你什麼時候和為什麼開始刺繡?

When and why did you start doing embroidery?

我的祖母教我編織,但我第一次繡是在我的初中的那年。那時候我在英國上學,班上有家政的課堂。我還記得我的老師說我很幸運地擁有很靈活的手指,如果我堅持下去,必定可以造出很好的刺繡及針線手工。當然,因為隨著青春期和與男孩的所有麻煩,我沒有繼續進行針線。我的人生在20多歲前還沒有定下來,直至我重新執起針和線,我才發覺原來自己十分享受刺繡的過程。刺繡讓我感到恬靜悠閒。我早該在那混沌的青春時期進行刺繡。

My grandmother taught me to knit but I first embroidered when I was in my 1st year of middle school.  Back in those days, schools in England had classes that would teach craft and cooking.  I remember that my teacher said I was lucky because I had very nimble fingers and I could become really good at needlework if I kept up with it.  Of course I didn’t keep up with it because along came adolescence and boys and all the troubles of being a teenager. 

Life didn’t really settle down until I was in my late 20’s and that’s when I picked up the needle and thread again.  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed working with them.  Embroidering creates a sense of calm I really could have used during those troubled years!

 

有誰影響或啟發了你發展至現在的工作生涯?

Did you got influenced or inspired by someone on your present development of career path?

很多很多人。今天刺繡的世界當中充滿了這麼多有才華和想像力的藝術家。這以往被視為工藝的,特別是刺繡,被認為只是老太太會做的事。幸運的是,那些老太太會繼續教授下一代。現在我們擁有一個充滿刺繡藝術品的世界,都是非傳統、有趣和美麗的。與這些有才華的人同在一個領域,可以令你變得更有創造力。最影響我的人有:Salley Mavor—她輪廓分明的刺繡似乎不可能造得出來;Ruth Miller—她繡的肖像是令人難以置信的;Terese Agnew —看看她用了30 000件衣服標籤而造出紡織工人肖像的被子,再嘗試告訴我它不會你驚訝無言。我可以列出數百位其他刺繡藝術家,事實上我也有做到!在我Instagram的帳戶上,我每逢星期五都會介紹我的追隨者一位新的、有才幹的刺繡藝術家。

Many, many, many people.  The embroidery world today is filled with so many talented and imaginative artists.  It used to be that craft, and embroidery in particular was considered something just for old ladies.  Fortunately those old ladies continued to teach the next generation and now we have a world filled with embroidered artwork that is non-traditional and fun and so beautiful.   Being in a pool with such talent inspires you to be more creative.

The people who I have been most influence by are: Salley Mavor – her relief embroidery seems impossible, Ruth Miller – her embroidered portraits are incredible and Terese Agnew – just look at her quilt of Portrait of a Textile worker, made from 30 000 clothes tags and tell me it doesn’t blow your mind.

I could list hundreds of others and in fact I do!  On my Instagram account, every Friday I introduce my followers to a new talented embroidery artist.

你最滿意的作品是哪一件?

Which work were you most satisfied with?

真像蘇菲的選擇!我的作品當中都有著我自豪的東西,因此很難選擇。一件我為朋友付出了最大的努力的作品—我稱之為Katherine’s Carousel。這是Katherine送給她兩位女兒的禮物。她要求我在刺繡一個在New Orleans,她帶她的女兒遊玩的旋轉木馬,這是她們最喜歡的地方。這是我面積最大的一塊作品,尺寸為22英寸乘18英寸,花了我約3個月的時間。它包含了各種針步,包括最普通的到更精緻的金色針步。這帶給了我很多樂趣。

That’s like Sophie’s Choice!  It’s hard to choose because they all have something I’m proud of.  The one I put most effort into was a piece for a friend of mine – I called it Katherine’s Carousel.  It was a gift from Katherine to her two daughters.  She asked me to entirely embroider a portrait of the carousel in New Orleans where she takes her daughters.  It’s their favorite place to be.  It was my largest piece measuring at 22 inches by 18 inches and took me about 3 months to make.  It included all kinds of stitches from normal surface stitches to more elaborate gold work stitches.  It was a lot of fun to make.

 

剛開始你的品牌時,你想向觀眾展示什麼樣的感覺或風格?

What feelings or styles you wanted to show the audiences when you first started the projects?

這取決於作品的要求。當我與客戶合作時,我們都會談論(或電子郵件)一段很長的時間,以便他們能告訴我他們想在他們的作品上傳達些什麼。這通常都是一段快樂的記憶或一個他們想要每天都能提醒著自己的課堂。有時候,特別是我刺繡的房子,人們只是想紀念快樂的「家」的感覺。至於我自己的作品方面,我非常喜歡家居、大自然和鮮花的主題。

It depends on the piece.  When I’m working with a customer, we talk (or email) for a long time so they can tell me what they want their piece to convey.  Often it is a happy memory or a lesson they want to be reminded of everyday.  Sometimes - especially with the houses I embroider, people just want to commemorate the happy feeling of ‘home’.

For my own pieces, I’m very drawn to themes of home, nature and flowers in particular.

 

你的想法從何而來?

Where did your ideas come from?

