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Interview with Erin Paisley

The newest addition to the Sublime Stitching artists series of embroidery patterns is Erin Paisley. Erin's work has a following all of its own, including me. I've admired Erin's unique work for years: it's romantic and sweet but always a little melancholy. Dewy, wide-eyed girls wrapped in cowls of their own braids, and beautiful, angular woodland creatures that can only be Erin's.

Paul Buckley, the award-winning art director of Penguin Books is also a fan (in this interview with Jillian Tamaki he mentions how Erin's work helped inspire Penguin Threads, the wonderful series of embroidered book covers of literary classics).

A Sublime Stitching pattern collaboration with Erin has been a long time in the making. Erin's a busy mother of two, and an actively working artist. So, what would she do with three days all to herself? What music is she listening to? Let's find out...

When did you start making art? 
I started trying as soon as I realized I could make my mark on paper. I never wanted to do anything else. I remember being very small and thinking that this was it. This was all that I wanted to do for the rest of my well as snuggle babies and small animals. Here I am doing all of those things now, and I still can't think of anything else better to do.   

When did you begin embroidering?
I started embroidering as a teenager, and immediately saw it as another medium for my drawings...but I never actually tried to do anything cool with it until I was in my early 20's. I can't lie, I was totally inspired after seeing your amazing pieces in the early days of Sublime Stitching. They made me remember that twinge of excitement and the feeling of unlimited possibilities that I had when I was just learning. Seeing how well you had done it almost gave me permission to try it out. Or at least it said "See, Erin? This works REALLY WELL. You should give it a try." 

I picked it up every so often, but it wasn't until I had my second child (4 years ago) that I found embroidering a necessity. I was longing to paint, but you can't exactly lay everything out on the dining room table with a toddler and newborn and not expect disaster and tears. Embroidery was the only way I could add color to my drawings without making a huge mess or without worrying about constantly being interrupted. I could pick it up and put it down with ease. The floss wasn't going to dry up. 

Who are your favorite artists?
Richard Scary, Mary Blair, Gyo Fujikawa, Elsa Beskow, Feodor Rojankovsky, Charlie Harper. I'm really into children's picture books. I have too many contemporaries that I could go on and on about, but I'll stop with these masters that have truly inspired me.

Feodor Rojankovsky
When do you most like to work? Evening, morning?
I had always been a night owl, but something about having early bird children really changed all that. I'm dead tired at night, and there's such pretty light to work by in the day. I'm still not a morning person though, so guess I prefer a mid-morning to early afternoon work time...If I have the free time. Most of my ideas come while dreaming or doing other chores, so it's kind of a 24 hour affair. I just start working whenever I get the opportunity. I'm all over the map.  

What music are you into right now?
I am really into Beach House right now. I also have this playlist called "mama's quiet time playlist" which I play all the time and has Camera Obscura, Aphex Twin, and pretty much anything peaceful that was ever in a Sofia Coppola movie, Cat Power, Gillian Welch, Nick Drake, P:ano, etc. 

If you had three days to yourself with no work or obligations, how would you spend it?
I would spend it making something. There is no better way to spend my time than by creating. And I would probably watch a marathon of The Mary Tyler Moore Show while doing so. AAAND I hope there'd be really good food and desserts involved which I didn't have to make myself, so that I wouldn't have to stop working. I'm very much a homebody, and with two little ones, uninterrupted work time seems like paradise to me right now. 

Where can people see your work online and in real-life? 

And I'm always showing my progress on instagram @erinpaisley (also where I'm the most active).

In real-life, all of my work is lining the walls of my dining room or stacked up in various places throughout my house. I'll be in a group show at Milwaukee's very own Hot Pop in December though! 

x - x - x

Thank you so much, Erin! I can't wait to do more Sublime Stitching collabs with you. 


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