Since establishing the Mr X Stitch site in 2008, Jamie Chalmers has been showcasing new talent in the world of textiles and stitch and has curated a number of stitch-based exhibitions in the UK and Ireland. He believes in the benefits of stitching, both from a relaxation and a sustainability perspective. We are delighted that he will be running a workshop and a talk at thread on 30th September. Read on to find out more about the Kingpin of Contemporary Embroidery!
Can you tell us some more about your journey to becoming Mr X Stitch?
It started about fifteen years ago when I tried a cross stitch for the first time as an adult. I fell in love with the craft quite quickly, but became frustrated at the lack of designs that appealed to my taste, so I began making my own. In 2008 I started the Mr X Stitch website which evolved into a showcase of contemporary embroidery and since then I’ve been on a mission to change the way people think about embroidery and needlecraft.
Do you dabble in any other textile or artistic practices?
I’ve tried a fair few craft formats, but consider myself more of a designer than an artist (which is a huge debate that we’ll save for another blog). There’s a bit of an irony with all this in that I started Mr X Stitch because I love cross stitch, but the whole enterprise keeps me so busy I rarely get any time for stitching!
When I can I enjoy growing food on my allotment and cooking for my family, but with a new five month old daughter, spare time is becoming increasingly elusive so many of my grand non-work plans are on the back burner for now.
Do you have any tips or suggestions to anyone thinking of starting their own business?
Make sure that you love what you’re doing because you’ll be in it for the long haul. I’ve been running Mr X Stitch for over nine years and it’s only recently that I’ve taken the plunge to do it full time for a living.
However if you love it and every day you wake up happy to be working at it, then you’ve already got success and with a bit of luck that will continue to thrive!
Who and what inspires you in your creative journey?
The world of embroidery and needlecraft inspires me, as each day I see amazing artwork and creativity that makes me proud to be involved in this world. If I can help introduce the craft to people who go on to make terrific textile art, that’s totally worth it. There are so many hugely talented artists in the world of embroidery, and while its a shame that they might not get the recognition they deserve, I’m proud to share their work with people and bask in the reflection of their glory.
We are delighted that you are teaching one of our thread workshops XStitch101. What makes this such a lovely class to take part in? What skills will people head off from the workshop with?
The best thing about cross stitch is that it takes about ten minutes to learn and then you get to spend the remaining time enjoying this meditative, creative practice that makes your soul feel better. By the end of the workshop people will know how to start and stop cross stitch and what to do in the middle, but more than that they’ll get a big dose of inner peace. That’s worth the ticket fee alone!
You are also hosting a talk during the afternoon. What do you get most from public speaking and sharing your enthusiasm for cross stitch?
I love making people smile, making them laugh (on a good day) and introducing them to new embroidered art that they might never have seen before. The presentation I do is packed with amazing art and inspiration and it’s great to see how people respond to the work.
To book a place on Mr X Stitch’s XStitch101 workshop, 1.30pm -2.30pm, click here. A workshop ticket includes day entry to the festival.
thread…a festival of textiles takes place on Saturday 30 September 2017 from 9am to 6pm. A day ticket includes access to the marketplace, talk programme and exhibitions. For £5 advance tickets click here.
About thread: A full listing of marketplace exhibitors, the talk programme and additional information is available at craft.farnhammaltings.com and follow us on Twitter Facebook and Instagram for news and programme updates.