Written by: Hannah Siemer | February 02, 2021
There’s very little embroiderer Lindsay Andrew, AKA Lindsay Stitches, hasn’t stitched. From Bubble O’Bill, to Julia Gillard, to dogs, cars and houses, Lindsay’s pieces are as varied as they are vibrant. In 2020, Lindsay stitched one image every day onto a single embroidery hoop. See it for yourself at the Cannery Arts Centre’s Art of Isolation exhibition, on display until February 14.
When did you first try your hand at embroidery? Why did it appeal to you?
The first time I did embroidery was in my year 11 sewing class – we had to make a cover for our journal and I stitched my name on mine. I did things here and there over the next few years but didn’t start stitching regularly until around 2013. I’m not sure anything specifically appealed to me at the time, I was trying out a few different creative projects and somehow embroidery just stuck! But I think the reason it still appeals to me now is that I can stitch almost anything and it looks kind of impressive? I could draw or paint an identical image and it just wouldn’t have the same impact!
Why do you think it has grown in popularity amongst younger artists in recent years?
I find that traditional embroidery can be quite daunting to look at and learn, because it is so intricate and delicate with a lot of different techniques and fancy stitches. I haven’t got that kind of patience, so my embroidery is less about the technical side and more about making something super simple that might be relatable, memorable or funny for my customers. There is such a diverse range of styles in modern embroidery, from super-realistic animal portraits to abstract art (and even memes!), which I think is why it has become more attractive to a younger audience.
You’ve stitched many different objects and themes. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Literally everywhere. I have so many ideas pop into my head daily, from things I see in nature, buildings I love or cafes I visit a lot (hello Downtown Espresso), TV and movie scenes and quotes, and even news headlines. It’s never ending!
What’s your favourite thing to stitch?
If I had to choose one thing, it would be houses and buildings. The first house that I stitched was a little cottage built in 1841 that I lived in for a few years in Launceston. The house and the time I spent there are so special to me, and I love stitching sentimental pieces for other people to be reminded of their favourite places. But really, any idea that comes to me and makes me drop everything because I MUST start stitching immediately is such a thrill!
Tell us about your 2020 hoop. Explain what it is, how it came about, and how you managed to persevere!
My 2020 hoop is a 200mm embroidery hoop with 366 tiny little pictures stitched onto it, each representing something I did or something that happened on every day of the year. I think I came across the idea on Instagram in the last days of 2019 when people were sharing their completed projects for that year, and I decided I had to do one myself! I posted the first picture of it on Instagram on January 1, and then shared a picture of it at the end of each month to update my followers and keep myself accountable. It was definitely hard to keep up at times, I wasn’t always doing exciting things so coming up with something to stitch every day was a challenge. I was almost always behind (21 days behind was my record!), but knowing that a lot of people were following along with the project gave me the motivation to get it done.
What was the first thing you stitched on your hoop, and what was the last?
I was camping on the west coast of Tassie with my boyfriend Josh and our sausage dog Moseby for the 2020 new year, so the first thing I stitched on my hoop was our rooftop tent. We were camping again for the 2021 new year (just 4000km further west) and I was going to stitch our swag as we had basically come full circle from the start of the year, but I decided to be a little self-indulgent and stitch a picture of myself. I think I earned it!
Are you doing a 2021 hoop? Do you have any other projects planned for this year?
Without any idea of how 2020 would pan out back in January, it quickly became the perfect year to complete this project and I just don’t think it could be topped! So, I won’t be doing the same concept in 2021, but I am doing another year-long project. It will be a bit of a take on a phenology wheel, and I’ll be offering beginner embroidery kits and patterns for purchase so you can follow along throughout the year.
Embroidery seems painstaking. You must have a tonne of patience! How long does the average piece take?
It can be! Some small things can take me less than an hour while bigger, more detailed pieces can take 20 hours or more. I would say the average is around 8-10 hours. The real patience comes in when you choose the colour for a house embroidery in bad lighting, and realise too late that it’s completely wrong and you have to start all over again…
You’ve stitched in some pretty cool places. Which has been your favourite?
I visited and stitched in a lot of new places in 2020 and they were all pretty amazing, but Gnomesville was truly a highlight.
You’re originally from Tasmania. How did you come to be in Esperance?
My boyfriend is the project manager on the construction of the new jetty, so we had planned to drive over here with our dog and our things before the project started, but COVID had other ideas! In early April, Josh was already in Esperance and couldn’t get back to Tassie, so I ended up flying over very spontaneously to get into WA before the border closed. We were hoping it’d only be a month or so before we could go home and get our four-legged family member, but nine months later we’re still waiting for a clear run of border openings to get him and our car across the Nullarbor!
What’s your favourite thing to do/place to go in Esperance? Fave local thing/s to stitch?
I have really enjoyed walking parts of the Great Ocean Trail and seeing dolphins and whales in the water. I love getting coffee from Downtown or Coffee Cat and sitting at the park or the beach to stitch or read. But most of all, I love getting roti from Sri Lankan Taste at the markets, or cinnamon buns from Bread Local, both of which are absolutely life changing. I have a few things on my Esperance-things-to-stitch list. I’ve just finished stitching one of the A-frame cabins at Esperance Chalet Village, and I really want to stitch an aerial image of Lake Hillier!
What can we find you doing when you’re not stitching?
I’m doing a Bachelor of Business online at the moment, so a lot of my time is spent at home studying. My mountain bike arrived from Tassie recently so I’ve been out riding a bit and trying to learn how to do a wheelie, and I can often be spotted scouring the op shops (especially ECS on $12-a-bag day)!
Other than embroidery, do you have any other creative outlets?
I have a watercolour kit from my friend Ruby Tuesday Art, so I occasionally dabble in some painting while watching her YouTube videos. And I have very limited experience in knitting, but I’d love to knit myself a jumper for winter!
Lastly, tell us where we can find your work!
To see a bunch of my work all in one place, you can find me at lindsaystitches.com or on Instagram @lindsay_stitches. If you want to see some work in real life, my 2020 hoop is in The Art of Isolation Exhibition at Cannery Arts Centre until Feb 14, or you can spot my embroidery of Downtown Espresso on the wall in the café!
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