image by Aubrey Edwards for Juxtapoz.
This week, readers and twitterers continue the conversation with artists and creative types in a brand new Twitterview with Jenny Hart.
An avid stitcher and a savvy business woman, Jenny is a fine artist and the proprietor of Sublime Stitching. I've long admired Jenny for her love of embroidery and strong passion for it. I really believe she is one of the movers and shakers to bring 'craft' back to the forefront and make it relevant again today.
I asked you what you wanted to hear from Jenny and you tweeted back some great questions...and Jenny answered graciously. You had great questions and Jenny was super in depth with her answers. Thanks for taking part!
Yes and no. I didn't really have any interest in crafting when I was younger because it was super, super uncool in the 80's. It seemed like a throwback to the 70's and was something you did in elementary school as a kid.
But, I loved to make things and work with my hands. I focused more on making art, drawing, photography etc. I didn’t do any sort of needlework growing up (but I did learn to knit when I was 10). Then, my interests seriously shifted, and so did the interests of my generation, and the DIY movement started happening. I became fascinated with embroidery, but had never done it and didn’t know how.
How did you first get interested in embroidery? -- @TheTypology
I became interested in embroidery by the mid-90's (I was in college), probably from going to flea markets and antique malls all the time and being given my grandmother’s linens. But I didn't take my first stitch until the summer of 2000.
Whenever I came across hand-embroidery I thought it looked so beautiful and wanted to see it used with non-traditional imagery or large, elaborate portraits. My father was very sick for many years, and it was during some difficult times that I first gave it a try. I became instantly addicted and obsessed with it because it alleviated the stress of what I was going through at the time.
I wanted to teach everyone how to embroider, and I wanted to embroider all the time.
I'd love to hear about how you switched from a 9-5 life to making art a full-time career. -- @butterflyinrvrs
That’s hard to answer briefly. I wrote a series of columns for Venus called “Crafting a Business” about my experiences becoming self-employed but they’re no longer online (I’m going to compile and re-release them). I also couldn’t say “making art” is my full time job. I spend less than 10% of my time “making art”. I manage my own business every day (bills, taxes, inventory, etc) and the creative part is still a very small aspect of it. My own goal is to become a full-time working artist, so in a sense, I’m still making that switch!
What is the best way to learn beginner embroidery? -- @DesertNanaRetro
The best way is to have someone show you in person. If that's not possible, I try to make my kits and instructions the next best thing.
When I wanted to learn embroidery, I had no idea how to do it, had no experience sewing, and books on embroidery were very intimidating, confusing and out-of-date. So, I try to write and put together everything in the way that makes sense to me. I created Sublime Stitching to be the company I wished existed when I was trying to learn embroidery and wanted updated resources and design.
What is the best transfer tools? Pens or pencils and favorite brands? -- @MaLora_Ann
Which do you find more frustrating, Knot tying or Needle Threading? -- @luckyjjackson
Do any type of projects intimidate you and how do you tackle them? -- @TMunderground
Manufacturing projects are the most intimidating projects for me. It is extremely, extremely tough to make a product you envision as an independent designer. From the design, to the materials, to the finished product – a million things can go wrong with manufacturing. You can make bad decisions, your manufacturer (which might take you years to find) can screw something up, the end product might not be as successful as you hoped… I’m not a factory, I don’t have a print shop, I don’t have a team of sewers or illustrators on staff (I have two employees right now one full-time, one part-time). I have to pull those resources together on my own. And, because I can’t afford the best illustrators or designers – I do most of that work myself.
At the same time, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I tackle it by constant research, trial and error and maintaining strong relationships with those who work out for what I’d wanted to create. Even though it’s hard, frustrating work, I think it’s fun and satisfying when it works out.
Thanks so much Jenny! If you'd like to see more from Jenny this is what she has coming up over the next few months:
Drawing Now (contemporary drawing salon) Carrousel du Louvre, Paris, France. March 29 - April 1, 2012
Needlework Revolution (workshop) Fowler Museum* at UCLA, Los Angeles, California. March 31, 2012 2-4pm
*She'll also be doing a collaborative art project in conjunction with the Alighiero Boetti show at the Fowler
40 under 40: Craft Futures (group show) at Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC. Opens: July 20, 2012 - February 3, 2013 (will tour nationally)