How did you start designing cross stitch?
I have always loved to stitch. When I was younger, my grandmother taught me to cross stitch (stamped, of course!). I remember walking to the local five-and-dime with a friend in the summer and we would relish standing at the display of embroidery floss in all its many colors and we would pick our favorite skeins to buy. When we got home, we designed our own flowers (lazy Daisy stitches!) and patterns on embroidery cloth. My design sense must go back to those days!
In 1985, after the death of my newborn son Matthew, I was in need of something to keep me occupied while home from work. It was then that my stitching became an obsession-- my therapy. God only knows how many Christmas ornaments I stitched that autumn!
In 1991, I entered and won a design-a-heart contest sponsored by Classic Cross Stitch magazine. The $100 prize encouraged me to try my hand at designing cross stitch and submitting my designs for publication in national magazines. After remarkable good luck in getting a number of designs published, I was encouraged by a number of people in the industry to publish my designs in leaflet form. Heart in Hand Needleart was born!
Where do you get your ideas?
I guess I've always been an "idea person." In college I competed in Forensics (speech) tournaments and was always in search of a fresh topic for a new speech or a select piece of literature for oral interpretation. After college, I worked in television news and was the Assignment Editor at the Cincinnati, OH ABC-TV affiliate. As Assignment Editor, I was responsible for the daily activities of 50-60 reporters and photographers which included coming up with fresh story ideas day after day.
Maybe those experiences prepared me for the constant search for new cross stitch design ideas! I keep an eye on design trends in clothing, furniture, home decor and watch for hot colors as each season progresses. All of these things play a part in designing cross stitch. For example, I went to an arts and crafts show and noticed that everyone was buying vegetables and fruits -- made out of wood, boiled wool, patchwork fabrics, you name it! It was then that I decided immediately to do Wee Fruits and Wee Vegetables. In fact, Wee Vegetables was probably stitched within a week of that arts and crafts show! Inspiration strikes in unlikely places!
What is your educational background?
I have a Bachelors degree in Mass Communications from Miami University in Oxford, OH. After college, I worked in television news for six years, then worked as an editor in a publishing house for six more years before striking out on my own with Heart in Hand Needleart! I thought working at home would give me more time with my daughters, Elise and Allison. Little did I know how this business would engulf our lives!
How did you create your logo?
I have long admired the traditional "heart in hand" or "heart and hand" folk symbol, both for its simplicity and its message: "Hands to work, hearts to God." The image is a well known symbol of the Shakers.
I added the word "needleart" as that is an exact description of how I view my role as a designer. I strive to combine the traditional art of cross stitch with innovative ideas to create works of needleart.
Next I turned my concept and preliminary sketches over to my graphic artist, who is also responsible for Heart in Hand's chart layouts. Working together, we refined her inital designs. The result is the final unique logo you now associate with Heart in Hand Needleart.