It’s that time of year again folks, the Easter bunny’s just popped to the barber for an extra special tail fluffing and the increasingly large egg shaped confectionery has started calling to us with their chocolaty siren song, (no? you mean that’s just me!), the Easter weekend is fast approaching. So much like the intrepid egg hunters each year I have once again traversed the wild Etsy forests to find yet another talented maker to share with you all, I present for your delectation Stephanie Lemay and her shop ‘Rivulette’.
Stephanie is an artist/maker based in Burlington, Vermont working under the name Rivulette, producing and designing a vast array of beautiful goodies. Everything from luxury yarns and embroidered jewellery to fine art paintings and prints. Traditional craft processes and folk art elements feature strongly in her work, and colour, surface pattern and antique/vintage textiles are a constant source of inspiration. She comes from a family of makers and tinkerers who can be traced all the way back to her great-grandmother’s busy creative hands, a maker of clothes, handbags and meticulous quilts. It was her own mother, a very talented seamstress herself who taught Stephanie to sew when she was 5 or 6. At the age of 14 Stephanie fell in love with hot glass while in high school, studying under Elizabeth Lyons, Brett Pierce and Jeanne Menafo at More Fire Glass Studio in Rochester, New York. In 2005 she graduated with a BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, with concentrations in glass and printmaking. When it comes to all important free time she practices Jivamukti yoga and bluegrass banjo, (though she assures me not at the same time), hangs out with friends, cooks, schleps around the Green Mountains with her med. student husband and reads voraciously.
What is your earliest stitching memory?
I remember watching my mother working on cross stitched pictures to hang on our walls. She gave me her first one – a hoop filled with hearts and scrollwork circled in lace. I love it and keep it hung on the wall of my studio. Her work and tastes have evolved over the years and she’s now making freeform stitched felt houses and other wonderful things. My mother’s creativity was certainly inspiring growing up. When I was tiny, I was given a beautiful redwork embroidered quilt that was stitched in 1907 by my great-grandfather while he convalesced. He was only eight years old when he did the embroidery, and what a treasure that quilt is! I remember admiring it and spreading it out on my bed or on the living room floor to look closely at the designs he made as a child. It really captivated me, and still does!
What fires your imagination?
I get so excited when I look at textile works done by people long ago- I like to imagine what their lives were like and how many evenings spent by candlelight it took to complete their labors of love. I collect antique quilts and spend hours studying them and learning about how they were made. I feel it’s such a shame that most products out there in the world today are made without care and only for profit. I long for a world where that’s not the case, where things are made with intention and the makers’ works are vital to society and culture. One of my favorite things is to go to the library and get a huge stack of books about needlecraft, art and design and soak up as much visual inspiration as I can. This really fuels my creativity. I’m lucky that I’m a person who has more ideas than time…I’ve seen a quote online that goes something like “my brain has too many tabs open” and I can totally relate to that. I’m also inspired by vintage clothing and design, especially 1920s drop waist dresses, cloche hats, and 1950s aprons and housedresses. Going to flea markets is one of my favorite things. I’m always looking for antique packaging tins, embroidered textiles, old quilts, and interesting jewelry.
As always folks there is oh so much more lovely work to take a peek at in her shop so please make sure to head on over and check it all out!
Jessica Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins is a Textile Artist and Illustrator based by the sea in Portsmouth. At her happiest with a needle and thread, with a passion for genealogy she often explores old photographs in her textile art. With her fingers in many creative pies she loves to experiment with new techniques, creating illustrated and stitched goodies for her new Etsy shop.