Have you ever wondered what the backside of a needle artist’s hoop looks like? Or what their behind the scenes process looks like? Me, too! As an embroidery artist, I’m intrigued by how other artists finish their hoops, what their creative process is, and what their behind the scenes space looks like. I decided to put together this monthly feature to showcase the different embroidery, cross stitch, and other needle artists out there so we could all learn more about the backsides of their hoops!
Today I’m so excited to introduce to you Katy Bromberg of Misericordia! Katy’s work is fresh and unique. She combines embroidery with mediums like watercolor to make super creative pieces. She does a lot of work with text, which is what originally drew me to her work.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Katy and I create text embroidery in Edinburgh, Scotland. I’ve been embroidering as Misericordia since 2011.
My work explores the way we think about words, especially in a digital age where most of our communication doesn’t bear the imprint of ourselves the way handwritten or spoken words do. I try to use fonts, colours and above all the time taken to make each stitch to redress the balance.
Folksy Shop : http://folksy.com/shops/Misericordia
When did you start doing embroidery?
I’ve always been a hand sewer, from historical costume, clothing, quilts, and more. I taught myself to do cross stitch kits as a child but soon got tired of doing what I was told. I put it aside until I started adding free hand embroidered embellishments to my clothes, and finally moved on to embroidery for its own sake.
Where is your favorite place to embroider?
We have a lovely Victorian sofa where I do most of my stitching. You can’t slouch too much and there’s plenty of space for Kipling (my ginger helper) to join me. All I need is a cup of tea at my elbow and I can stay put for hours. When I have to drag myself away I try to keep a project in my bag, just in case I have a few minutes to put some work in.
Show us your backside…of you hoop!
Tell us about how you finish off your pieces.
I don’t use a hoop to stitch, even though I frame many of my pieces in hoops. I tend to knot at the start of a thread, it doesn’t seem to make much difference to the finished look and it’s especially important when making mini canvases where the back of the piece isn’t covered up. I like to encase the back of my pieces entirely before they’re finished, they look neater and more complete. I’ve been thinking about selling unframed pieces and one of the things holding me back is wondering how I’m going to make the backs look good! (Suggestions on a postcard please.)
What is your favorite part of the embroidery process? Your least favorite part?
My creative process has three distinct parts:
Enthusiasm: I get an idea, get it penciled on the fabric and dive in. I know exactly how I want it to look, even I can’t quite express it in words.
Disillusionment: This is the awful second stage, either it’s not looking the way I imagined it, or I lose momentum because of the stitches I’m using, or I get another idea that I want to start right away instead.
Resolution: This is the point where I’ve been slogging away and it suddenly starts to look the way I had pictured. I get a second wind and it’s finished, stretched and framed before I know what’s hit me.
Ever since I realised that these steps are inevitable, it’s been much easier to get through the hard parts, but I can’t say I enjoy the Disillusionment phase yet.
What are your top three favorite stitches?
Satin Stitch: I’m quite proud of being able to get the tension right over large areas without a hoop
Seed Stitch: I use this to add depth of shadow and colour, but it takes a lot of stitching.
French Knots: I have a love/hate relationship with French knots, I start to hate them after the first 57, but once I’m finished, I love them!
What is your favorite brand of floss? How do you organize your floss?
I try to use DMC but I don’t have strong preferences, I always keep an eye out in charity shops for threads. My threads live in two boxes I’ve had since I was a kid. I make a note of the brand and shade number on the card and I’m constantly changing my mind about how I want to organise them.
Do you create your own patterns, or purchase patterns from other artists? If you purchase patterns, what are your favorite places to get them?
I create all my own designs. Before I start a project I usually have a very clear idea of how it will look, so it’s just a case of playing with fonts and layouts until it matches what’s in my head. Sometimes I forget that other people don’t have quite the same emotional attachment to fonts that I do!
What’s up next for you? Are you excited about a particular piece you’re creating? Will you be in an upcoming market or craft show?
I’ve just started using watercolours in some of my pieces, which adds new challenges and a completely different kind of patience.
I also have a new line of alphabet necklaces and brooches in an attempt to bring back the monogram.
You can find me at a few markets around Edinburgh over the holiday season, there is a full list at http://www.misericordia.co.uk/events/.
In January 2015 I will feature Sonia Lyne of Dandelyne! You know Sonia from her mini hoops that are taking the world by storm. Tune in Monday, January 12, 2015
Are you interested in being interviewed for a future issue of Backside of the Hoop? Fill out the contact form below. I look forward to hearing from you!