Oh my goodness! I am so excited about this month’s Backside of the Hoop! This month I had the honor of interviewing Bridget Prater. I met Bridget on Instagram, and quickly fell in love with her embroidered dreamcatchers, her gorgeous photos, and her style. So without further ado…
Tell Us about Yourself
I have a degree in Fine Art and currently live in south Mississippi with my husband and bulldog. I am a freelance graphic designer working with everything from fortune 500 businesses to small handmade businesses. I’ve always embraced art as a way of expressing myself, especially as a well-known introvert. I find it hard sometimes to convey something by word of mouth but put a pen or paintbrush and it just flows right there on the paper. I am currently working on a rebrand to express myself more as an artist and working towards moving everything over from madebybettyb to blendingbybetty.
I started embroidering December of 2013, I was broke and wanted to make something unique and special for my family for Christmas and decided to get some cute blankets from target off the clearance aisle and embroider their names and the year onto them. They were a big hit. During that time I was really going through a lot in my life and just kind of needed the outlet of something I could learn and express myself easily that wasn’t relatively expensive. So I taught myself. I knew my grandmothers and great aunts all were into crocheting, quilting, and embroidering so I took on the task to learn. I had previously made a few doily dreamcatchers to send to the family that included a lot of the jewelry from my late grandmothers and great aunts, they were also a huge hit in the family. Kind of a new way to honor the people that meant so much to us and instead of keeping all this vintage jewelry tucked away, I strung it to hang from the dreamcatchers. Then friends wanted me to create the same things from their family heirlooms and that is where the shop came from.
I knew that I wanted to stand out in the embroidery world and somehow combine the two things that really meant so much to me and got me through the toughest times, growing my business just a little bit more, and creating these embroidered dreamcatchers. I seriously scoured the internet and no one else was doing it. Coming up with an idea no one else is doing is invigorating but also daunting, going through my mind and thinking maybe there is a reason no one is doing it? What if no one really understands the idea, but I went with it. It surprisingly took off, and I just kept pushing myself and working on finding out what works and what doesn’t.
When weaving kind of became popular about a year ago I wanted to really try it, and I have all of these amazing dreamcatcher and Native American books that I reference a lot. It had woven dreamcatchers in them which were a big thing in the 70s. I went to the internet again and no one was making those either. It was like this completely lost art form, and I knew it was something I wanted to bring back to life. So I did. I love that weaving has kind of taken off and the round weavings are starting to pop up everywhere! So now I am creating these one of a kind embroidered and hand woven dreamcatchers.
Where Is Your Favorite Place to Embroider?
I am very lucky in the sense that we have a duplex to ourselves. When our neighbors moved out we took on the other half as ours and turned it into what my husband calls my Babe Cave. It’s not very big but it’s perfect to have a space for my graphic design, my embroidery and my weaving. It’s my favorite place to be. If I am not there, I am outside. There is nothing better than good sunlight and the smell of all the flowers.
Show Us Your Backside…Of Your Hoop!
So my hoops aren’t usually backed in the sense of your typical hoop art. I sometimes will sew or glue a felt or cloth backing, but I don’t mind leaving the backs open. Sometimes I enjoy the back art just as much as I enjoy the front. There is something vulnerable from leaving the back open. You can see all the details and if I made a mess up and fixed it. It’s an ongoing battle with myself on if I should cover each piece or not.
What are Your Favorite and Least Favorite Parts of the Embroidery Process?
My favorite part is designing the art to embroider. I really enjoy pushing myself with how I embroider which also pushes myself when I am drawing out the designs. I mostly freehand everything on the hoop using disappearing ink pen and just go from there. I don’t have patterns made up or a lightbox to trace things, but I do plan on adding both things to my life in the near future!! My least favorite part of embroidery is having to tie every loose thread on the back when I finished with that color, it’s the most annoying.
What are Your Top Three Favorite Stitches?
I love a good group of French knots, a good tight split stitch, and my favorite is the stem stitch.
What Is Your Favorite Brand of Floss, and How Do You Store It?
I use DMC, it’s definitely the smoothest of the types of threads out there. I wrap mine on clothespins and hang them above my desk.
What’s Up Next for You?
Everything is moving at an alarming rate, I am working on the rebrand to include more options and limiting custom orders to only 3-4 a month. With the rebrand I will be including DIY dreamcatchers and patterns for embroidery but also for crocheting your own center. I will be creating my own round weaving looms, hoping to set up classes for either form of dreamcatchers. I will be selling more accessories, lapel pins, embroidered patches, screen printed, and embroidered tote bags.
I have always been an overly positive person, dream seeker, goal accomplisher, and overly motivational to others. I feel like it’s something so many people lack in themselves that I want people to know you can do anything you set your mind to.
Everything I bring to the shop will include something along those lines, a brand for all the dream seekers!
Thank you so much for sharing your embroidery story and process with us, Bridget! It’s great to learn more about you. I particularly enjoyed learning how you started your embroidery journey, and how you used family jewelry in your pieces. I received all of my Great Grandma Rosie’s costume jewelry, and now I’m inspired to somehow add some of those pieces to embroidery.