Art is not only found in traditional painting or drawing. Art can be anything we devise. The pieces we create are made for self expression, moments of joy, release of anxieties, worry and pain. They are brought to life from our souls and filled with our emotions.
I want to go outside the traditional artist box and speak with a woman who is outstanding in her craft of hand embroidery. She’s been perfecting her craft on and off since she was 10 years old.
Let me introduce you to the fabulous Kassie!
Kassie is willing to share hand embroidery journey with us and how it has been a positive outlet in her life.
What is hand embroidery?
In Cambridge Dictionary terms, “embroidery is to decorate cloth or clothing with patterns or pictures consisting of stitches that are sewn directly onto the material”. In the general sense of the term, hand embroidery has been around for over a thousand years. It was used for Ancient Egyptian robes and tapestries during the Middle Ages and continues as an art form today.
LOVE LOVE LOVE the scale detail in this hand embroidered piece by Kassie
Hand embroidery is not to be confused with cross-stitch. Su Embroidery describes hand embroidery as using different stitch types to achieve texture and create interest whereas cross stitch uses a single stitch and relies on color and shading for texture. Another difference is cross stitch uses a series of x’s to guide the artist while embroidery may be stamped or drawn on the material or done freehand. You can follow this link to Sewing Forest for a video that demonstrates the difference between the two.
How has hand embroidery changed your life?
Kassie answers with: “I needed an outlet for my creativity and something to fill my time”
As mentioned earlier, Kassie has been practicing hand embroidery on and off since she was a young girl. It was first introduced to her by her aunt. She dappled with it for a few years but then put it aside through her high school and college years went life got hectic.
Kassie realized as she got older that she needed an outlet after leaving work.
When asked how hand embroidery helps with creating a good mental balance, here is what Kassie said:
“There is something to be said about concentrating on the minute details that make up a larger picture. Being able to focus on stitching gives me the ability to unplug and unwind form work issues and just be in the moment. Your favorite songs playing in the background helps too”.
What kind of embroidery pieces have you created?
Kassie was super excited to share her what kind of pieces she’s created: “I’ve made feminist pieces, BLM pieces, more traditional flowery pieces. It gives me a concentrated effort to meditate on current events and time to process”.
“I find it very satisfying that many hours of work can come together and make an art piece that in many ways was a traditional woman’s art but is now joined with modern themes and ideas”.
The above photo of the woman is my absolute favorite, it was given to me as a gift by Kassie. I have named her November Kash. She is named so uniquely because November is when she was gifted to me and the Kash is a combination of names for the three women who were together at the time (Kassie, Stephanie, and Heidi. The circular piece is stunning with the bright flowers and the cactus hanging was totally Kassie’s idea, and I LOVED IT!
Where do you find your designs and what do you do with them once completed?
“There are SO many places to get new designs or ideas. There are websites that have traditional choices and small sellers that can make you a design you’ve always dreamed of. I like making my own. You can create a loose pattern on an app and trace the lines onto linen and from there, really let your imagination go. It has definitely been an experience with color theory and figuring out what goes best together. I mostly give away my finished projects. I like for other people to enjoy my art.”
I most certainly enjoy her art, November Kash from above is in my living room being beautiful!
And here’s a question I get asked most often when describing art practices…
Is it expensive?
Kassie has an answer for us: “It’s really what you make out of it. You can grab a hoop kit from Micheals for under $10 that’ll give you hours of work or you can go and choose your own skeins and linens and easily spend $40 on one project” Sidenote: She may have mentioned to me that she has a stockpile of dead-stock fabric and every color skein available. (Maybe I need to go shopping at Kassie’s place).
“I like to reuse older fabrics and skeins as often as possible to reduce waste”.
I asked Kassie if there was a source she would recommend to anyone wanting to try hand embroidery, and she recommends DMC.com. They have a great introduction to new patterns and color combinations.
This is a perfect post to reinforce the fact that art is anything we want it to be. The pieces we create are an extension of us. Nobody can take away the feeling we experience after completion of an art piece. There will always be new projects and restorations of old projects. Don’t get overwhelmed with the abundance of choices when first deciding on a project. Choose what comes to you.
Like Kassie said at the end of our interview:
“…At the end of the day these pieces are meant to be a story of who you are. So choose the colors that speak to you and have fun with it”.
I SECOND THAT!