Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fall 2012 Blog Tour Stop 5

A new stop on The Floss Box Fall 2012 embroidery blog tour. This time we are visiting Janet Brandt's blog Embroidery and the World of Possibilities. If you haven't visited Janet before, be sure you do, her works are delightful!

Stop 1: Sew in Love
Stop 2: Isabell on Flickr, aka ColourinStitch
Stop 3: SewAmy
Stop 4: Kitty and Me Design by Pam Kellogg
Stop 5: Embroidery and the World of Possibilities

How long have you been embroidering?
I have been stitching for as long I can remember. One of my very first shopping memories is loving a display of embroidery floss at a dime store. The threads were yellow/gold and that color sends a thrill through me to this day.
My parents owned a women's clothing store and salesmen would send us boxes filled with scraps of fabric from the cutting room floor. Great fun for doll clothes! It was also a great environment for all things fiber. My sisters and I did display work from a very early age and I started drawing the newspaper ads when I was 13.

How did you learn?
My great grandmother lived with us and she was always stitching. And my grandmother was an accomplished needle worker. I don't remember any lessons at their knees or anything quite that formal but I loved seeing what they were doing. I'm sure they must have taught me some of the basics.  I played with all sorts of creative materials on my own. I was always holed up in my bedroom making something. And I read books and magazines, anything I could get my hands on. I now have a very serious library of titles related to all things textile. Over the years I've embroidered, made dolls, hooked rugs, made quilts,and have now returned to embroidery.
How much time do you spend working on embroidery in a day on average?
Never enough! If I get in a couple hours of stitching a day I am very happy. Some days the hands are just too tired. Other day there is design work to do either on the computer or drawn by hand.

What are your favorite types of embroidery?
I love a variety of techniques. I now bring my experiences of crochet, dollmaking, quilting, drawing and applique home to my embroidery work. I use, I borrow, from everywhere to get the effect I want.
I started playing with stumpwork just a couple years ago. And my own version of crewel embroidery. Because I dyed my own wool fabric colors for rug hooking, I am able to dye my wool yarns for stitching. 

What are your favorite materials to use?
Everything! Well almost, my hands and nails are just too rough for silk!

Where do you get your inspiration?
I have always been in love with the ethnic embroideries of the world, eastern Europe in particular. All that red is so delicious! I love their timelessness and the universal themes they depict. Hearts, hands, birds and trees are found in most cultures.

Many stitchers are intimidated by stumpwork and crewel work, do you have any tips on how to get started?
Over the years I taught classes in rug hooking, applique and embroidery. The most important lesson I think I can share with any student is to have fun. And to listen to what makes you happy personally. After all that's why we do this.
More practical advice is to start small and if possible with a kit/class. Be patient with yourself, and realistic with your expectations. Practice makes perfect is a well repeated phrase for good reason!

What do you do with your finished projects?
Over the years most of my work has been done for publications in books and magazines as how-to articles. I've written 4 quilting books and one book about the creative spirit in all of us. I use my embroidered and applique wool quilts to illustrated that book. I'd love to carry on in that vein and publish my embroidery work one day soon. I am using my embroidery to tell the traditional stories and the stories of a "World of Possibilities" that I am creating.

What else do you enjoy doing?
I just became a docent at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The training was 13 months of amazing classes of art history as well as practice giving tours and, most important, engaging the audience. I want people to enjoy going to a museum and not fell intimidated. It's just art and we're all creative people!

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