayon colors. 

8.  And speaking of floss, how do you organize all your skeins of embroidery floss?

This is embarrassing but I have a big box full of large Ziploc bags filled with floss by color. I also have separate boxes for my vintage Strandsheen floss, and an entire separate box of metallic floss. A dream of mine is to have a ‘floss wall’ full of pegs with floss arranged by color and type. 


9.  I
n your home, where do you usually sit to stitch? do you like it to be quiet while you stitch, or do you watch tv, listen to the radio, or talk on the phone while you stitch?
I sit by the TV sometimes and watch something I know on Netflix. I have to pay attention when I stitch or my stitches get very wonky. If I’m working by the computer I’ll put on music. Stitching can be meditative, but sometimes it is mind numbing. 

10.  Anything else you would like to share? (blog link, shop link, or anything that you want to say that I didn't ask) 

Thank you so much for your interest in my pieces. It really means a lot to me when someone notices my work.
You can see my more serious work at I blog about my artistic process here And of course you can see my work on flickr at


The New Embroidery with Vintage Patterns group on flickr is hosting another contest!  It will begin January 1, 2013 and end February 10, 2013.  Check out this discussion post for the announcement of the eight new prize sponsors!  Over the next couple of weeks, one-by-one, each prize sponsor will be introduced in a separate discussion post in the NEwVP group -- there will be a fun interview to read, some stitchy photos of their work to see, and a picture of what each prize sponsor is donating!        
The official contest announcement will be published in the NEwVP group shortly after Christmas so I invite all of you to join so you can keep up with all the forthcoming and exciting contest details!




  1. I really love the vintage patterns so this interview was very interesting to me. Thanks for sharing Mark with us.

  2. Mark's stitching is the bomb-diggity! Thanks for getting him to answer questions we all were wanting to ask!

  3. Mark is one of the more thoughtful, boundary-pushing stitch artists out there. Loved reading this! And I adore his work.

  4. What a great interview! I very much liked the last two images posted (with the onions)-- so cute!

    I can imagine storing flosses in ziplock baggies can really take up a lot of space!