Sewing is a joy and a skill that can be discovered, practiced, and honed at any age. I had the chance to catch up with Sunny Carvalho and Danielle Daniel, two of our artists featured in the current Summer ’12 issue of Sew Somerset.
In Sunny’s article, “Carrying Your Art” (p. 81), she describes the process of fashioning fabric panels from her paintings, and then assembling the panels into a piece of wearable handbag art. She began her sewing journey by watching her mother create her horse riding competition outfits from scratch, not without her share of swearing along the way (which Sunny found quite entertaining), and she recounts that her costumes were comprised of satin, fringe, pearl snaps, and appliqués. “You couldn’t exactly go out to Wal-Mart (which we didn’t even have at that time in my hometown) and buy these costumes!” she said.
She put her sewing expertise into effect when she began making porcelain dolls as a way to stay creative while bringing up her four children. “I have called myself an artist since childhood,” Sunny said, “but had no specific focus. When I became interested in porcelain, a whole new world opened up for me. I could now make these amazing creations that came from liquid. But guess what? They needed clothing!”
Sunny decided to buy an inexpensive sewing machine and dive head-on into the art. “I had to teach myself,” she said, “but I did learn, mostly by trial and error. Today I feel very confident in my abilities. I still find humor in my mother’s sewing experience and, strangely, I just told this story to my teenage daughters only a few days ago!”
Sunny, like other artists, admires the kind of art that one can create with needle and thread. “I never realized that sewing could be an art form before I became familiar with the magazine,” she said. “I am constantly amazed at the inventiveness of the contributing artists and their bravery and talent. I feel so blessed to have become a small part of this publication.”
Danielle Daniel is our cover artist for this issue, and recounts how she discovered her family lineage through her art in her article, “Little Stitched Truths” (p. 76). “Each painted and stitched face has become a way for me to ask questions, go deeper, and sit in a space of stillness where the truth can be heard,” she writes.
Danielle turned to Hollywood as her muse at an early age. “I’m not ashamed to admit that Molly Ringwald piqued my interest in sewing when I was but a teen,” she said. “Sixteen Candles made me want to sew my own clothes. But since then, my mémère has inspired my journey to create with thread. My grandmother never learned to read, but she consistently sewed three jackets for every one of her nine children; one for school, one for church, and one for playing outside. I remember hearing her sewing machine zipping through the night when I slept there as a girl. She mended aprons, night gowns, and tablecloths as I listened until sleep found me.”
Patience is not one of Danielle’s strong suits when it comes to sewing. “I’m one of those people who usually try to build it before even looking at the accompanied handout,” she said. “I’m not one to read instructions. This has everything to do with being impatient and it has always been my M.O., despite my husband’s pleas to first read, then build. This is the same way I approach sewing—no patterns, no rules. I go with the flow like many self-taught artists. I often make mistakes and use my seam ripper more than the average Joe. However, I have come to accept this about myself. It also allows for happy mistakes, which is when the creative magic happens.”
Danielle’s other love is painting, although she is glad that sewing gives her a welcome break from the brush. “[Sewing] allows me a creative freedom without harsh expectations,” she said. “It has become an important part of my artistic journey. Sew Somerset is a stunning magazine. It’s a welcomed addition to the sewing magazine world, because it is without fussy patterns and rules that make me feel like I’m in my eighth grade Home-Ec class, where perfection is the desired outcome. This magazine is filled with artistic projects that encourage you to create outside the box, to take chances, to mix medias, to paint with thread, to sing while you sew, and not fear the art form that so many of our grandmothers relied on to dress their children. I am beyond excited for my work to be on the cover of the summer publication!”
Her words of wisdom to aspiring sewing entrepreneurs: “Forget what your Home-Ec teacher told you, except ‘Don’t run with scissors’–that was good advice.”
Photo credits – Top: Danielle Daniel Middle: Sunny Carvalho Bottom: Danielle Daniel
*Contest is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be chosen at random. Deadline for entries is July 2, 2012.
Update: The winner of this contest is Elizabeth! Congratulations, Elizabeth. We will be in contact with you regarding the details of your prize. Thank you all for participating!
Posted: Monday, June 25th, 2012 @ 9:18 am
Categories: Textile Arts.
Tags: Magazines, Sew Somerset.
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