110. profile: high stitch

we love gifting (and receiving) handmade items. it's far more special when pieces convey the personality of their maker. that's why we were so excited to discover the work of emily tirella and high stitch. emily takes embroidery hoops and felted patches out of traditional territory by infusing them with just the right amount of attitude and whimsy. we think her pieces make the perfect valentine's day gifts (especially for those looking to literally wear a heart on their sleeve):

what are some unexpected everyday sources of inspiration? 
i source a lot of my inspiration from the world around me. if i'm in a bad mood, i make a cranky embroidery hoop, if i'm feeling happy i make some flowers, if i've been watching a lot of "the simpsons" i embroider lisa. it's almost like a form of journaling or releasing my emotions through art. i always feel better once i finish a project.

what is your favorite time of day to create? 
i love waking up early to create. there's nothing like waking up early without an alarm, getting some coffee brewing and just hanging out and sewing with no distraction or interruptions. i cherish my mornings to myself.

favorite or most inspirational place? 
i do most of my sewing at home. i'm definitely a homebody, i really enjoy staying in and being creative. even if i don't do much all day long i always know that i have been productive and that's very gratifying.

what drew you to stitching and embroidery? 
i have been crafting and creating since i was old enough to do so. i remember trying to start a sewing club when i was in seventh grade, i actually made a pair of pants for my first project. following that i was in a knitting club which met weekly at a friend's house. i drifted from those friends and moved on but i always kept the skills i had learned close to me. i recently picked up sewing again when i was injured and out of commission for a few months. i was feeling angry so i decided to pick up and thread and stitch "go away" on a piece of tan felt. i then cut it out into a circle and stitched that piece on to a piece of purple felt. i had a patch, and then i made another patch and another patch. since then, it's been a daily occurrence, sewing. i have made a banner for peak organic brewing company, i have collaborated with companies and individuals all over the country.

are there any other mediums you like to work in? 
i went to college for photography, so i've always been drawn to the arts. i enjoy doodling mandalas and hand lettering as well as knitting.

would you say that your pieces are a reflection of your personality? 
every piece i make is a direct reflection of myself. stupid puns, food and cactuses.

do clients ever make special requests? 
a lot of my orders are actually custom orders. i'm always open to other peoples' ideas as long as it flows with my general artistic abilities and includes subject matter i'm actually interested in.

how do you see high stitch growing and evolving? 
i'm only one person, so i can really only sew so much. right now i'm still amazed that people are actually interested in the things that i am creating. i am thankful every day for the people who follow me and purchase my creations. i have two shows coming up too! i am participating in the somerville local first valentine's day "market at the armory" on sunday, february 7th, 10am-3pm and the black market at the cambridge community center on february 21st, 11am-5pm.

what is the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given? 
i think the most important piece of advice i've ever received wasn't really advice at all. when someone compliments your work and actually likes it enough to spend their hard earned money, it makes what you're doing seem worth it.

what is the best piece of creative advice you have to give? 
i think a lot of people are losing the arts as a way of expression. they vent all of their frustrations over facebook or twitter rather than channeling it to something productive. it's really important to keep making even if no one is watching.

be sure to check out emily's website, etsy shop and facebook page to stay updated on her newest pieces and upcoming events.

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