It’s been too long since we’ve featured a craft artist on the blog, so today we’re happy to introduce you to Hannah Schneider of Pins and Needlework. Hannah was kind enough to share the story of her love affair with embroidery and how she’s putting a new spin on classic embroidered styles. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
All images by Hannah Schneider
Can you tell us about yourself and your background?
I’ve mostly been a painter, although I’ve never been to art school - I studied Art History in University. In school I was interested in traditional craft forms, and things I haven’t done before.
I started doing craft fairs when I was invite by other people, but now I really like doing them. It’s nice for me to do craft markets, because they push me to be creative.
How did you get started on doing embroidery?
When I was growing up, we had two embroideries in my house that my Aunt did in a Hungarian folk style, which I thought was gaudy and dark at first. One day I started admiring them and eventually fell in love with them.
I went to the craft store and bought supplies to try it myself. I really liked it, but realized it took a lot of commitment to make a large piece. I made a small pin, which people really liked. I like the idea of wearing a piece of art everyday, so it becomes a piece of your wardrobe.
Because I’m a painter, I can explore painting techniques by using the thread like paint – I consider what colours will look good, and how to embed colours in other colours. I can incorporate colour well and make things look realistic with the thread. Copying a picture of an animal from a photograph, for example, you never know what the thread will look like. It’s kind of like illustration.
With painting, though, you can pick up and stop any time, but with thread you never feel like it’s totally finished, because there’s always more thread. I’m not finished until I can’t get the needle through anymore, because I’ve layered the thread so much.
I was never taught this craft, but someone has done it on both sides of my family, and I like that I can continue this tradition. My grandmother, Edith, wins contests for her embroidery.
My “fans” are old ladies, who really appreciate my work, and I LOVE them. I’ve even inspired some of my friends to start embroidery. It’s easy to give up, though. I’m glad I didn’t give up, because after looking at my old pieces, I can really see an improvement.
For the Royal Bison [held November 29-December 1, 2013], I experimented with different styles of folk art blended together. For example, I’ll combine a William Morris style (whose designs were refined from folk art) with the Hungarian style.
I’ll have a bit of a colour scheme in mind, but I don’t have a pattern - I add as I go, which creates a mish-mash that I like. I can incorporate feminist ideas and a riot grrl crafty aesthetic with animal or floral motifs, with a bit of a sense of humor; it doesn’t have to be so serious. I have a lot of fun with it, and it should be seen as fun. People like animals and florals, and have good associations with them, so that’s why I do them.
I don’t repeat designs, so everything I make is original and a little bit different. It’s much more interesting to work this way, and I don’t feel like a machine.
Do you have a favourite piece you’d like to talk more about?
I recently did a piece for my friend Marlena Moore’s album. The focus of the album cover is a picture of a flamingo. It was an honour to be a part of my friend’s album, and I put a lot of love into the piece.
Are there any artists you admire?
Why do you work and live in Edmonton?
I’m living here because of my family and our roots here. It’s cold, but embroidery lends itself to being indoors! Edmonton’s art scene does seem to be growing a bit, which is heartening. People will always welcome you and give you opportunities, and make opportunities for other artists.
What do you think the future has in store for your embroidery?
Right now I love working with textiles, I’d like to do something bigger like a tapestry or a quilt, incorporating painting and embroidery. I’m also looking to participate in more craft markets.
I really enjoy what I’ve been doing and am energized by the idea of a new project. I did one piece that incorporated painting and embroidery, which was really beautiful, but I’m still working on perfecting it. It’s important to me that anything I make is really good quality. Maybe the love for it is in my DNA from my grandmother.
Thanks to Hannah for chatting with us! Watch out for her in the future at more craft markets around the city. You can get in touch with Hannah at email@example.com