Celeste Johnston is an American embroidery artist. She creates cheerful and uplifting pieces inspired by the colourful and gentle beauty of wildflowers. Her two books for beginners, Freshly Stitched and Sunny Stitches, are well loved around the world.
How Long Have You Been Stitching For?
I’ve only been stitching for about six years. Once I picked it up, I fell in love and couldn’t put it down! I’ve always loved arts and crafts since I was young and I think somewhere in my childhood I was introduced to different fiber arts that enabled me to pick up embroidery easily.
Do You Have Any Tips For Embroidering Flowers?
When you’re just getting started with embroidering botanicals, stitch direction may not come to mind, but it’s something you can experiment with as your embroidery work naturally advances. I like to observe petals and leaves in real life and try to emulate their natural patterns with my stitch direction.
Often I like to place my satin stitches in a direction so that they radiate out from the center of a flower. For leaves, I like the satin stitches to lay at the same angle as the lines of a leaf might lay. Stitch direction for satin stitch is something that can make a big difference in how your embroidery looks, and can be a fun challenge when your embroidery skills are ready.
If you'd like to read more about stitch direction don't miss the article Why Stitch Direction Matters.
How Did You Learn to Stitch?
I first started just seeing what I could do on my own with a needle and thread, filling in simple shapes with satin stitch. Once I realised how much I enjoyed it, I began reading online about different types of stitches and began to learn how vast the world of embroidery is.
What Are Your Embroidery Essentials? (thread/accessories)
My favorite embroidery supplies are a nice cotton or linen fabric in a soft or muted shade, a size five needle, a heat erasable pen, a pair of sharp gold embroidery snips, and a quality wooden embroidery hoop. I always use DMC embroidery thread, and right now I keep picking up Very Light Terracotta (number 758) to use in my work!
What Inspires You?
Sometimes I’m inspired by the gentle beauty of wildflowers nearby, or vibrant tropical flowers far away. Sometimes I feel inspired just by certain colors, textures, or patterns I see around me. Right now I’m working on a collection of patterns that make me feel cozy, like a cottage covered in florals, a piece with cute patterned sweaters, a shelf of books, a bouquet of soft colored flowers, and more.
What’s Your Favourite Piece of Work?
I think my favorite piece I’ve ever stitched is my Texas Wildflowers pattern, which features vivid and rich colors that I don’t often use. It’s full of texture and makes me feel hopeful for bright, warm Spring days.
What Difference Has Stitching Made to Your Life?
Since picking up embroidery, I have a hobby that I adore and want to fill my days with. Embroidery is a craft that can fit seamlessly into little pockets of my time. It gives me the opportunity to sit quietly, slow down, and make something with my hands.
Not only that, but I’ve unexpectedly made a significant career change from being an elementary teacher to now being an embroidery artist and author! I’ve been able to stay at home with my children, working on my embroidery art on the side and wherever it can fit in my days. I’m also able to help at my children’s school and be a substitute teacher there.
Stitching has made a huge change to my days and reminds me that we never know what wonderful and exciting things may lie ahead in life.