An Interview with Sew & Saunders Founder, Joanna Saunders

Le 19 January 2017
Meet the Maker

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    An Interview with Sew & Saunders Founder, Joanna Saunders

    Throughout the year we’ll be bringing you interview with artists who contributed to our Designer Collection of patterns. To kick the series off, we bring you an interview with Joanna Saunders, founder of the online embroidery shop, Sew & Saunders. Her patterns—incredibly verdant tributes to nature—are the perfect partner for DMC’s vibrant threads. We’re thrilled to have her work in our Designer Collection.

    Joanna Saunders at work. 

     DMC: Who first taught you how to embroider?

    Joanna Saunders: My mum taught me how to embroider when I was 6 years old on a holiday in Greece. My sister had found a bag she liked but didn’t like the logo, my mum bought the bag and a few skeins, and embellished a beautiful flower on top of the logo. I begged my mum to teach me so I could add a smaller flower to the bag, and I have been in love with embroidery ever since.

    DMC: Looking back, what did that mean to you?

    JS: Looking back on all of my creative endeavors, from studying fashion to launching my own embroidery company, I have always been so inspired by my mum and grandma, and it means the world to me that I have learnt a skill that I love and cherish by someone who is so special to me. I often think of my mum and grandma when I stitch—they are the two most talented women I know!

    A verdant design from Sew & Saunders. 

     DMC: What do you think it was that got you hooked on embroidery?

    JS: The day that always sticks in my mind was a day in my first year of university whilst studying fashion design. I found a scrap piece of hessian and dug out some wool to see if I could create the piece I had in my mind—I don’t think I’ve really put down my needle since! For me, there is real magic in embroidery, to take old humble fabrics and give them new life and a new “personality” through fiber art. To take a scrap of fabric that everyone thought should just be rubbish and turn it into a work of art through handcraft to me, is magic.

    DMC: Have you passed your talents down to anyone?

    JS: I hope that I have the chance to pass down the embroidery baton to my own children one day. I will certainly make sure they understand the value of handcrafted items even if they don’t want to pick up a needle themselves!

    DMC: Why do you think passing this down is so important?

    JS: I believe that it is always nice to pass something down that is special in your family, however, this is even more important with a handcraft such as embroidery—the reason being handcrafted techniques need a push to stay alive with younger generations. My grandma taught me how to sew before I studied fashion and still to this day when I thread a machine I think of my grandma, and I’m so thankful for that memory.

    A verdant design from Sew & Saunders.  DMC: What's your fave stitch and DMC color?

    JS: A difficult question to answer! I’d have to go with a whip stitch in my all time favorite DMC 319—it is the most perfect forest green.

    DMC: Where do you find inspiration?

    JS: Fashion designers and photographers, one of my biggest inspirations for all my work is Tim Walker. Walker is so well known for creating texture/colour, and creating a mood in a photo—the eclectic feel of his sets always inspire me to create a vibrant pallet with plenty of texture and depth.

    Thanks to Joanna for kicking off our interview series! Be sure to check out all of the patterns from Sew & Saunders in our DMC Designer Collection of patterns. 

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