Our small town is teeming with tourists this time of year --people seeking cooler temperatures, beautiful mountain vistas, and the chance to spot a bear or elk. For the most part (traffic can be challenging), we love seeing them drift up and down the sidewalks with ice cream cones piled high. We absolutely love talking with folks who drop into The Stitchin’ Den. They have great ideas and bring a lot of positive energy into the shop.
What many of our visitors may not realize is that our little town is full of creative people. They write, paint, sculpt, make music, and stitch. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with Julie Ferguson, a creative stitcher in our community. Julie and her husband own Hyk Mountain Lifestyle at 149 E Elkhorn Ave. Among the hiking gear, you will also find amazing embroidered jewelry and art. There are wee gems of wearable art; each one original and inspired by our spectacular mountains, wildlife, and flowers.
I asked Julie how she got started and was not surprised to learn that the enforced isolation of the pandemic and the stress of our wildfire evacuations were partly responsible. For her, it seems that picking up a needle and thread was stitching therapy. Julie, a cross stitcher, expanded into embroidery about a year ago. It is clear by looking at her work that she has a natural talent for composition and color. Julie characterizes her pieces as an attempt to capture the beauty of our community using pops of color against a subtle color background. She added that working with colors is both the most challenging and favorite part of the creative process for her.
Inspired by other artists and photographers, Julie is learning to balance the details of her landscapes with abstract concepts. “It is surprising how abstract images can morph into a scene,” noted Julie. Although she has worked mainly with cotton, linen, and DMC floss, she is beginning to experiment with mixed media. Asked if she just started and stitched until she saw a scene emerge or if she has a scene in mind before she began, Julie said that she always has a picture in mind; the stitching itself is a creative exercise. The stitching encourages her to try to see the mountain shapes in a different way.
I have found that some of the happiest and most satisfied stitchers are the ones who share their techniques and ideas freely. Apparently, Julie shares this enthusiasm for the art of embroidery. She loves visiting with people about what she does and how she does it. She likes to encourage others to join the creative stitching community. We cannot wait to see what she does next and, lucky for us, share in her wealth of ideas. Inspiration seems to be the key to enjoyment, which often leads to pure pleasure, no matter what type of stitching you enjoy.