我的想法源自於聚焦事物中的細微細節。我喜歡仔細觀察我刺繡的主題,畫出我們都忽略了的小東西,然後再突出它這個特點。我試著思考我會否在以前看過那細節,再試著用試什麼顏色或線段使它更突出。

My ideas come from focusing on the tiny details in-between.  I like to look closely at the subject of my embroidery and draw out the little things that we overlook and then make a feature of it.  I try to consider whether that detail looks like a stitch I may have seen before and what colors or thread will make it stand out.

你日常的工作程序是怎麼樣的?

What is your daily working procedures?

我早上起來會先做瑜伽或打坐,它有助於集中精神和郁動身體,因為我知道我將會在當天坐著工作多個小時。當我喝了我的咖啡或茶後,我會檢查我的電子郵件和一般的電腦工作。接下來我安定下來做刺繡,直到午餐時間。然後繼續工作至下午,我會收拾好再準備新的一天。

I get up in the morning and do yoga or meditate.  It helps to focus the mind and move the body because I know I’ll be sitting still for many hours later in the day.

Once I have my coffee or tea I check my email and do any other quick computer work.

Next I settle down to embroider until lunch time and then again until late afternoon when I clean up and prepare for the next day.

 

你克服了些什麼挑戰?

Have you overcome some challenges?

我工作的細節程度會是一個持續的戰鬥,我需要承擔盡可能最多的委託,同時也需要造出高品質的刺繡。去年,我不得不關閉我的業務,皆因我在工作得太多和太長時間的情況下患上了重複性勞損。我終究決定我不能「完成所有」。我還未準備好要犧牲我的工作的質量或我的風格,以作大規模生產刺繡作品,因此我只剩下減少我製作作品件數的選擇。現在我每年最多只會進行15個委託。我每年會為客戶開放兩次的訂單,並以先到先得的原則,這些名額都會很快被填滿。有些客戶需要等待數個月的時間,但是我們在這段時間裡密切合作,當他們收到作品時,他們都顯得很高興。這種工作方式對我來說更有成效,讓我成為一個進行快樂藝術的快樂繡花者!

With the level of detail that goes into my work, it’s been a constant battle of being able to take on as many commissions as I can but also produce high quality embroidery.  Last year I had to shut down my business because I began suffering Repetitive Strain Injury from working too much for too long.  I finally decided that I couldn’t “do it all”.  I wasn’t prepared to sacrifice the quality of my work or my style in order to mass produce embroidery.  All I was left with was to cut down on the amount of pieces I do.  Now I will only take at most 15 commissions a year.  Twice a year, I have openings for customers which I advertise on a first come first serve basis.  They fill up very quickly and some customers have to wait a few months for their piece but we work together closely during that time and all seem happy when they receive their piece.  This style of working is much more productive for me and a happy embroiderer makes happy art!

 

哪個是你刺繡作品中最難的部分?

Which is the most difficult part in your embroidery creatures?

開始的那一步。我是地球上最糟糕的拖延者,因此要我坐下來開始繡花是我每天面臨著最大的挑戰。

Getting started.  I am the worst procrastinator on the planet so sitting down to embroider is the biggest challenge I will face every day.

哪個是你最享受的部分?

Which is the most enjoyable part to you?

看著自己的工作逐步逐步完成。有時它可能需要很長的時間才可以看起來像它完成時的樣子;它似乎總是缺少一些東西。然後突然會有一天,當你開始感到生氣,並且即將放棄的時候,所有的一切將突然會湊都在一起,看起來很奇妙的。它使一切都變得值得,更美妙的時刻會是當客人收到它時,會與我一樣感到快樂。

Watching the work come together.  Sometimes it can take a long time for the piece to look like it’s supposed to; it always seems like its missing something.  Then one day, when you’re so angry at the work and are just about to give up, it all comes together and looks amazing.  It makes everything worthwhile and it’s especially wonderful when the customer receives it and is just as happy with it as I am.

 

你的工作動機是什麼?

What is your motivation for your work?

我總會感到紡織品、針和線在結合後可以牽動人們情緒十分奇妙。在選擇顏色上,如何可以讓人們有家的感覺,或是令他們說一聲「嘩」都是我一直努力在達到一點。

I am always amazed how fabric, needle and thread are able to culminate from benign objects into something that can illicit emotion.  How the right choice of colors and stitches can turn into an expression of home or make people say “WOW”!  I’m always striving to do that.

你認為你在十年後還在繼續你的品牌嗎?

Would you continue your brand ten years later?

我在我的餘生也會繼續刺繡,但我認為我的品牌會改變、擴大和前往一個我不能預測的方向。沒有什麼能夠保持不變,若果有的話它最終也只會終結。我真的希望我的品牌會成長至一些我能引以為自豪的東西,並且以某種方式影響著其他人。

I’ll continue to embroider for the rest of my life but I think my brand will change and expand and head in directions I can’t predict.  Nothing stays the same, if it does it whither and dies.   I do hope that it grows into something that I’m proud of and that it has influence other people in some way.

 

如果你可以,你會跟十年後的自己說些什麼呢?

If you could, what will you tell your future self in ten years?

我會說,

「你好,老了的自己。嘩你肯定漂亮地成長了!對不起,我帶給了你腕關節炎,但你的工作是了不起的,所以它一定是值得的。」

I’d say, “Hello older self; wow you sure have aged beautifully!   I’m sorry that I gave you wrist arthritis but your work is amazing so it must have been worth it.”

Text/ Jojo Wong
Translate/Jojo Wong

© 2016 by kazy chan