Category Archives: Recent Blog Posts

Recent Blog Posts

New Workspace

Well folks, this is it. September.  Summer is coming to an end, and crisp, Autumn weather has arrived in Berlin this week. I’ve spent the past couple weeks organising my work space and preparing for the crazy storm of stitching which is about to descend. It’s a small corner in our bedroom, as that’s what makes the most sense right now with having a 1 year old who isn’t in Day care yet. But I’m pretty happy with how it’s shaping up. I’ve decided to share a photo of how my desk usually looks, as opposed to how it would look if I kept it clean all the time.

A good friend built me this beautiful custom desk a few months ago. There is a light table built into the surface (hiding under that keyboard and sketches) which is already getting much use. Check out his Facebook page Leise Möbel; he does beautiful work! My husband and I worked on designing the shelves together, and still need to install one more that will go along the top. I’m also happy to report that my button supply has doubled in size thanks to some recent button donations. Thank you! If anyone else is looking to get rid of buttons, I’m your woman. You may even find your buttons on the pages of a book next year 😉

The Mr.Buttonman book is coming along, slowly but surely. Thankfully Joe (my husband) has been able to juggle his hours so that I can get some good work hours in during the week, and the little Miss is enjoying the extra time with her daddy.

As to the embroidery patterns I talked about in my last blog post. I will be releasing a few new ones for the Fall this month, and will post on here again once they are finished. A couple weeks ago my Sushi Roll Pattern was featured on the Feeling Stitchy blog. Thanks for the sharing the embroidery love Floresita!

That’s all for now, have a great week!

 

 

 

Recent Blog Posts

Embroidery Patterns Coming Soon!

qI have an exciting announcement to make on this week’s blog: As of this week, I will be designing and selling downloadable and printable embroidery patterns through my Etsy and Dawanda shops.

This idea has been in the back of my head for a while. But last year it became a reality when I was approached by the German publisher Droemer-Knaur to create some patterns for their “Stitch-It-Yourself” book. Through this project, I realised that I really enjoy creating tutorials. I’ve also discovered in the last year that there are hardly any artists selling embroidery patterns in Germany and there is a steadily growing interest in it.  So, my plans is to make patterns in both English and auf Deutsch, but to especially focus on Germany and creating materials that can be distributed here 🙂 Don’t worry, my German husband will be proof-reading everything I write, to make sure it is makes sense and is error-free!

That being said, my first two tutorials I am releasing this week will only be available in English, as they are my English versions of the patterns I created for the Stitch It Yourself book. You can get the German translation by buying the book online, and it’s more worth your money because you will get tutorials from 14 other artists as well!

The patterns will be 100% my own designs and designed for different levels of skills. These first two patterns are intermediate, so if you’ve never stitched before I wouldn’t suggest starting with these. One pattern is for an adorable Sushi Roll Hoop and the other a Safari Animal Canvas, that looks great in a kid’s room. I will be creating a simpler beginner’s tutorial in the coming weeks.

 

I’m excited to be starting something new, and will be continuing to work on other commissions and my children’s book at the same time. The grand dream would be to grow a bigger community of stitchers in Germany and also turn this into a fun side business and possibly a publication one day. But I’m starting out slow by only releasing downloadable PDF tutorials at reasonable price and we will see how they do. As a thank-you to anyone who purchases a pattern, tests it out and provides feedback, I will gift you a 20% Coupon Code for my Etsy shop. I want them to be as clear and helpful as possible, so any feedback is GOLDEN.

Also, you may be wondering why I wrote this blog in English when a bit part of this plan succeeding will rely on my German skills. Well the fact of the matter is, my husband just doesn’t have time to proof-read all my blogs right now, and writing in German takes much longer for me than my mother language. Until I’m at a point where I can write faster, the blog will remain in my  mother language.

The first patterns will be up and available by this FRIDAY, JULY 7TH, just in time for some weekend stitching fun 🙂

 

 

Recent Blog Posts

How is your book coming along?

