Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I’ve been on the road again… It happens every year around this time – sometimes it’s work-related, other times it’s just for fun. This time I was down in Southern California, and had enough free time to visit a few shops on my trip.
On a sunny Saturday morning I dropped in at Needlepoints, LTD in Garden Grove, located just a few blocks west from Beach Blvd and the I-22 Junction. I had an awesome visit with owner Diana Hardner and her daughter, and managed to find a few new goodies to bring home with me – but definitely wish I had room in my suitcase for a few more!
The shop is definitely a stitcher’s candy store – the selection of eye candy is amazing!
In addition for carrying a complete wall of DMC Needlework Threads (this image shows our pearl cotton, the shop carries a huge – make than gargantuan – selection of patterns for cross stitch, embroidery, needlepoint, counted thread and other needle arts.
Trust me – You can’t be in a rush to look through the patterns – it will take you a while because there’s so much to choose from. The wall of patterns shown here is chock-full of ideas and is just the beginning… wait until you see the binders. Oh my!
You’ll also find an impressive selection of fabrics and linens, plain and hand-painted needlepoint canvases, beads, buttons and charms, as well as stitching organizers, gadgets and frames – and don’t forget the necessities like scroll frames, needles and tools.
Needlepoints, Ltd also features a large, well-lit classroom area and offers classes from their own experienced instructors as well as top designers in a wide range of needlework types. Visit their classes page to see what’s going on before your visit.
Feel free to drop on by the shop the next time you’re in town as well. Bring your needlework and visit for a while… I’ll definitely be dropping by again on my next visit!
An Interview with Orna Willis
Monday, April 8, 2013
Orna Willi has been one of my favorite needlework designers for several years now, and I’ve had the opportunity to do more than one interview with her. A member of both the EGA and ANG, Orna uses a variety of brightly colored materials including DMC Embroidery Threads in her unique designs.
Today I am sharing our latest chat, offering insights into the way Orna designs her beautiful pieces of needlepoint art.
Orna describes her designs as Contemporary Ethnic and her heritage plays an important role in her designs. She states, “Whether intentionally or subconsciously, I clearly see my heritage in my designs. My pieces have an ethnic feel to them. They repeat certain elements such as arches, crescents, and stars. I also tend to choose strong vibrant colors, and add beads and embellishments all with a very Middle Eastern vibe. Elements of places I know are reflected in my work. Examples are: window-in-the-old-city-kit/”>Window in the Old City, my take on the old city of Jerusalem and the beautiful arched windows in some of the ancient homes. Hamsa is another example; the hand that wards off the evil spirits is a well-known motif in both Judaic and Muslim cultures.”
You can learn more about Orna, her patterns and kits on any of her web sites. Check out Adorn by Orna to shop for patterns and register for a cyberclass (like the one for these gorgeous Dolci Beads!). Visit Orna’s inspiring blog for her thoughts on making thing by hand and her Adorn Atelier for a wide variety of handmade crafts including felting, paper cutting, wirework, knitting and more.
Here’s more from my interview with Orna:
When did you first discover that you could create art with a needle and thread?
I stumbled across needlepoint accidentally. I had always sewn, making clothing for my sisters and then my daughters, but never needlepoint. In 1994 I bought a needlepoint-charted design and jumped in, head first. I found it very addictive, and immediately I tried another charted design. After the second piece, I decided to play on a piece of canvas with no guides, just following where the needle took me. I wasn’t interested in creating images, I wanted to create geometric shapes and fill them with patterns, textures, and colors. It wasn’t long before I had bits and pieces of stitched canvas all over the house, like tiny vignettes of fiber combinations. I couldn’t get enough of these experimentations and soon they got bigger in size, clearer in intent and were complete compositions.
Are you self-taught, or have you taken classes?
I began as self-taught. I was too impatient and curious to stop for instruction. Later, over the years, I’ve taken classes from some wonderful teachers and designers.
You create wearable art that is stunning, like this beautiful quartet of designs sitched with DMC threads to the right, and the “Kanya” cuff bracelet to the lower left. Do you often wear the pieces in public, and what type of response do you get?
