Meet Stephanie, a versatile artist from Brittany, France.
Stephanie had always been attracted by arts and crafts - her mum and dad were crafters too. She went on and studied plastic arts and philosophy, but also worked in fashion luxury stores for almost 10 years. In 2011 she had her first child and decided to stay at home with the baby. In 2013 her second child was born. During her time at home with the children, Stephanie got further interested of crocheting, knitting, embroidery and sewing. "Everything was an opportunity to do something with my hands", she says. Finally she and her husband decided that she would stay at home and try to transform her artistic passions into a job.
How (and when) did you get into punch needle rug hooking?
I began to punch last summer. In the beginning I was not attracted by that technique. But it was simply because I didn't know what it was about. Then I discovered the beautiful designs of @Yellowspool, and her rugs particularly interested me. I was looking for a technique to make rugs myself and I immediately fell in love with her work and its intricate patterns. One thing was leading to another, I discover other inspiring punchers, and decided to learn the process of punch needle embroidery myself.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I'm very influenced by graphic design, Memphis style, signs and symbols. Contemporary paintings, illustration and fibers artists ( Jean Lurçat's tapestries, Calder hooked rugs or Jean Cocteau's drawings ) are also an inspiration for me. And of course, nature, and my immediate environment such as my daughter's drawings!
What has your learning curve been like?
When I want to learn a new technique, I firstly try some simple things as a test. Then I make all the research I can do on the internet (videos, blogs, social medias etc ) or even in books and magazines if it is possible. It's like an immersion. I want to know everything about it! Then I begin to work seriously. I try all that goes through my head, and I very quickly want to move on to more complicated patterns and designs. However, punch needle is much simpler than crochet or knitting for example, so the learning was very easy.
How has your work evolved over time?
I quickly felt that I wanted to do more complicated and detailed designs, so I used several punch needle sizes, added textures, mixed techniques such as embroidery or latch hooking to bring some variety and richness to my works. I would also like to do bigger pieces, and make other things than only cushions... But it requires time and reflexion, trial and error, it's a long creating process because I'm quite a perfectionist and exigent person.
What does your workspace look like? What are the essentials that you need?
Well, I have a studio in my basement, but it's a little bit too dark so I prefer working there in the evening time, when it's natural to put the light on. Honestly my everyday work space is just a comfortable armchair in my living room!! I keep all my punch needles, sharp scissors (that's all you need girls! ) and my yarn at hand, in pouches or baskets to be organized, but most of the time it's a real mess! My husband is very understanding, even if I know that sometimes he is fed up with all my stuff! Actually, the most invasive thing in my work are the wool balls and the frames. For the rest, punch needle work doesn't require a lot of tools and equipments.
What materials do you love most?
I love working with wool yarn of course, with a preference for thin ones, using my #10 fine (bought from @thejoyfulpunch), and my #13 mini Amy Oxford punch needle. I would like to try strips of fabric too. Or everything that flows freely in my needle!
What tips do you have for beginners? What do you wish you’d known when you started punching?
Do some simple and easy projects at first, try and try again until the result satisfies you. Never give up! Get inspired by what you see, but find your own style. In fact, punching is very easy and requires very few knowledge. Be careful, it's addictive!
Who or what inspires you? Anyone you follow on instagram?
A lot of things inspire me: fashion, decoration, illustration, fiber artists, nature , yarn, even a feeling! The very inspiring girls I follow on Instagram are @Yellowspool, @rebeccacaridad and @chaumiere.oiseau. There is also @bookhou and @rosepearlman (who was the very first punch needle artist I followed - but mainly for her paintings at the beginning ). But there are so many talented artist that I'm sure I forget!
What’s next for you? Any goals for you and/or your punch needle work?
In my wildest dreams I would earn a living with my work. But for now, I'm just trying to grow my small business on Etsy, to get known and to find a place in the crafters' family. I know that it will take a lot of work and time but I have nothing to loose and everything to gain!