What is your creative work?

Embroidery

Tell us how you started your business / creative venture?

Even though I’d been practicing embroidery for a while, I began Sage Green Stitching in the fall of 2020 as an outlet to share the pieces I’d been making outside of my personal Instagram account. I wasn’t initially sure what my goals were with the page (and to be honest, I’m still not entirely sure!) but I knew I was growing in this medium, I was beginning to develop a style that felt natural to me, and wanted to be able to share my work with a broader audience.

How long have you been doing your creative work?

I first started embroidery in February 2018.

What made you choose this journey?

When I first picked up embroidery in early 2018, I was going through a really difficult time personally. I just had so many things going on, internally and externally, and I got to a point where I could recognize that I didn’t have very good coping mechanisms for any of it. I started getting this overwhelming urge to pick a new creative hobby because I figured if I could at least keep my hands busy it would be an improvement. I don’t even know what made me choose embroidery, to be honest. It just popped into my head one day and wouldn’t leave. I ordered a few basic supplies online, came up with a design, and tried to see if I could make it happen with fabric and thread. I loved it right away, even though I look back on those first few pieces now and only see the mistakes. But I kept getting ideas for designs and found a lot of peace in the slow, repetitive nature of stitching, so I kept with it. And it’s been so rewarding to see all of that time and effort be paid off as my skills improved to a place that I’m now really happy with.

What kind of struggles did you face in your journey?

I’m going to be honest, there have been a lot of struggles! When I began embroidering three years ago, I truly had no idea what I was doing and wasn’t really sure what resources to learn from. That first year was a lot of trial-and-error (mostly error), learning the basics of different stitches and techniques, finding the right materials such as fabric, thread, and hoops. I also struggle with giving up too easily sometimes. If a piece isn’t turning out exactly like I pictured or how I sketched it, I’m always tempted to throw it in my abandoned work-in-progress pile and move on to the next one. I think I’ve gotten better about that though, and if I’m having a really hard time making a piece work, I usually just need to put it down for a few hours or days and take some time away from it. Just having that little bit of distance from a piece can be really helpful to me.

What is one advice you can give to creatives struggling right now?

I have two pieces of advice that I try to follow in my own work (and take them with a grain of salt, because this is not my full time job; what works for me might not work for someone who is a full-time artist or creative): First, don’t be afraid to take breaks or walk away from something when you need to. A lot of embroidery artists primarily showcase their work on Instagram, and when you rely on social media for exposure, I think it can lead to a lot of burnout if you see your engagement drop or you don’t constantly have new work to show. So take a break, at least from social media if not from your creative practice, when you need to. My second piece of advice is to make the things that make you happy. Again, if art is your primary source of income, I know that this might not be feasible all the time. But for me, if I’m really struggling with burnout or a creative block, I try to think about the things I really love making: simple, minimalist florals in small hoops. These are pieces that are really satisfying for me to make and can be started and finished in the space of an afternoon. Just doing something simple and pleasing like that can help kickstart my creativity if I’m struggling.

Share a quote you live by. It can be yours or something else that inspires you!

One of my favorite quotes is actually a blessing written by the Irish poet and mystic John O’Donohue: “As stillness in stone to silence is Wed/May solitude foster your truth in word/As a river flows in ideal sequence/May your soul reveal where time is the presence/As the moon absolves the dark of difference/May your style of thought bridge the indifference/As the breath of light awakens color/May the dawn anoint your eyes with wonder.” This quote reminds me to look for beauty where it exists in the world, even if it can be hard to find sometimes.

Are there any products you recommend that helped you better your craft?

Embroidery is very much about finding the products that work for you, but I definitely recommend investing in high-quality materials as much as you can. Personally, I use DMC thread, 100% cotton, and wooden embroidery hoops as opposed to bamboo or plastic. I also use a hoop stand, which is basically a clamp for your embroidery hoop that you set on your desk, lap, or the floor that allows you to keep both hands free while stitching. It makes things so much easier!

How can people learn more about you and your business?

What are some resources that have helped you succeed?


CMATL is an interview series where our team collects submissions and find Atlanta’s hidden gems of creators and creative entrepreneurs. This project powered by The Creative Folks.

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