Emma Elkington is a Perth, Australia-based stitcher who started stitching young and started selling her work as the result of a dream. You could say it is a dream come true…
When did you start sewing/embroidering and why?
My grandma originally taught me when I was about 7 but I didn’t pick it up again until I was about 17 and living on my own. Stitching was a great way to be creative and keep my hands and mind busy.
How would you describe the style of your work?
Happy Schizophrenic—I’m so inspired by so many different ideas that its hard for me to stick to one style. I simply enjoy creating pieces that will put a smile on someone’s face and brighten up a drab space.
Name three things that inspire you…
My Husband – he is totally selfless and has always supported my dreams. He keeps me going and inspires every stitch.
My Nonna – (grandmother in Italian) Every story she tells starts with “You no believe….” and all are moral lessons about love, determination, life and a woman’s strength.
Animals- every animal has a story and a personality and something to teach us all.
What was the last great book you read and why did you love it?
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. Although it has a really dark subject matter, the setting and intensity of the story was electrifying and I couldn’t put it down. There is something in your own imagination that makes reading a story like this far more haunting than seeing it on film.
Where do you do your work (in a sewing room, on your patio, in front of the TV, etc.)?
I spent forever creating a beautiful, inspiring craft room only to find my self plonked down in front of the TV with my dogs on my lap….they couldn’t be trusted in my craft room and I love having their company when I work.
Ok, you’re stranded on a desert island. Which five items do you hope to have with you?
My Husband, my two dogs, a crate of candy, and a drawing book…..hopefully my husband would have thought to bring the important life saving stuff.
What is your favorite kind of item to stitch?
I love stitching quotations. Sometimes when I’m researching a quote it will make me laugh out loud and I think, “Oh, I have to stitch that!”
You have a lot of vintage-style creations and images from films in your shop—what do you like about using both to create your pieces?
There is a certain pride I feel when trying my hand at something I learnt as a child that my mother learnt when she was a child and her mother before her and so on. I imagine my grandparents as children and what they would have played with and seen and I feel closer to them by creating something from their era with a modern twist from mine.
In regards to the movie images, I remember what it felt like to watch those films for the first time. When people see my illustrations they often share similar memories and I just love it.
Does the name of your shop have a special meaning or is there a story behind it?
My shop name, and infact my whole business came about quite accidently. I am a veterinary nurse by trade and injured my lower back. As time went on it became harder for me to continue my profession and I was spending many hours at home resting and filling my days with craft. Perhaps induced by pain medication, I had a dream one night that my friend and I opened a shop, selling home made items from around the world. In the dream we named the shop Fawn (after my obsession with deers) and Squirrel (after her obsession with squirrels).
When I awoke I considered that with her business nous and my creativity it was entirely possible that we could make this happen! So, rather than being miserable about my physical state, I decided to open the shop on Etsy and give it a go. Now I get to spend my days doing what I love.
Anything else you’d like to add:
With the desire, always on my mind, to help animals in need, I am currently completing the first group of my endangered species watercolor series. Profits from these paintings will go towards conservation funding of the animals featured. As these will be hand painted, I would dearly welcome any suggestions for a stitched series that I should create, to also assist in wildlife conservation.
Thank you, Emma! You can check out more of Emma’s lovely stitching at Fawn and Squirrel.