Thank you for your kind words! I wear my pieces when I go out to an event a bit more dress up than what I wear around the studio. I particularly like to wear my earring pieces but also my cuffs.
The first response is almost always, “How long did it take you to stitch that?!” I’m never quite sure of the answer but I explain that stitching is very therapeutic for me. The next question is how hard would it be to try stitching a piece. I love encouraging people to give it a try and have converted quite a few newbies to needlepoint.
In addition to needlepoint/thread on canvas, what other types of needlework do you enjoy?
I enjoy embroidery and felting but I must say that when I have the time I usually go right to needlepoint. It’s probably where I feel I can make the most happen. I have been working on smaller and smaller count. While the majority of my design work is done on 18 count canvas, I have done quite a bit on Congress Cloth and now I am focusing on Silk Gauze, 32 and 40 count. The detailing that can be achieved on this tiny count is amazing.
How much of your day is spent stitching versus designing?
For me stitching and designing are the same. I always design on canvas, never on the computer, so designing is stitching. Once I have stitched a new piece I then go on to chart and write the instructions. This is the part that takes up too much of my time – this is when I’d rather be stitching. However, it can’t be avoided… When the design has been written, charted and illustrated I have someone else stitch it again, a proof stitcher, someone who makes sure the instructions are correct. Most of the stitching I do is in the evenings. During the day I work on my computer and in the evenings I sit and stitch.
Where do you seek inspiration on days when your muse is taking a break?
I “hoard” inspiration everyday, for just those moments when I think I have no muse in me. I am constantly browsing online, looking at sites that focus on interior design, fashion, the art world and the craft world. Everyday I make sure to find at least one new site that excites me and offers ideas for a new direction, a new design. I live in the city and while others look at nature for inspiration, perhaps go out to their gardens or hike near their home, I walk the streets, look at people, shop windows, and the city skyline for inspiration.
If you could create one design that would become your masterpiece and spend 100% of your time on it, what would it be?
If I had all the time I could ask for, I would take a huge piece of canvas and I would let my needle guide me. I would not make any determinations in advance, but rather just pick a fiber, a color, and plunge into the canvas. Then I would like to never have to chart the piece, just let it sit across from me. I will make that day happen at some point.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
We’re back from the TNNA show. Everyone from DMC had a great time catching up with needlework shop owners and your favorite needlework designers!
This year we did something a bit different and offered visitors an opportunity to learn how to avoid needlework tedium-itis by hosting a coffee break with Dr. Thread and her assistants.
Participants were treated to an emergency kit filled with handy items in case of a needlework emergency, including a shuttle of DMC Color Infusions Memory Thread and a skein Embroidery Floss.
Here are some of the highlights of our visit:
Dr. Liz and Dr. Celine were ready to assist in the eradication of needlework tedium-itis…
Dr. Steve visited with Megan Chriswisser, editor of Needlework Retailer magazine.
Capi and Lyneen from Always in Stitches, a full-service needlework and quilting store in Noblesville, Indiana came by for a visit. They’re in-store experts can help you with any handicraft project.
As did Bob and Anna from Needles & Niceties in Upland, California. I had a chance to visit their needlework shop a few months back and enjoyed visiting with them. You can read about my visit here.
Kelly Rippy and her husband Robert from The Counted Needle were here to see what’s new for their shop in Bloomington, Illinois. Their specialties are counted needlework and custom framing.
As were Carol Reeves and Mary from the stitch and Frame Shop of Rock Hill, South Carolina. This full service needlework and frame shop is located just 30 minutes from downtown Charlotte. It’s a beautiful drive and well worth the trip.
Mary Ann Kritl, along with Julie and Connie from Reflections Framing and Stitching from Papillion, Nebraska came by to say hello as well. They’re experts at framing needlework and offer a wide variety of cross stitch and needlework supplies, books and patterns.
These are just a handful of the wonderful people who dropped in for a visit. I wish there was room in the blog for every photo!
Looking forward to another successful TNNA show next year. Thank you all for dropping by!