The series LOOK WHO MADE IT is designated to create a space where I introduce and interview creative minds that I admire. People that work in the creative field, as Makers and Doers.
When I was starting out as DIY blogger I was looking for fellow bloggers in Germany and Austria. I couldn’t find many back then that I felt were an inspiration. One of the few I found was Kathie Burchard and I’ve been following her blog since a few years now. It had become quiet over there because Kathie found her craft calling: cross stitch portraits. I’m a bit jealous that she found the one thing that she likes to do and when the result are these handmade customized embroidery portraits I’m sure it makes it even more rewarding. Read here how she came up with the idea, what’s her favorite part of her creative business and why she thinks its her dream job.
1 | You make embroidery portraits: what drove you to do so?
Well, I liked all kinds of (needle) crafts ever since I was a child. But the story of my embroidery portraits starts with an anniversary gift. I wanted to make a portrait of my boyfriend and me for our three year anniversary, but I’m not very good at drawing or painting so I ended up making a little pixel portrait. It was pretty cute. Looking at it I realized that the pixels could be easily translated into cross stitches. That’s how my first embroidery portrait was born.
2 | How are you working creatively? Tell me more about your working process.
The whole process of creating my cross stitch portraits is largely influenced by the customers. I’m starting off with photographs, some personal data, outfit and posing ideas, pets and maybe additional items like toys, flowers or musical instruments. In a special computer program for cross stitching, I put everything together and create a first draft, get feedback from the customer, edit it again and then finally, when the customer is happy with the look of the portrait, I get out my boxes with embroidery thread and start stitching the actual embroidery portrait. That is my favorite part of my job!
3 | Where do you get inspiration for the quotes and designs?
Everywhere! My main sources for inspiration are libraries, magazines, craft stores, Pinterest, and all my fellow stitchers around the world!
4 | What’s your favorite thing about embroidery?
There are a lot of things I love about embroidery. I have a background in physics, so the technical part of it is definitely something I enjoy. I also love that I can use my hands and work with textiles and colorful threads. And then, one of my very favorite things is that I can listen to audio books and watch TV while I’m stitching. Best job ever!
5 | Who or what is your biggest influence?
My family and friends are a great influence on my work. They help me decide if an idea is good or bad, how a problem is solved best and really everything I need a second opinion on.
I follow a lot of like-minded stitchers via Instagram and their work and love for modern embroidery has definitely had an influence on my work as well.
6 | What do you love the most about your creative business?
I love that I can work with my hands every day and create these special portraits that people will treasure for many years. I also love that I never have to do anything twice. Every customer/family is different and every portrait tells a different story. It never gets boring.
7 | What were the first steps you took to be where you are today?
My mother and grandmother taught me how to knit, crochet, embroider and the love for needle crafts in general, that has lead me where I am today.
8 | Could you give some practical advice to someone who’s just starting out or considering selling handmade goods?
Just start. Don’t overthink it. If it’s something that you love and that you are passionate about, there’s a good chance, others are as well.
9 | Were there any hardships that you had to overcome? How did you manage to do so?
Time management was a problem at first. Next to my small business I was a full-time student at university with a part-time job. Christmas season nearly killed me! As my business grew, it got harder to find the time to manage all my responsibilities.
But then I finished university and we moved shortly after that. The perfect opportunity to jump in and start stitching full-time!
10 | With what did (do) you struggle the most?
Focus is a problem sometimes. I work from home and there are just so many things that distract me during the day. Like dirty floors or an empty fridge or the possibility of baking a cake and eating it …
11 | What’s next? Any plans for new projects?
I have so many ideas for future projects! What I’m working on right now are more little embroidery kits that are great for beginners and still fun projects for more advanced stitchers. And I think that embroidery supplies would be a great addition to the shop as well.
Now. Carry on!