Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jenny Hart and Sublime Stitching-This Ain't Your Gramma's Embroidery!

Did I ever tell you how much I love Jenny Hart and Sublime Stitching? No? Well-it's bunches and bunches! She is the reason I got into embroidery! She has inspired so many people. She is a talented artist and super sweet with a pinch of sass!

So,,,the big question is-how did you (and Sublime Stitching) get started?
When I first took up embroidery, I had never tried it before. But once I did, I became completely addicted to it. This was in the summer of 2000, and the handmade movement was just really starting up, but with a heavy focus on knitting. No one was really doing anything with embroidery in the contemporary sense, and there were no new resources for it. I was so taken with embroidery because it's illustrative (and drawing is my first passion). I wanted to turn other crafters on to it as well, but knew they’d need updated patterns, starter kits and instructions -exactly what I was looking for but couldn't find anywhere. The idea of tattoo designs for patterns was considered outrageous! My mission as a company was to change the way people looked at and learned embroidery. I began with a very modest but generous loan of $1,000.00 from my parents, I had to outline an entire budget to my father and account for every dime he loaned me, which I did. It covered my first manufacturing costs, shipping, packaging and my first print ad. They asked that I pay back half once I turned a profit which I did six months later. I never borrowed money again until five years into running the company. I have been very careful about the kind of debt I’ve acquired and have tried to avoid costly loans or over-use of credit cards.

Who/What inspires you?
I'm inspired by anyone who has a unique vision that clearly stands apart. You know it when you see it, because it makes you feel something. It makes you feel your own kind of inspiration that can take form in you that is totally unique as well. I feel this is true in art, music, film, writing -anything. There are endless forms that inspiration can take and I think the incredibly diverse offerings of work within the DIY community alone is a remarkable testament to that. For my own work, I often find I'm inspired by what I don't see. Meaning, I end up looking for something I'm curious about, or have imagined or wanted. Then I seek it out -if I can't find it, I'll try to make it myself. That's how Sublime Stitching was born, after all!

You just had a new book released-can you tell me about it?
I'm so excited about it! It's called Embroidered Effects  and it covers embroidery how-to from the very beginning to more advanced and unique techniques (like stitching combos for unusual effects), over 20 projects with pages and pages of full-color photos, a new stitching sampler, large-format transfers (yes, the fandancer on the cover is one of them) and pictures of my cat! Had to mention that.

I am so thrilled with how this book turned out, but it would not have been possible without the help of many people, including Ginger Edwards, Amy Bindel (Early Bird Special), Flor Hernandez (Feeling Stitchy) and Rachel Hobson (Average Jane Crafter), who helped me stitch up projects for the book and did a beautiful job. This book is plumb near everything I have learned (but just the tip of the embroidery-berg) about embroidery over the last eight years between two covers. Almost. Not quite. It was a lot of fun work! I hope you enjoy it! The book is available through Chronicle Books.

What are you working on right now?
I am in Paris where I have embroidered works hanging in two shows opening in October! You can see more information about it at my website . When I get back to Austin, a group show of contemporary embroidery that I was asked to curate will be opening the first weekend in November at Yard Dog. It's called "Over and Under". This is just a small show in a small (but wonderful) gallery, so I couldn't possibly include all of the wonderful artists working in embroidery today that I'd like to. The other in-the-future project that I'm excited about but will say no more than two words on is: Hart Crafts.

 What advice do you have for the masses?
Do it, make it yours, show the world and be proud of it.

You know of my deep fear of French knots, are they really that warm and fuzzy?
You must get past your fear little stitching grasshopper. I think you might be doing it wrong. Have you tried my very own "Fool Proof French Knot" instructions?

Alright, only cause I like you and trust you, will I give French Knots one more try. You make it look pretty easy.

Jenny-thank you so much for inspiring so many people. You are a big hero to me and to others. I wish you success in everything you do. I can't wait for you next adventure!


MareMare said...

The book looks great! Nice to hear more from Jenny, she was great in Handmade Nation. ;)

I totally rocked French Knots when I was in third grade...can't do em now!!??

MafiosaGrrl said...

I love Jenny Hart too!!!! Like everyone else, she def. got me itchin' for stitchin' (thanks Jenny!)
Can't wait to get the book!

Way Out Wear said...

I heart Jenny Hart! That's my bumper sticker (okay not really, but still) Thanks for the great interview.
And you do great work as well!
Keep on stitching ladies! We've got to keep the revolution alive!

Beth H said...

great interview! I'm stoked about the upcoming show at Yard Dog! sounds super-cool!

Shirley--Knot-y Embroidery Lady said...

Thanks for the interview! I love to embroider!!!!
Nice to find someone as jazzed with it as me.

Gran at