A bit of a variation on the Edge theme this week.
As you might know, we love Etsy — they’ve really helped revitalise the Craft scene and they’ve just launched their first UK TV advert – check it out! To celebrate, we got the opportunity to interview one of the featured sellers, who just happen to make the most excellent needlepoint kits — POMPOM!
Awesome kits guys, tell me how you got here.
POMPOM Kits was started in 2011 by artist Helena Ben-Zenou and textile designer Daniel Rambaut.
After studying painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, POMPOM s founder/director Helena had a successful career as an artist and academic, but always had a love of all things design, textiles, interiors and in particular needlepoint. She started out by designing and making her own needlepoint projects about 15 years ago, mainly making needlepoint versions of her paintings.
“However I realised that I really wanted to stitch needlepoint projects which were also great as contemporary textile designs: beautiful, highest quality, enjoyable to make, and that would just look great on my sofa. I also realised that if I wanted to stitch kits like this, there was a really good chance there were lots of people like me.”
Dan studied textiles at Middlesex University becoming freelance textile designer selling his contemporary designs both nationally and internationally and also running his own textile-based printing business. In 2011 Dan partnered with Helena as Designer for POMPOM Kits.
Where do you get your inspiration?
All our kits are designed to share our passion for surface pattern, interiors and the hand-crafted. We take our inspiration from Modernist design, graphics and architecture and a contemporary take on textile traditions. We are also influenced by the Slow Movement and the resurgence of interest in creativity and making.
We are aiming to bridge the space between design, needlepoint and interiors. However we develop all our designs with the stitcher in mind and every kit is carefully considered to keep stitchers challenged and engaged in the experience of making.
What do you make of the current world of needlecraft?
We think it is really exciting! There are so many different approaches and ideas out there that there is something in the spectrum for everyone: from the subversive, political and radical, to the traditional, twee and nostalgic. Somewhere amongst it all is our little company POMPOM Kits!
Do you have personal art practices as well as designing for the kits?
Helena has been an artist for (ahem) twenty years and continues with her studio practice albeit in a more limited way. Increasingly though she is finding that needlepoint and needle-based crafts are moving to the forefront of her art practice.
How s Etsy working out for you?
We really love being part of the ETSY community. As makers, it is a great way to reach a national and international audience and to be part of a huge community of people designing and making a diverse and exciting range of items. ETSY are also really active in supporting their sellers: from online seminars and courses, seller communities and events, and most recently a UK TV ad!
We also really enjoyed a recent project where ETSY partnered with the Liberty department store in London. Helena had the unique opportunity to craft-live in a Liberty window, not something I could ever have imagined doing! . We are also looking forward to working closely with ETSY on future projects too
Any pearls of wisdom for aspiring needleworkers?
We believe that needlepoint is a fantastic creative activity to be savoured and enjoyed, where the journey — the process of making — is as important and the finished product. Within our often fast paced, disjointed and throw-away culture, needlepoint and needlecrafts have a critical role in fostering a respect for the tradition of making and an understanding of the value of where and how an object is made
We love that needlepoint is adaptable, offering both contemplative and sociable crafting. We design our kits so that you can concentrate on them totally, think and dream, listen to music, the radio, audio books, or you can chat away as you stitch. You can dip in and out of your project for a long or short time. You can stitch on the train, the bus, in the garden or park, on the sofa, in bed, in your lunch break, in the evenings or during weekends and holidays. There can be great pleasure in taking time for some quiet relaxation and personal creativity before the demands of the day take over, and it is a perfect way to complete a day
I really like these kits — it’s great to see a fresh set of needlepoint designs and I’d like to thank Etsy for sharing their work with me. If you’ve got someone who likes a bit of needlepoint, these kits are an ideal present. Visit POMPOM’s Etsy store to make your purchase!
The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the contemporary embroidered art book curated by Jamie Chalmers. Featuring 30 textile-based artists from around the world, it’s a must have for needlework fans.