It’s now been a year since I announced my children’s book contract with Simply Read Books on here, and I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the book. Rather than answering all of these questions over and over again I decided to write a blog post. I haven’t written a blog in 6 months and it’s about time!

Question #1: How is the book going?

Answer: It’s going slow but I’m still very excited about it. There are a number of reasons for the slowness, the main one being that the first portion of the advance payment took much longer than expected to come through. On our last visit to Canada I was able to meet with the publisher face to face and discuss how to move forward.  I’ve now received payment and we have re-set the publication date for 2018, rather than 2017. It’s a year later than what we originally said, but everything is sorted out now and I think it will be worth the wait.

The story has also gone through many revisions, and this has slowed down the picture-making process. I am now working on a storyboard for a 4th version, which will probably still need changes and from there I will move onto final colour sketches, which will also still need changes. So safe to say, it may still be a while until I get to stitching the final art.

Question #2: When and where will you be able to buy the book?

Answer: The book will be distributed in all English speaking countries and available online on Amazon. As to when, I wish I could say this coming Fall, but realistically it won’t be until next Spring at the earliest. It may even be next Fall 2018. I realize this is a long time to wait, but I promise, it will be worth it! I will announce the release date on here when it gets close to that time.

Question #3: Is the book going to be made of fabric?

Answer: No, it will be a regular 32 page children’s picture book.  The illustrations will be embroidered and then photographed for print.  We are, however, discussing ways to have at least a little real stitching in the final books, but I won’t say a lot about that (though it’s going to be AWESOME).

Thanks to everyone who has been asking about the book and who cares. It has been such an encouragement to know that you are excited about this project with me. I will try to get better with posting more updates on here, so that you can be more a part of this journey. When this book finally does come out, there will be a big celebration!

 

 

 

 

Recent Blog Posts

October- A Month of Portraits

I will never forget my first real “commission”. I was 16 and fundraising money for a trip to Bulgaria. In exchange for support, a family friend commissioned me to draw a portrait for them. I was very excited and felt like a real artist for the first time. Ever since then making portraits has been a part of my artistic practice.  I even once painted a portrait of the well-known Indian-born Canadian chef Vikram Vij (definitely one of my most nerve-racking projects!). If you doubt me, you can go to his restaurant, eat some of his delicious food and ask him about it 🙂 My style has changed much since my first portrait as a teenager (hopefully improved too!), but I still get the same thrill of excitement when asked to do one. I find them challenging because the clients will always notice if I’ve not done my best work. Although I always make a disclaimer that this is my artistic interpretation and not a photograph, if they don’t see a resemblance in the drawing, they will most definitely complain. This challenges my artistic skills and holds me accountable.

This month I had the pleasure of illustrating four portraits for a couple who connected with me through my website. Each portrait portrays them in a different setting and without knowing them personally,  I think it’s safe to say that they share a love of travel and nature. The final illustrations were drawn by hand with ink and then digitally coloured in photoshop.

Next month, I will be working on some more portraits and starting an exciting food packaging project. Thanks for reading again and happy October! P.S If you are interested in an illustrated portrait you can find more examples on my Etsy shop here.

 

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Recent Blog Posts

Stitch It Yourself Book Photos (plus some baby cuteness)

First of all, I have to admit that I’ve been very bad at updating this blog in the past 3 months. Until May I had a good rhythm going on, but a certain life event happened and I haven’t been able to post anything new until now.  I am happy to share the news that I am now a mother to a super cute, baby girl! Her name is Ellie Rae and she was born end of June. We can already tell she’s going to be full of stories. Here is a photo of Her Cuteness.ellieblogphoto

The next big piece of news is not quite so life-altering, but still very exciting. The ‘Stitch It Yourself’ written by Petra Harms and published by Droemer Knaur is now out!septemberblogphoto2

I received my copies in the mail last week and have already seen it on the bookshelves of some local shops here in Berlin. It is a beautiful book, filled with a great variety of embroidery projects from 14 international artists. I’m proud to say I’m the only Canadian.  The book is written in German and is the first of it’s kind in Germany. There are already many DIY books, but none that focus solely on embroidery. Hopefully this will open up the market for more of its’ kind. I’m looking forward to trying out some of the tutorials myself, especially that cute little bear by Indonesian artist Ria Paramita that you can spot in the top left of the cover. Here is a look inside the book of the 3 projects I created and photographed.

