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The Finishing Touch

        It has been an exciting week here in the Studio. I built a couple of bookshelves for the goods and canvases galore are out the door for stitchers all over the US! In fact, one Veuve canvas in particular will be spending a semester abroad in Paris! If only we could all hop on that wagon, amirite? I definitely did not design as much as I would have liked to, but a girl can dream.
        These four projects are off at the finishers via In Stitches Fine Needlepoint in Dorset, Vermont so Maria, my guru, can once again, save the day. Let's just say I was a little too optimistic in getting them stitched before the Holiday deadline.... As much as I love the process of sketching, painting and stitching, for me, designing the finishing is the favorite part. 
        As I borderline huff lavender essential oils each night in effort to try to fall asleep (I blame my recent love for coffee), my brain is filled in equal measure of both, "how can I help save the world from inevitable destruction???" and "how should I finish my 8 million needlepoint projects?" Needless to say, I am a twenty-five year old night owl with a doomsday complex and a keen appreciation for well-executed design. We'll focus on the design part, don't worry.
Velvet, silk, suede, silhouette, wool, texture, tortoise shell...  Ooooooo what about a lucite tray?!
        While I would love to fill a chateau with thousands of bespoke pillows, as a wantrepreneur of a millennial, there are only so many pillows I can get away with in my tiny urban apartment. Especially considering the fact that I live with three dudes. Chances are, most twenty-somethings are in the same position, minus the dudes... Studies and experience for that matter show that peers are forward thinking when it comes to their purchases. Whether people value carbon footprints, fair trade or down right quality, consumers are asking more questions and putting a little bit more thought when it comes to spending their hard-earned cash. Fewer things. Higher quality. Living spaces are getting smaller and people are getting out more. Think of the Tiny House Mentality. Keep less, do more. It is a way of thinking that I was always taught growing up, however, didn't appreciate until I found myself living out of a suitcase abroad or moving every six months. Consumers are getting smarter and now in larger practices, this form of patronage is reshaping various industries.
        As a result, I make every effort to think outside of the box when it comes to designing. I find those who are new to needlepoint often ask, "What do I do with them when I'm finished stitching?" This ultimately makes me ask myself, "How do I engage a generation that is Gorilla Glued to technology?" In a world familiar with the classic pillows, belts and coasters, I think about camera straps, guitar straps, clutches, passport cases, iPad cases, and with the newly transformed marijuana landscape, *cough* gorgeous rolling trays *cough.* Functional pieces that can be stored when not in use or shown off on a night out with friends.  One client's son loves to play guitar so I recommended that she turn the Purple Haze Jimi Hendrix design she stitched into a little pouch for him to keep his picks in his case. Voila! A handmade gift that is more "dope" than it is "dorky". 
        I tend to be partial towards clean silhouettes and texture. Bobby, a beloved rescue pup of a dear family friend and talented interior designer has an extraordinary sense for fabrics. His favorites? We are convinced that he is happiest when napping on either velvet or cashmere. Cashmere is best used as a throw or sweater so I often request velvet for my needlepoint treasures. I tend to lean towards solid velvets, calming damasks, golden leather or Moroccan patterns.  
        Another solution falls in line with the "gallery wall" trend. Gone are the days of string, levers and chalk. Mix it up, pump up the color and best leave about three inches of space between each piece. While flipping through my mother's coffee book collection, I found a book on well, collections. Although my heart skipped a beat when I landed on the page filled with stacks of my favorite orange boxes, I found a section on a genius flock of framed needlepoints. The book is called Collected: Living With The Things You Love by Fritz Karch and Rebecca Robertson
      Once one has stitched a canvas, the name of the game is Waiting. Unfortunately, in line with slow crafting, one must plan way in advance when it comes to holidays...     
        One of the biggest adjustments to being in this industry is accepting the fact that although autumn has just settled in, for needlepointers, Christmas has already come and gone. With October 1st deadlines looming over stitchers' heads like that awkward mistletoe in every doorway at a holiday Christmas party, we scramble and stitch with power buns atop our heads and cups of caffeine within reaching distance.
        Some of us head into needlepoint battle with as much preparation as Tom Brady for a Superbowl. Those like me, however, might as well drop our ice cream off the cone as soon as we leave the shoppe. Bonus points if the threads you spent three hours searching for happened to be attached the back of your leggings...
        Many of my close friends have forgone the 9-5 and live on the other side of the world, or at least have plans to in the near future. Long plane rides or spontaneous layovers can be a drag. When you throw needlepoint into the mix, you'll be asking, "Wait, we're already boarding? Let me finish this thread!" I can feel my eyes start to sparkle when people stop me to ask me about my Lily the Lion clutch in stores, out to dinner or walking down the street. There is such a sense of pride in saying, "I made this and so can you!"
        Needlepoint champions slow fashion. Slow home decor. Straight up slowing it down. It is honoring the past and thinking of the future. It can take a long ass time, but that is beauty of it. This technique has withstood time since before the Egyptians. Before steel needles, people stitched with cactus needles, thorns or bone. If you can write, "you got this!" on a piece of paper, you can stitch a handbag. Plain and simple.
        A friend of mine, who specializes in behavioral psychology said to me, "I love how you can harness all of your negative energy and turn it into something beautiful." Another made me spit out my drink when he called it a "luxurious fidget spinner." Chapin, a friend currently stitching my Biggie Smalls design, likes to think of needlepoint as the "finest form of coloring."Now that is something I can run with.
Okay, folks, it's time to get back to packaging these canvases and brainstorming finishing ideas! I have six more projects on deck to source fabrics.
I hope your day is as fabulous as you!