This past week I was interviewed by the Craft Industry Alliance for their "Member Spotlight." The Craft Industry Alliance is an organization dedicated to supporting small business owners in the craft industry. They’ve got webinars, articles, a weekly newsletter, and other fabulous resources all geared toward the modern small maker. Joining has been a game-changer for me personally, so it was a honor and a delight to chat with co-founder and director, Abby Glassenberg about how I founded Avlea Folk Embroidery and how folk embroidery fits into the current craft industry. Abby commented on how folk embroidery is very practical and I couldn't have been more thrilled that she noticed! We chatted about the practical appeal of other crafts such as knitting—you make a sweater and you or someone you love wears it. But with embroidery, sometimes you can finish a project and think “Umm, what do I do with it?”
Enter: folk embroidery!
I think one of the greatest appeals of folk embroidery is that it's made to be used and enjoyed in our daily lives. You can put a small table mat on your desk or your child’s dresser, deck the sideboard in your dining room with a lavish table runner, or place an allover design embroidery on your entryway (Scrolled Leaves is on mine at the moment). But some of those larger table runner or cushion cover designs can be daunting to stitchers who are new to the craft or have less time to stitch, so I've been thinking up ways to make that practical beauty even more accessible. Luiza and Antonia are two new basket cloth kit designs that just released.
This week has been really busy on the stitching side of things—I have one more stitching session to finish up the Peloponnesian Poppies design that I sneak peeked last week and I’m hoping to have that released by early April. Which means I'll be doing a hemming marathon with Peloponnesian Poppies, Pomona's Grove, and Latvian Rose (I'll be catching up on Season 2 of Astrid while I do!). Then I can't wait to get these beauties photographed and out into the world!
And, on the subject of Latvian Rose (shown above): when I added this to the Pomegranate Collection awhile back, I did so with a very heavy heart because I really, really, really wanted to stitch it for my own home. When Liz’s sample arrived, I was so delighted with how beautiful this very historic design turned out! The traditional black and red color palette used in so many folk embroideries just never ceases to enchant me and this design’s heavy use of backstitches make the stitches almost look like surface embroidery.
This coming week we're holding our first Embroidery Gathering for our local refugee organization and I'm looking forward to meeting our new neighbors and learning about their embroidery traditions while sharing stitching time together. Pamela had the bright idea to bring Byzantine Rose needleminders for all the participants since we’re holding the first gathering on Valentine’s Day so this will truly be a lovefest of folk embroidery!
The universal appeal of folk embroidery--whether it's a simple little serrated carnation or a lavish border design--is what keeps me endlessly intrigued and fascinated by this wonderful artform. The last couple of weeks have been a bit challenging due to an FB/IG issue with product tagging (um, yes, I would rather be designing than messing about with social media), but just as I was feeling really discouraged and getting dangerously near that "Why am I doing all this?!" thought train, I opened up IG and saw that someone had tagged Avlea with their finished stitching and it just made my day. It was such a welcome reminder of the beauty and universality of folk embroidery. Over the next few days, I'm going to be encouranging y'all to Show & Tell on Instagram so we can all share in this wonder.