Mallory Bailey from Richmond, Virginia is a self-taught embroidery artist with a sense of humour.
How did you get into embroidery?
I have always loved creating. When I was younger I loved fashion design and drawing. The older I got, the more I was looking for a creative outlet that allowed me to grow and learn. Embroidery kind of fell into my lap. I saw a hoop on Instagram and within a few hours I was at my nearest craft store buying hoops and floss and it just took off from there. For now I mostly stick with cotton, linen and canvas textiles for my current work. I am interested in growing to work with wool and felt. Maybe even silk flowers.
How do you start a new piece of work?
It always starts with an idea. Something that pops in to my head or something I’ve seen that gives me inspiration. I always sit down with my light box and pencils/pens and start drawing. After that I always trace the design onto fabric. After, I pick out the colours. Which is sometimes the hardest part. I tend to pick more vibrant colours but I’m learning to dial it down a bit. (Maybe, haha)
Where do you get your supplies from?
I always get my fabric from Joanns, whether it be online, or in the store. If I’m there, I scoop up ALLLL of the Darice hoops I can possibly find. I try to order my hoops in bulk online from Consumer Crafts. If I know what colours of floss I want, I will order directly from the DMC website. If I don’t know what colours I want to use, I will go to Michael’s to dive into the floss aisle.
Do you only make samples or do you apply them onto something like clothes or interiors for example?
I’ve been interested in adding some embroidery to pillows or shirts, I’m still a little new to embroidery so I will get there slowly!
How do you think people perceive textiles?
I think creative souls see them as something to create with. To aid in their creative process. I know even for me, some textiles scare me. I’ve seen several embroidery artists use textiles that I don’t know that I ever could, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t try them. I think everyone should be opening to expanding their current craft and push the boundaries. That’s usually how the most amazing things are made.
What’s your day job, do you work in textiles full time?
I WISH!!! I am an office manager for a local Electrical Testing company. (Yes, it is as boring as it sounds)
How do you feel promoting your work on social media? Do you ever feel nervous or worried people won’t like it?
ABSOLUTELY. I am always nervous before I post something. I was nervous when I started my Etsy shop! I am still nervous every single time I post a new hoop or design idea. I have found the Instagram community of makers to be one of the most amazing places I’ve ever found. Everyone is so kind and helpful, it feels like a big family of people you’ve never met.
What textiles, crafts or art books would you recommend and why?
I’m the worst because I don’t have an answer for this!!
Lastly what do you love about embroidery?
I love being able to create something that someone can cherish in their homes forever. Something that I can make with my hands for someone else. I love the freedom I have to create. Even when a hoop is going terribly wrong, it just means that I am learning and growing. I love that I can look back and see how far I’ve come. I only started embroidery in February of 2017 and I am self-taught. I hope that I can continue doing this for as long as possible.