I know, it's been pets pets pets recently, it's been such a busy month so far. BUT, I managed to sneak in a few hours to make some new embroideries - I didn't realise that all the 'home is where them fuckers ain't' embroideries in the Etsy shop had sold and I didn't really have anything else exciting on offer. So, expect more swear words, more 'home is where' embroideries and maybe even a nicer, more friendly quote or two. I'll announce on instagram (@intwosandthrees) when the listings go live on Etsy. For any custom requests or any ideas for quotes, sayings etc, then get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org!
Screen printed card from Charlotte Farmer (find here), wrapping paper by Wrap from LoveOne (find here) and amazing real American plastic outdoor flamingo ornament from LoveOne too (available soon). It was a friends birthday and he loves flamingos, so why not?
Recently, I was a little creep and made this embroidery for Noah from Relax Adult of one his drawings. Sometimes I really can't help but look at drawings/paintings and badly want to stitch them. Luckily, I think this was well received. Go and look at his work, it's bloody good.
The photos of pets with their portraits that you guys are sending me recently, really bloody make my day! I'm pretty worn out with the recent amount of orders, but it's a happy worn out, especially when I see photos like this.
I love a little cat chin. I've changed the way I stitch them over the past few months, opting for layers of satin stitch to make the most of those fine hairs.
I'm super excited to be involved in an exhibition as part of an ongoing project by Joel Millerchip. Tears for Murphy explores how young people grieve and how they react to death and memorialise tragedy in different ways (eg tattoos, Facebook pages etc). Joel was inspired by a story about his pet rabbit as a child,
"when Joel was 3 years old he had a black and white rabbit called Murphy. The Rabbit lived in the garden of his grandparents house in a hutch that was made by his Grandfather out of old sections of wood and chicken wire.
Joel and I visited his Grandmother on the way back from shopping one morning. While my mother and I had a cup of coffee Joel went outside to feed Murphy.
After a while Joel reappeared in the kitchen with his hands cupped in front of his chest asking whats happened to Murphy?!.
Unfortunately the handmade hutch wasn't strong enough to keep out predators. A fox had attacked Murphy in the night and all that was left was several balls of rabbit fur and Murphy's tail, which Joel had cupped in his hands".
Tears for Murphy depicts grieving rabbits - enter me and my sewing skills making 5 giant wearable rabbit heads for a photo shoot. I'll also be making a series of black handkerchiefs, each embroidered with various details - roman numerals, portraits and the hashtag #tearsformurphy which you can follow on instagram. This ongoing project of Joels will then result in a one - night - only exhibition at Doomed Gallery, Dalston, London on the 3rd September, with a big send off for Murphy.
You can follow my work in progress shots and the build up towards the exhibition with the hashtag #tearsformurphy on instagram. For more details on the show, contact Joel here.
I haven't made any prints in SO long. I lost all the files to the prints I had available in my Etsy shop (including this 'copious cats' print) and I just haven't got round to scanning and rejigging the drawings for printing again. I do apologise. I've been drawing a lot again and I've always got notes in sketchbooks on ideas for various series of prints or even mini zines or something. I think I need to do something with all these drawings, it would be a shame for them to just sit in sketchbooks or only exist as images on instagram.
I'll have a think.
I nearly always leave stitching the eyes until last. I think they're pretty important to get right, and can finally bring the whole portrait together. However, I always end up with little soulless creepy ghost portraits hanging around until I get the right colour thread for the eyes.
You can see more Brothers of the Stripe stuff here, they're a good bunch.
May has been PACKED with pet portraits! Can't wait to share them all with you, I haven't shared many work in progress shots recently as a lot of the portraits this month have been surprise gifts for customer's friends - aren't you a lovely bunch!
I've been so excited about this project. Ryan Humphrey from withapencilinhand, found here and here, is an illustrator I've admired for some time. Ryan has an incredible skill for mark making with an expert eye for adding unexpected colour to confident lines that pull the whole piece together. Playing with scale and popular culture, you're drawn in to a certain familiarity then thrown off course with determined textures in structured and assured marks. Seeing work in progress shots on instagram offer an insight to the first delicate anchoring marks, then before you know it, bold pen and pencil transforms the piece but keeps every single connection of pen to paper visible, making these illustrations intensely fascinating. Can you tell I'm a fan? It's not often I get overly excited by an artist or so much so that I'm inspired to make work myself. After Christmas being so packed with pet portraits, I wanted to start a project for myself, to make time to make something totally different where I could explore technique. I will often look at art, photos, details etc in terms of stitching. This is probably odd, I know, but illustrators/painters/whoever must think 'oh yeah, I want to draw/paint/photograph that', so I naturally look at things in terms of texture and lines. Ryan's work shouts at me in these ideas - the layers of lines that create a texture I'm desperate to explore in thread. So, I contacted him (it's just polite, right?), got the go ahead and ordered a couple of prints from Society6. I rarely get to work in bold colours and haven't made a human portrait in a long time so opted for this babe. I've been working on the embroidery (which is a bit larger than A4) in between commissions so it's been a slow process. However, the couple of hours here and there when I get to work on this have been so enjoyable. I love making pet portraits, but this is totally different. It's making me excited about ideas for future work, for possible exhibitions and exploring embroidery further. If the hand embroidered pet portraits are my bread and butter, I want contemporary illustration based embroidery to be the 3 course meal with whiskey cocktails. You know what I mean?
