Hello, and welcome back to Random Acts of Amy for the January 2016 edition of Backside of the Hoop! I hope that you’ve started your 2016 with all kinds of goodness. I’m excited to feature Kari Lockhart of Oh My Heart this month. Kari and I met on Instagram last year, and became fast friends over our combined love of embroidery and florals. I love her style, and her wedding bouquet necklaces are beautiful mementos of a woman’s wedding.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Kari, I am a 26 year old wife and cat mom, living in rural Alberta, Canada. I own the shop Oh My Heart, featuring intricate and feminine embroidered goods, including the original bridal bouquet portrait. I started this business on March 10, 2015 to help supplement my husband’s income as we further reduced our work schedule to be more involved in volunteering in our community. As a fairly new Etsy shop owner, 2015 was an exciting adventure with lots of learning and effort.
When did you start doing embroidery?
I don’t remember the exact point at which I made my first stitches, but at the age of 4 my mom gifted me a kid’s sewing machine from Sears. I’ve been addicted to a thread and needle ever since. It wasn’t until February of 2015 that I sat down with the serious intent of learning the actual techniques and stitches of embroidery.
Was there anyone who taught you, or are you self-taught?
I’ve always learned best teaching myself. However I must admit, the advent of Google and YouTube tutorials have been a great assistance.
Where is your favorite place to embroider?
While I have a tiny studio I rarely stitch in one place. At any given time you will find pieces of thread stuck beyond the vacuum’s reach all over our house. All in all, I do tend to gravitate to bright, airy spaces as I feel these influence the pieces I create.
Show us your backside…of your hoop!
Have you always finished off your pieces this way? Have you tried other ways?
The first hoop I sold was actually the first time I ever had to back a hoop (and boy was I scared). I quickly experimented with different materials to create the blackout backing as well as its position- against the fabric or on the outer edge. But since that first try I’ve been happy with the outcome and haven’t experimented further.
What are the advantages in how you finish your pieces?
Fabric selection is very limited in Canada. To offer the colors I like, sometimes the weight of the available fabric isn’t ideal. With a complete blackout piece I don’t need to worry about thread being visible on the front when it shouldn’t be. With customers in mind, I also feel this is the tidiest way to finish my work and give a professional look.
What is your favorite part of the embroidery process? Your least favorite part?
My favourite part is honestly, stitching. Throughout the years I’ve always desired to be accomplished in painting, but alas I’ve had to realize it’s just not in my skillset! When I stitch, it feels almost like I have a paintbrush in my hand and this gives me such a great creative outlet. But let’s be honest, I hate setting my pieces. For the most part, I make jewelry. Getting fabric to lay evenly and securely in a tiny space is stressful and monotonous to say the least.
What are your top three favorite stitches?
I’m addicted to French knots, the daisy stitch, and the good ole straight stitch.
What is your favorite brand of floss? How do you organize your floss?
DMC! I’m super happy to finally own every single DMC color available. I organize my floss using clothes pins hung on nails, fastened to strips of baseboards horizontally hung up and down my walls. But as you can imagine, winding over 400 colors is quite time consuming. I don’t have a final photo of my storage solution yet, but I’m looking forward to finishing that project over the winter.
Do you create your own patterns, or purchase patterns from other artists? If you create your own, how do you go about creating them? Where do you find inspiration?
Actually, almost all of my pieces are freehanded with no pattern. More recently I’ve created patterns for some of my larger hoops simply to ensure conformity when creating made to order pieces. In these instances I’ve just traced over a photo of a piece I previously created freehand. I’m fairly new at selling embroidery so truthfully, I seem to have more ideas than time and have yet to search for inspiration. Boiling it down, I’d say nature itself gives me all the ideas I need.
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 was super excited to be a contributor to the very first issue of the new Maker’s Movement magazine released January 1, 2016. In it I wrote a piece speaking of the ancient language of flowers and the messages they conveyed. Along with, I created a line of embroidered necklaces carrying very specific messages of love, friendship, and comfort over loss. I look forward to expanding this line, creating not only aesthetic pieces, but highly sentimental jewelry. I also have a huge list of new designs, products, and collaborations I can’t wait to get to. Finally, I can’t forget to mention my ever popular bridal bouquet portraits, as I have some exciting plans for those!
What a great embroidery story! Thank you, Kari, for sharing it with us all. I’m excited to get my hands on a copy of Maker’s Movement magazine to check out your article. And I look forward to seeing your new designs on Instagram.
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