Welcome to Shop Stories! In this series of weekly blog posts Etsy Originals will be quizzing some of the most talented & famous small shop owners and Instagram super stars to find out exactly what makes them tick. Make sure you follow this blog to ensure you never miss out!
This week, we spend time with the incredibly talented Chloe Giordano who has risen to become one of Instagram top embroidery artists, with a loyal following of nearly 100k users. Keep reading below and it’s easy to see why Chloe has become so popular since taking to stitching six years ago. In this article, we’ll ask Chloe about her background, her creative process as well as any top tips for budding embroidery artists.
Hi Chloe, welcome to Etsy Originals! Please tell me a little about you, your background, what you do and how you got started?
Originally from Buckinghamshire, I now live in Oxford. I graduated from the University of the West of England in 2011 with a degree in Illustration, and have spent the last few years developing my embroidery work into the form it currently takes. I didn’t start stitching until my last year of university, and had no previous experience with needlework so I had to spend a lot of time experimenting with my technique and trying different things out until I hit on a method that I really enjoyed, and that captured my previous experience with pencil and paint work. I now work full time as an embroidery artist and have created work for book and album covers, as well as selling original pieces and a range of prints and cards through my Etsy shop.
Tell me more about your creative process & inspirations – how do you come up with your design ideas?
Most of my work is inspired by the natural world so I have a lot of nature guides and books on natural history which are a great source of inspiration, and I’m also captivated by the beautiful nature I see around me in Oxfordshire. I keep a sketchbook where I’m always drawing out ideas and doodling things that interest me. When I want to start a new embroidery I flick through these until I find an idea that I like. Once I’ve picked a subject I’ll do more sketches, often a few from references so I can get a feel for whatever I’m going to do, and then combine everything into a detailed final drawing that I then work from for the embroidery. Normally what I’m looking for in this final drawing is a strong silhouette first and foremost, and then add detail into that.
When embroidering I normally start at one point (the nose for animals) and will then work my through the figure in a solid block, packing the stitches tightly together but trying not to overlap them. There’s no way to unpick this way of working so I’m always keeping a close eye on my original drawing and making sure the embroidery is going in the right direction.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge with your craft business?
I had no background in embroidery or any kind of crafts (I worked in pencil and oil paints for most of my degree) so I did feel like I had a lot of catching up to do for the first couple of years before I had a solid body of work to put out. It took me a while to find where my work would fit in and what sort of audience would be interested, and it was disheartening at first, but I’m very happy with where I am now.
What advice would you give to Etsy Originals readers about running a successful craft business?
For me, an important step was deciding that I didn’t want to be running a production line of products (although that’s not going to be the best step for everyone!) and would rather throw my energy into creating detailed one off pieces. I think it’s very tempting to see what others are doing and try to squeeze your work into the same box, but it’s going to be hard to keep up enthusiasm if you’re not doing what you enjoy the most.
I also gained a lot from looking at what similar artists are doing and making sure that I’m keeping up with them on making good quality items and displaying them well, I think this kind of comparison is a very positive thing and always pushes me to constantly evaluate what I’m doing and improve.
I’m rigorously organised and while that isn’t for everyone, I’ve found it makes running a small business much easier and less daunting when I feel I’m on top of everything. I keep a diary and will write down what I want to achieve every day, which I manage to do most of the time!
If you’d like to see more of Chloe’s work, you can do so by following her here:
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