Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Interview with Jo Butcher Embroidery Artist

Jo Butcher creates beautiful hand or machine embroidered pictures of flowers and landscapes, some with hand painted backgrounds. Jo has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about her work so that I can share this with you. Below are some pictures of Jo's work and the interview. You can see more of Jo Butcher's work on her website http://www.jobutcher.co.uk/.

Interview with Jo Butcher, Embroidery artist

1. Where did you first learn your embroidery skills?
Some stitches I learnt at school, the rest were self taught from books/magazines.

2. The hand painted backgrounds that you create are beautiful, what methods do you use to create these backgrounds?
I paint using either watercolours or fabric paints then iron them to fix the colours.

3. It is obvious that a lot of work goes into your embroidery, on average how long would you say it takes you to create one of your large pictures?
I tend to stitch in the evenings, when my daughter has gone to bed, so a large picture can take up to a week to complete. I tend not to count the hours as I couldn’t charge for them!

4.To collect images of flowers for your work do you go out into the countryside or garden and draw from life or take photos and work from these?
I do some sketching in our orchard, but usually work from photos. Though I do find myself analysing how I’d sew something and what colours to use just by observing during my normal daily routine.

5. Are you influenced by other embroidery artists?
Yes of course! Having previously worked as a high street fashion designer I’ve learnt to absorb different qualities and techniques and transferred them into my own style.

6. What made you want to be a textile artist? Is it something that you’ve always wanted to do?  
I discovered the joy of creating as a teenager and channelled it into fashion as a career. But following the loss of our first child I needed a creative outlet and rediscovered the joy of embroidery. I am thrilled to now be able to sell my work and have such lovely feedback about it.

7. How did you first get your work recognised? Did you start selling at craft fairs or online?  
My first exhibition was part of Somerset Arts Weeks and I sold about 75% of my work! Since then I have sold regularly through galleries and my website. The breakthrough for me was when I won Best Craftsperson in Country Living’s Kitchen Table Talent Competition last year.

8. What advice would give to other embroiders looking to sell their work?
Make sure you have the best possible presentation of your work. It is your show case and if you don’t love it why should anyone else!
I first discovered Jo's work in an art gallery and I have recently been inspired by her work in my AS Art exam project. I was working under the theme of The Secret Garden. Using a photo that I had taken I created a hand embroidered picture of snowdrops. I completed this art work in an old book as I was also taking inspiration from altered books (the two images below show my work that has been influenced by Jo Butcher).

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