Friday 25 July 2014

Crafty Ladies: Meet Sarah Fordham

Today I'm sharing the first post in a fun new series: Crafty Ladies! Each fortnight, I'll be introducing a new Crafty Lady who'll be chatting about her work and sharing a few crafty tips. I've met so many talented designers and makers over the years, I'm really looking forward to introducing you guys to some of them.

First up: Sarah Fordham, whose excellent book X-Stitch I reviewed earlier this year. Sarah's cross stitch designs - which she sells via her Etsy shop Magasin  - range from the super cute to the slightly sweary and are always so much fun!



My name is Sarah Fordham and I am addicted to cross-stitch and embroidery. I am originally from 'The Garden of England' (aka Kent) but have found myself living in the North for many years now. I now call Manchester my home. Most of my week is spent at my 'day job' which is at a glorious shop called Cath Kidston -  famous for it's floral and quirky prints, it is 'the home of modern vintage' and a very inspiring place to work. As much as I would love to be fully self-employed and sat at home all day stitching I know I would miss the social aspect of my job.

I am known for both my potty-mouth (I'm trying to be better, honest!) and peanut butter KitKat Chunky addiction. Oh, and last year my first book 'X-Stitch' was published, which is probably the only cross-stitch book that has budgies on the front cover.

Recently I’ve been stitching…

... some dinosaur themed badges! I bought some Dinosaur print fabric from my day job on a whim, and doodled on it with a washable pen and then hand embroidered flowers over the top. I made a small batch of these dinosaur doodles into badges and they have sold out already! It's one of those funny things where what you see as a doodle and something a bit silly, everyone else sees as great, I guess. Typically the things I think will be a hit never are!

I’ve been working on… 

... organising some embroidery workshops! My work pal and illustrator Ian Halawi and I have teamed up as Drawing Threads which aims to combine both of our disciplines of drawing and stitching. We hosted our first 'Creative Embroidery' workshop at Manchester's Craft and Design Centre earlier this month. We want to run a series of workshops, and even go around the country to whoever will have us. We also want to set up a regular craft club so we're rather busy brainstorming and planning it all at the moment.

I have also been taking a brief break from cross-stitch and getting back into tapestry again. I am LOVING it! I did a lot of it during my time at university where I first taught myself. This time around I have made a largescale Devo themed piece and I've started planning a Bill Murray / Steve Zissou themed pattern as he looks just like sailor-themed pre-printed tapestries you can buy. The only problem is that my Devo piece has joined my pile of 'needs to be finished' pieces and I haven't had the time to start my Steve Zissou piece yet!


I’ve been blogging about…

Well, I have a confession... I set up '' recently and I STILL haven't got around to making it look pretty and writing on it yet. I have just received my copy of 'Mollie Makes Guide to Blogging' through the post today, so I will be digesting all of that tonight! If you have faith that I will get posting soon, do bookmark my blog!

I’ve been reading…

...I am a very lazy reader, but Manchester's City Library has recently had a mega refurb' so I have popped in a couple of times. Recently I got myself a heap of art books from there. I am mainly flicking through a couple about Tracey Emin as I have been contemplating making quilts and wall hangings in a similar applique style to her work.

While I stitch, I've been watching... 

I was recently off work for two solid weeks after having my tonsils yanked out, and I confess I watched the entire collection of The Sopranos in record time! There may have been days where I realised I had watched it back-to-back for 13 HOURS straight (yes, you read that right). Boxsets are great for stitching to – I always go back to My So Called Life too as that's a classic!

I haven't YET made any mafia or Jordan Calatano related pieces yet, but the things I watch and listen to can inspire my stitchery. I made a few Beastie Boys 'Brouhaha' pieces recently which I love! Also, some 'good friend / bad friend' badges inspired by an episode of Girls.


Sarah’s Top Tips for Cross-stitch and Embroidery:

1. Who cares if it's the 'right way' of doing it? Do it your way and only follow the text books so far. I hated cross-stitch when I first tried it as it seemed too much of a headache. As soon as I picked it up again just to play around with, I fell in love with it!

2. Metallic thread is the enemy. It may look nice but it is a bitch to work with. If I dare to go there I like to keep the thread I'm using pretty short as it is bound to snag and snap otherwise!

3.Stitch what YOU want to stitch and don't pay too much attention to what everyone else is doing. I used to get bothered by the odd person copying designs I had made, but now I think, 'what of it?' they weren't able to come up with their own in the first place so they won't be getting very far. Keep improving on what you're doing and most importantly, enjoy it!


Sarah's new website is still in progress, but in the meantime you can find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also follow her new venture Drawing Threads on Facebook and Twitter.

Update: click here to see the other posts in the Crafty Ladies series! 

Please note: the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.


Unknown said...

love that she's not all about doing it "the right way" -- there's much to be said for doing your own thing and it shows! ;)

Unknown said...

Oooo, such a fab post! Your work is fantastic, I loved reading more about you and your creative process Thank you for sharing your tips, too! Chrissie x

Bugs and Fishes said...

La Alicia - totally, you've got to do what works for you! :)