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Recent Blog Posts

Why I Embroider Illustrations

A couple weeks ago, I was asked to answer a few interview questions for a book coming out this fall with Droemer-Knaur. (You can read more about this project on my previous blog post). Naturally, I was excited to talk about embroidery and my work with it. I realised after answering the questions, that I’ve never written on my blog about my reasons for using embroidery as an illustration medium. It is something I’ve put a lot of thought into over the last 4 years.

All art is difficult, but making illustration with embroidery is particularly challenging. Here are a five reasons why it’s difficult:

  1. It’s slow. I have figured out ways to speed up the process by mixing applique techniques with embroidery, but there’s no denying hand-embroidery takes time. It requires a lot of planning, is a pain to re-do when mistakes are made and requires the extra step of photography before it is ready to be used in a magazine or book.

    Here is an illustration I'm working on right now, which has already taken 4 hours to plan, before even starting the embroidery.
    Here is an illustration I’m working on right now, which has already taken 4 hours to plan, before even starting the embroidery.
  2. It’s viewed primarily as a “craft”. When I tell most people that I am using embroidery for illustration, they are quite surprised and confused. This is a new concept to grasp because historically embroidery has always been a craft or hobby.  In some cases when I show pictures of what I do, I get the response: “Well, that’s nice that you have a hobby”.
  3. It’s difficult to reproduce. Embroidery is difficult to photograph properly and prepare for print. It requires good light, a great camera and lots of practice to figure out how to reproduce this medium so that it looks just as good on paper as in real life. And I will admit it, the original embroidered picture still has a magical quality you can’t quite replicate in a photo.

    To date, this was one of my most difficult pieces to photograph.
    To date, this was one of my most difficult pieces to photograph.
  4. It’s not common. Nowadays most illustration is created with 2D mediums. Though I see more and more artists experimenting with 3D materials (for example, paper-cut illustration), most of the jobs available for illustration, require digital or traditional mediums. This makes it difficult to market and figure out where this type of  illustration fits in.
  5. It’s a risk. For all of the reasons listed above, embroidery is a risk. This alone can be a deterrent for potential illustration clients.

For these reasons, I’ve considered giving up on embroidery as an illustrative medium many times. Along with embroidery, I also love drawing and it wouldn’t be a difficult switch to using this as my primary style. It might even be easier to do this. So why don’t I do it?

Because every time I imagine giving up embroidery, I feel like Ariel selling her voice to Ursula. Embroidery expresses me the best.  Maybe in 10 years it won’t, but right now it’s my visual voice. I can’t bring myself to give that up.

So here are 5 reasons why making and marketing embroidered illustrations is a good idea:

  1. It’s slow. Time is valuable. So taking time to create something, shows that you value it. Sure, there are projects that need to be completed in 6 hours. But there are enough illustration styles that can meet these demands. Embroidery has the unique ability to give the value of time to projects.
  2. It’s new and old at the same time. Embroidery has a long history and has been used in many different contexts for centuries. It is a familiar, yet still evolving medium. There aren’t many illustrators working with it, which means there is an opportunity to do something new and fresh. This excites me!
  3. It requires commitment and expertise to reproduce.  The fact that embroidery requires time, proper equipment and lots of trial and error practice, means that the finished product ends up looking pretty fantastic. It also means that not everyone can do it. You can’t get away with improperly photographing these illustrations, or they will look horrible when printed. Embroidery forces me to be thorough from start to finish.
  4. It’s tactile and 3D. It has natural shadows and textures that make it visually appealing and causes it to stand out.

