Where the cottage life meets the woodland charme – Bumpkin Hill interview
In this world of who shouts the loudest and what shines the brightest, luckily there are places and people we can retreat to when the noise is too much for us. A world of calmness and simplicity. A world where the sounds of nature, of birds, the wind in the tree tops, the water flowing, and the busy sounds of bees and ants are what fills our ears. Nestled in this world is the work of Catherine from Bumpkin Hill. She expresses her ideas in multiple ways like painting, felt and yes, embroidery, too. Let’s take a little walk through the woods and listen to what Catherine answers to my curious questions.
Enjoy the Bumpkin Hill interview!
Hi Catherine, I’m glad to have you here! Could you give us a short introduction so my readers know who you are?
Hi, it’s lovely to meet everyone. I’m a British Artist, Embroidery Designer & Country Bumpkin! I’m a quiet soul that thrives on creativity and being out amongst nature.
When I’m not busy with a paintbrush or needle and thread you will find me in my garden. Nowadays I live in a small rural village in Belgium with my Belgian fiancé. I love to share my inspirations from the countryside and villages here and back in the UK.
How did you find your way to embroidery and when did you decide to create Bumpkin Hill Embroidery?
My Granny & Mum taught me to sew & embroider and always encouraged me to try new crafts. Every card & gift I gave growing up (and still to this day) was handmade, including many embroidered ornaments. For me, creativity has always been about showing I care. I began my Etsy Shop in 2007 with illustrations as Art Prints & Stationery. One day it occurred to me that their pencil outlines would be wonderfully fun to embroider. I wanted others to enjoy stitching as much as I do so I designed easy to follow PDF Patterns & Kits for Embroidery and Felt Ornaments.
Your embroidery pieces are very nature based and minimalistic. Can you tell us a little bit about the process that goes into designing your embroidery patterns?
I love vintage illustrations with their fine outlines. You can see this storybook influence in many of my embroidery & ornament designs that work so sweetly for all young at heart!
I also love to paint loose, flowing watercolours inspired by nature and have recently started to combine these with my embroidery in Kits. My community have loved these, being able to stitch as much or as little as they fancy, following guidelines or just being free. I’m excited to be launching more Kits in this painterly style over the next month.
As for my process, my heart has always been drawn to capturing the magical, fleeting moments in nature through art and photography. These spark ideas in my mind which I then sketch until I develop a piece that I feel would stitch nicely and convey a certain feeling. I then always stitch them myself, making adjustments as I go until it is just right for my customers to enjoy. It is important that my Patterns are relaxing to follow so I spend considerable time creating the guides and instructions.
Many embroidery people are struggling with storing their embroidery threads. What’s your system – or non-system?
As you can imagine I have collected a lot of threads over the years! I used to keep them in a rather creative jumbled way in a basket! However nowadays it is all much calmer, organised into special boxes in colour sections and any used threads are wrapped around cardboard bobbins with the codes written on them.
What is your favorite part of the embroidery process from start to finish and which do you like the least?
I love designing them and choosing the colours. I find the first few stitches exciting, a new beginning each time. As I progress I find it a very calming craft. There are times when I am halfway through that I get a bit impatient wanting it to be finished so I can also let my lovely community stitch it. However, this is a good practice to just slow down, relax and not force the pace. Embroidery can teach us a lot!
Which embroidery project was the most challenging one you have ever done?
Quite a few years ago I embroidered a huge panda in a landscape from a crewelwork tapestry kit. It took me a few years to finish but now hangs proudly in my craft room. It reminds me to keep going!
There are so many embroidery techniques and materials out there. What would you love to try out one day that you haven’t done yet?
I have dabbled in so many crafts over my life but at Art College, I loved creating wet felt pieces and then machine embroidering over the top so fancy trying that again one day.
What piece of advice would you give to your younger self who has just started embroidering that you wish you had known back then?
Don’t worry about making a mistake, just start. It really does not matter if a line is a bit more wonky than you wanted or one stitch is longer than another. This really, truly, just adds to the beauty of each piece. Be gentle on yourself and just enjoy creating.
Thank you for taking the time answering my questions! Where can we find you to see more of your work?
Thank you, Anne, it’s been fun to chat.
You can download a free Embroidery Pattern & Stitch Guide & watch video tutorials at — www.bumpkinhill.com
Patterns, Kits & Prints available from — www.bumpkinhill.etsy.com
Join in the country living fun at — www.instagram.com/bumpkinhill
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