Interview with artist and author Jenny Hart . Come to Jenny's book signing this weekend at our summer show!
UCU-How did you get involved with embroidery?
JH-I became addicted to embroidery in the summer of 2000 after years of admiring it, but never daring to give it a try. I thought I didn't have the patience for it, didn't know anyone who could teach me, I found books on the subject too difficult to learn from, and I wasn't in to geese in bonnets and the dominating motifs for embroidery. My mother was recovering from breast cancer, and while I was staying with her, I asked her to show me how to get started. Because this was such a stressful time in my life, its soothing aspects became immediately apparent and I became obsessivly addicted to it, and continued embroidering for 3-4 hours every day for the next five years. I adopted it as the principle medium for my artwork www.jennyhart.net and in 2001 I launched my own design company, Sublime Stitching, to introduce updated, contemporary design for embroidery and easy-to-understand instructions to inspire a new generations of stitchers to bring embroidery back.
UCU- Did you realize at the time you were reinventing and popularizing stitching and embroidery design? Was this idea thought out on purpose?
JH-Oh yes, that was my lofty goal! But I didn't have any idea how successful it would be. That was the entire mission of : Sublime Stitching to re-popularize this once-dying handcraft with never-before seen themes for needlework patterns (pinups, robots, gothic, dia de los muertos -you absolutely could not get patterns like this anywhere, which seems almost unimaginable now) and re-invent resources for it, where before there were none: all-in-one starter kits, instructions that didn't assume you knew the basics of sewing or stitching and encouraging people to have fun with it instead of expecting perfection from the very start. I receive countless emails from stitchers who said they used to be too scared to try. And, so was I! So, Sublime Stitching is really the company I wished existed when I was first interested in embroidery and wanted to see something new with it, but couldn't find it anywhere. It was nothing but bunnies and teddy bears as far as the eye could see.
UCU-What inspired you to write books about your craft?
JH-I was extremely fortunate to have publisher Chronicle Books recognize my work with embroidery a little over a year after I launched Sublime Stitching and they asked me to design a kit for them with patterns, instructions and projects (the Stitch-It Kit). It was so popular, it led to multiple other titles! I have a new book, called Embroidered Effects coming out at the end of the summer. Working with them has been a really great experience and allowed more people to learn about my company, Sublime Stitching.