I'm on the home run for this piece, so watch this space for the final outcome. It's also worth noting I'm not making this for myself, I'll send it out to Ryan after. That's just good manners too, right?
I forget to take loads of progress shots these days. I'm usually so intensely stitching over a short amount of time that I don't come up for air, let alone take a work in progress pic. Plus, a lot of customers are on instagram and I like to keep a little element of surprise for them. This means I'm then sent excited photos of embroideries in-situ or, more excitingly for me, with the pet themselves! These photos really do make my day.
I couldn't embroider the name Maggie without singing that bastard Rod Stewart song.
But I loved making this lil' embroidery none the less.
My babein' buddy Boo asked me a load of questions for one of her essays at uni - an 'industry report' focusing on freelance artists. I don't think I've ever really considered myself as freelance, but these days most of my work is through commissions and custom requests and I don't do anything else as a job, so, I guess I am? Here's a little insight into my process and the pros and cons of freelance.
- What is your daily routine as a freelancer?
My routine varies day to day depending on my work load and commissions. I’ll often start with gathering materials which usually means going to buy more thread and fabric. This also gets me out the house for a couple of hours as the rest of the day will be filled with emails, scheduling new commissions, working on current commissions or projects (which can be an intense few hours of embroidery before coming up for air), updating social media and planning my next day. As the actual work itself can be quite intensive, I now ‘schedule’ in breaks like an hour drawing or a couple of hours with friends so I don't burn out. I would sit and embroider forever if I didn't do this.
2. How important is social media to you for publishing your work?
Extremely important. If it wasn’t for Instagram and tumblr, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now to call myself a freelance artist. With social media being so imbedded in everyone’s everyday lives, it’s totally altered how marketing and publishing can be approached. Personally, being an embroidery artist, I can quickly add detailed snapshots of work in progress (not just a product listing photo) to gain curiosity, or share photos of work in-situ to inspire potential customers. Being able to add a personal touch on social media also encourages a kind of customer interaction that can have such a positive effect on sales. There are also extreme downfalls to social media, however, which I have faced. The internet can quickly turn an image of your work into an anonymous picture of art by an unknown source.
3. What are the pros and cons of freelance?
Cons are usually in the beginning of becoming freelance - having the back up funds in order to become freelance, whether the field you’re working in can be sustainable as freelance, finding the right customers and then attracting enough customers, understanding how much to charge for your work, understanding marketing, understanding commissions and custom orders etc. Freelance basically means that you believe in yourself and your work enough that you believe other people will feel the same joy and so buy it - this can often lead to days of self-doubt and taking shitty days to heart if you’re not an overnight success. However, this also means that when it goes good, you feel on top of the world and beam with pride at someone spending even a pound on your work. Finding the balance between work life and personal life can be very hard, and something I’m currently working on. I’m still effectively in the early days of my business and so feel an overwhelming urge to please everyone. However, being the only person means this is just impossible at times. Organisation is key here, if not, the cons may just outweigh the pros.
4. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere and anywhere. An over heard saying could result in a large embroidered quote, or a new dress could inspire a new colour combination. I’ve embroidered for a long time so naturally look at images and art work in relation to stitching - my current love for illustration is a result of this. Exhibitions, movies, music, the internet, your best friend - there’s always something that sparks a little excitement for some potential new work.
5. What advice would you give to someone wanting to start out as a freelancer?
Start small. Don’t suddenly have a Dragons Den worthy business plan for something you haven’t practiced. Start developing your style with research and experimenting. ALWAYS RESEARCH. What’s the point in having that Dragons Den worthy business plan if someone’s been doing it since the dinosaurs and you missed the memo? Find your niche and work on it, start introducing it to social media for feedback and see where it leads you. If that means printing out your work to sell, excellent. If that means exhibitions, brilliant. If that means making things for your family and friends, go for it! See where that takes you and let it happen naturally, before you know it you’ll be stressing there’s not enough hours in the day and you’re tumblr famous. It happens, believe me.