Starting off with pencil or oil paints, Chloe Giordano only recently started exploring the world of textiles. Dearly missing the representational art she used to do, she turned to embroidery in hopes of combining her interest with paint and pencil work. Chloe now owns her own Etsy shop, where she sells original embroidery pieces and print and greeting cards that seem to come to life with its deep colors and vibrant illustrations. Find out more about Chloe and her words of advice to those who seek full-time crafting!
5 Things about Chloe Giordano
Early riser or night owl?… Early riser! I normally get up just after 5am and like to be ready to start work by 6:30am.
A song to get you into the creative groove… I listen to Wildflowers by Tom Petty pretty much every day, I hope my neighbours enjoy it as much as I do!
What did you aspire to be when you were 5?… An Olympic show-jumper. I definitely veered off on a different path.
3 essentials we can find in your bag… A book, my large water bottle, and reusable coffee cup because I’m incapable of walking anywhere without getting some coffee.
If you weren't an embroider, you would most probably be doing… I did consider studying English or History, and possibly going into publishing as an editor. Still, I’m glad I kept reading a hobby.
1. Tell us about your background and what led to you choosing embroidery as a craft.
I began exploring textiles in my last year of university. Up until then, I had mostly worked with pencil or oil paints. I started with soft sculptures, but missed the representational art I used to do, so I picked up embroidery in the hope of combining my two interests. I eventually developed a style of working that captured the realism of my paint and pencil work, while remaining rooted to embroidery.
2. What made you want to take your passion to the next level?
I studied illustration at university and always intended to work in the art industry, so embroidery was never a hobby for me. I believe my work benefited from this as I expected it to be viewed as an art form, right from the beginning. I knew I’d enjoy doing it as a career as I always found stitching very calming and meditative, even when I’m working on something difficult or chasing a tight deadline, whereas I tend to get pretty frustrated with pencil and paint pieces when under pressure.
3. Tell us more about your shop, Chloe Giordano
Through Etsy, I sell original embroideries and just a few years ago, also expanded to sell prints and greetings cards. I know my original pieces are out of most people’s price bracket, so I wanted to be able to offer more affordable items. I have licensed some work to greetings card companies, but Etsy gives me the option to direct people to one site no matter where they live. Turns out, I really enjoy packing orders and adding personal touches to them.
4. What kind of materials do you like to work with?
I work on calico that I hand-dye myself, and embroider with sewing thread. It does take longer that way, but the finer thread allows me to pack a lot of detail into smaller pieces (I probably save a lot of time that I’d otherwise have to spend separating strands of embroidery floss too!).
5. What is your favourite piece of finished product and what inspired you to create it?
My current favourite is probably a standing fawn embroidery on pink fabric from last year, although my mind changes all the time. What I particularly enjoyed about that piece was revisiting a subject that was the focus of one of my very first embroideries. I love re-visiting ideas and seeing how I’ve been able to develop my practice.
6. How is the yarn scene like in York?
I’ve not explored the craft scene here in York very much, but I will say it has far better fabric/haberdashery shops compared to where I used to live (Oxford/Buckinghamshire), which is always a good sign! There’s a lot of talented artists here and several local galleries and shops that showcases amazing work. It makes it much easier to buy from local and smaller businesses, which I appreciate.
7. Is there any interesting or particularly memorable/interesting moment in your career as a professional maker?
I would say, designing my first cover for a mass market book (Charlotte Bronte by Claire Harman). Embroidering book covers has been a dream of mine since university, and that opportunity has opened a lot of doors for me since. These days, most of my client work is for the publishing industry.
8. Advice for those wanting to make the switch into crafting full time?
I would say, focus on creating the kind of work you want to be commissioned for, especially if you want to break into commercial work. I set myself a lot of ‘briefs’ at the beginning to gain experience and also to show people what I was interested in doing. I think it’s also important to regularly reassess your body of work, what could be improved, what did and and didn’t work etc., so you aren’t just doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.
Photo Credits: Chloe Giordano