    Check out this tactility. Don't you just want to touch it?
    Check out this tactility. Don’t you just want to touch it?
  5. It’s a risk worth taking. In my opinion, the most meaningful experiences in life involve risk. So the fact that embroidery is a risk shouldn’t be a reason to give it up.
Recent Blog Posts

New Embroidery Book with German publisher Droemer Knaur

For the past month, I’ve been busy working on some embroidery designs for a book being published this Fall with German publisher Droemer Knaur by author Petra Harms. I was thrilled when the editor contacted me and shared the idea for the book called “Stitch it Yourself”. It will feature around 15 artists or bloggers who all work with embroidery, and will include 25 step-by-step embroidery tutorials. Naturally, it will be written in German which is also very exciting.

Since, I’ve been living in Germany I’ve come across many do-it-yourself type books, but none focusing on embroidery. The author also noticed this gap, and thus came the idea for the book. I’m looking forward to holding the finished product in my hands this fall, and seeing what the other artists and bloggers have created. I’m sure it’s going to be beautiful. How could any book about embroidery not be?!

For those of you who speak German and are Mr. Buttonman fans, you may be excited to know that there will be a Mr. Buttonman tutorial in the book. I created 3 different tutorials in total, and here are a few sneak-peek photos below.

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Thanks for reading!

Recent Blog Posts

Leipzig Book Fair 2016

This is going to be a short blog post, but I wanted to share a few highlights from the Leipzig Book Fair last week.

MarchBlogPhotos11. Books, books and more books! I spent most of my time in the children’s publisher section of the fair, but also wandered into the art books section towards the end of the day. There are many beautiful children’s books being published this year, and I was especially excited to find a couple with embroidery on display.

2. Great location. The Leipzig Messe is the biggest and most beautiful exhibition space I’ve ever visited. It’s full of natural light and easy to navigate, considering it’s size.

3. Ice cream! Need I say more?

4. New connections. Last year I was too shy to practice my German and didn’t talk to many of the vendors in Leipzig, but this year I dove right in, handed out some fancy new business cards and met some really nice people.

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5. I bought a new sticker book. Like my hat? Very excited to put these stickers to use on my outgoing mail orders.

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Have a great week!

 

 

 

Recent Blog Posts

Instagram Challenge: #MarchMeettheMaker

I’ve been wanting to bulk up my website with more photos of my process, and the “behind the scenes” of my freelance business, so I was excited to see this #MarchMeettheMaker challenge on Instagram a few days ago. I’m a few days late jumping in, but here are a couple photos I’ve made for the challenge so far.

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MarchBlogPhoto

I find challenges like this are helpful to get ideas flowing and it’s interesting to see what makers around the globe are up to. Hopefully, by the end of this month I’ll have at least 5-10 photos that I can put together as a collage on my website .

Being an artist is kind of a risky business and I have many days where I ask myself if this is a good/responsible career choice. So I’m sure this will be a good 30-day exercise of re-focussing on WHY I do what I do and also to show those interested a bit of HOW I do it. If you’d like to follow along, you can find my Instagram account here.

 

Recent Blog Posts

Book Contract with Simply Read Books!

I’ve got some very exciting news to announce in today’s blog post. After much planning, dreaming, learning, promoting and waiting I have signed a book contract with Canadian publisher Simply Read Books for the first-ever Mr.Buttonman children’s picture book!

I first met the publisher of Simply Read Books last year at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair where I introduced my book idea to him. He was very open and interested in my character and embroidered illustrations and we immediately exchanged contact information. Now almost a year later, the agreement is official!

The story has been written by me and will be filled with 32 hand-embroidered illustrations. There is much work ahead before publication next Spring 2017, but I am so excited to get to working on it!

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