We interviewed embroidery Artist Jessica Long, better known on instagram and the web as namaste_embroidery. Jessica embroiders her way through life, sharing her craft with her followers through her own personal designs she creates, some which you can find in kits that she creates and sells on her website. We spoke to her about topics such as tips for beginner embroiders, charity causes she has helped benefit, and even what her favorite type of stitch is. We were happy to approach Jessica and ask her to be our official November 2017 Artist of the Month. Read on to learn more about this Artist and her amazing craft!
Who are you and what do you do?
Hello! I am Jessica Long and I love hand embroidery. I design patterns and kits, create embroidery tutorials and try to make time for my own fiber art.
Are you a full time embroidery artist?
Yes, but that feels weird to say! It doesn’t mean that I get to sit around creating art all day, but I wish it did.
What have been your favorite pieces you have made thus far?
My personal projects are my favorite! I am stitching female portraits, embellished with embroidered details from nature. One woman has flowers for hair, another has a bonsai tree in place of her pony tail. My newest is Queen Bee, with a crown of honeycomb and a royal guard of honey bees. (View them here.)
We see you do some charity work involving your designs. Can you tell us a little more about different causes you’ve helped with?
I have done a couple of online auctions with the help of some other artists to aid with a number of efforts. A dear friend lost her husband to stage IV glioblastoma so one of the auctions was to raise money for the National Brain Tumor Society. A group of us also did an auction to benefit a local food bank when Texas was hit with Hurricane Harvey. It’s easy to feel so powerless with so many big, tragic things happening in the world every single day. It feels good to do something, even if it is small.
Do you have a certain type of stitch or design that you really love doing most?
I love satin stitch! It used to be my nemesis but now it shows up in all of my designs. Like anything, it just takes patience and practice.
What are your tips for beginner embroiders who are looking to break into the art?
Just grab the basic supplies and get cozy! I love that embroidery is very portable (just stash it in your backpack or purse and you have your art on the go!) and that the supplies are generally inexpensive. Find a kit or pattern to download to get started but it’s important to develop your own designs and style.
What does a typical day look like to you?
Mornings are for emails and packing up kits for shipping. I try to spread my actual hand embroidery out throughout the week to avoid any repetitive motion injuries to my hands. So some days I don’t stitch at all! I fill in the gaps with prepping kits, working on new designs, writing up new listings and pattern directions, planning and filming tutorials, ordering supplies, balancing the books, website updates and going to yoga class.
Tell us more about your embroidered jewelry that you create.
I use really lovely, high quality findings from a local jewelry company. I think having quality settings really helps the embroidery work stand out. I actually prefer working in larger scale, but it’s fun to create wearable art.
We see you sell kits and PDF patterns in your shop online. Do you create all of these yourself?
I do! I design all of the patterns and assemble all of the kits myself. My cats watch but I don’t let them help. Maybe in a few years I will let my toddler help with the assembly!
What was the biggest hurdle when learning embroidery? Did you have any particular struggles you had to overcome?
I had my own preconceptions I had to get over. I think I originally got caught up in using the “right” fabric and doing the stitches the “right” way. But there is no embroidery police. Learn some basics but then have fun with it. It’s like any art. There are traditions, but those boundaries can be pushed. Why not? That’s what we do art for, right?
Thanks Jessica for speaking with us further about your craft! Make sure you check out Namaste Embroidery’s Instagram, Facebook, and Website to see more of her work!