Independent Artist Interview - Nicki Franklin from The Stitchery

  • BIDBI Team
  • 21st June 2021

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business 

I live in a South Northamptonshire village, in an old stone cottage with my husband and little West Highland Terrier, Lottie.  We are lucky to be surrounded by countryside but close to the pretty town of Olney too. I built The Stitchery to teach contemporary embroidery and share my love for all things sewing and textiles.  I think there is a common misconception that embroidery has to be perfect, but I strive to make stitching accessible and achievable for everyone, focusing on the mindfulness and relaxation of the process rather than stressing about a perfect end result.

Nickis products  

How did you keep going and stay motivated during the Covid 19 lockdowns?

I stitched my way through the anxiety!  Embroidery and stitching is a very gentle, mindful and relaxing pastime.  You have to concentrate a little to select the colours and work the stitches, which naturally keeps all other anxious and worrying thoughts out of your mind.  Our business became almost twice as busy overnight with people looking for something enjoyable to do at home; I received so many lovely emails and notes from customers telling me how stitching was helping them, it gave me the boost to keep going and helping others.

What inspires you?

I am a nature buff; I love everything about the countryside, and I find endless inspiration in the fields around our house.  I don’t have much time for gardening but I would love a beautiful garden at home so I spend my spare time exploring public gardens – I can spend hours in a rose garden or arboretum!

Nickis work

What does your art mean to you?

I was fortunate to have an Enid Blyton storybook childhood, before the digital era, when we spent our time outdoors making dens, having picnics and picking flowers.  My art has a strong nostalgic element and connects me to those happy days that I cherish so much.  Creating embroidery designs grounds me and relaxes my mind, and I feel very fortunate to have found such an amazing stitching community as a result of my work.

What materials and techniques do you predominantly use in making your designs?

All of my designs start as a simple scribble in my sketchbook to ascertain composition and colour, I then work straight onto fabric with the end-user in mind – considering how I can use different stitches to make the final piece achievable and enjoyable.  I use only natural materials, I especially like linen and cotton, using antique fabrics when possible.

Nicki's work

What has been your favourite artistic experience over the last 12 months?

I have enjoyed exploring the world of online art classes over the last 12 months; necessary because we have been unable to gather together in person but they have found a permanent place for me going forward as the perfect way to incorporate art classes into an already packed lifestyle.  I get so much from connecting with other artists and I feel so grateful for the opportunity to connect with like-minded people all over the world.

What is your favourite product you’ve had from BIDBI?

The drawstring bags from BIDBI are a staple in our online shop.  The cotton used is the perfect weight for embroidery, the print colour choices are vast and the BIDBI team can achieve the perfect light grey for embroidery designs; we regularly print the bags with embroidery designs so that customers can stitch straight onto the fabric and create a beautiful project bag with their own personal touch.  We also use little printed bags for our packaging, and I love the little ‘lunch bags’ which are a cute but useful size and so pretty with our Stitchery logo.

Nickis stichwork  

What are your future plans?

I am excited to teach in Canada next year and I am working on self-publishing a book about embroidery and floriography (the language of flowers).  I have so many ideas for projects and artwork, I really need to pace myself and slow down a little bit!

What advice would you give new artists starting out now?

My advice is to just do it!  Don’t be put off by people who may already be doing something similar.  There is room for everyone in the creative world; you will find your ‘tribe’.  A key lesson that I have learned the hard way is that very often ‘done is better than perfect’.  Don’t hold yourself back by stressing about minutiae

Why did you choose BIDBI?

I chose BIDBI because of the quality of their Fairtrade cotton and the print quality they produce.   I return to BIDBI because they prioritise customer service, paying attention to detail.  They work at pace and can often work to quite tight deadlines. 

Nickis products  

If you are interested in Nicki's work you can find her here.

Website  https://www.nickifranklin.com/

Instagram nickifranklin_needlework & the_stitchery_studio

Facebook The Stitchery

Etsy Shop  StitcheryStudioShop