On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about embroidery with my guest, Rebecca Ringquist.
Rebecca is a Brooklyn-based visual artist and designer. Approaching the technique of embroidery as a way of drawing, Rebecca has taught hundreds of people new ways of making marks on fabric with thread. Rebecca has a design company called Dropcloth where she sells hand drawn designs and samplers that are pre-printed as embroidery patterns, ready to hoop and sew. Rebecca earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she subsequently taught for seven years. She now teaches, lectures and exhibits internationally.
Rebecca’s first book is coming out this month. It’s called Rebecca Ringquist’s Embroidery Workshops, A Bend the Rules Primer and is published by STC/Melanie Falick Books. This book is unlike almost any other embroidery book I’ve encountered. Rebecca’s embroidery technique involves layers of color and texture. She encourages you to take vintage textiles that have already been embroidered and embroider on top of them. Instead of starting with a white ground, Rebecca often begins with patterned fabrics or ribbons and creates a secondary drawing over top. “More is more. That’s my aesthetic,” she says. The book comes with one of Rebecca’s pre-printed Dropcloth samplers. It’s a new design and it feels like a gift, making this book truly special.
In her work Rebecca walks the line between art and craft. She creates fine art for galleries (including a show up now at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles and one going up soon at the Museum Rejswijk in the Netherlands). She also creates samplers and teaches shorter workshops aimed at crafters. I admire the ways she has a foot in both worlds and is totally comfortable with that.
In our conversation we talk about:
- Rebecca’s efforts to change embroidery’s reputation from uptight to free
- Which is better, Perle cotton or 6-ply embroidery floss?
- How Rebecca prints her Dropcloth samplers and how outsourcing the screenprinting allowed her business to thrive creatively and to become more profitable
- Managing subscription clubs via an Etsy shop (Rebecca has several embroidery sampler subscription clubs and her online shop is on Etsy)
- How to use Instagram hashtags to create a community of customers
- The ways in which Rebecca’s online classes at Creativebug enhance and support the sales of her Dropcloth samplers
The original Dropcloth sampler
And, of course, I ask Rebecca to recommend things she’s enjoying right now. Rebecca recommends:
We also refer to:
Follow Rebecca on Instagram where she you can get a glimpse of what she’s working on today.
You can listen to the show right here on my blog by clicking on the arrow below, or subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher (great for Android or listening on a Kindle). If you enjoy the show, tell a friend about it! Thank you so much.