Spotlight: Alexis Acevedo, Embroidery Artist
Alexis Acevedo was studying fashion design when the needlepoint bug that had bitten her in childhood came buzzing back with the infinite design possibilities of color and texture she could create with thread. Now, the native New Yorker creates all-inclusive embroidery kits with her original nature and urban-vibe designs.
Why embroidery? How did you get started?
My mom taught my sister and me to sew when we were little. As a kid I remember wandering the aisles of quilt stores, mesmerized by all the surrounding colors, textures, and endless creativity. I was very into cross-stitch back then. I can still remember that feeling of finding the perfect pattern, bringing it home, and then stitching it to life. My first cross-stitch was a scene of goats on mountaintops with the saying, “I think I’ll move clouds today, mountains tomorrow.”
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I later discovered the art of embroidery while studying fashion design at Parsons The New School for Design. Once I had needle and thread in hand, I quickly became enthralled and fascinated by the array of embroidery stitches and the textures they can create. I think, in the end, creating embroidery patterns has brought me back full circle to that first feeling when I found that beloved needlepoint of ambitious mountain goats. I hope that my kits will provide the same joy and wonderment for new generations of stitchers.
What inspires you?
A lot of my inspiration comes from nature and travel. So I love to travel and experience the history, food and culture first-hand. I always have my camera on me to take pictures of anything that catches my eye when I’m traveling. (Some favorites are architecture, interior design, window displays, plants, graffitied quotes, shop dogs, etc.) The photos become a great resource for themes and color palettes.
When you begin to create, do you visualize the finished piece? Or does the work evolve?
The work definitely evolves! I spend a lot of time working on the composition of an illustration; I will agonize over a line, even if it needs to be moved just 1/16 of an inch. Once the design translates to fabric, I then focus on choosing color and different stitches to bring it to life. Sometimes this involves a lot of trial and error. Parts of the design or colors will change while I’m stitching the first (and even sometimes the final) sample.
I really try to be as fluid as possible while I am designing, all the way through to the end. It’s all about finding that aha moment when you know you’ve found the right combination of color movement, texture, style and composition.
What do you do differently – what is your signature that makes your work stand out as yours?
I design unique and modern embroidery patterns that have really resonated with many generations and skill levels. All of my kits come with everything you need to complete your embroidery; they include pre-printed fabric, needle, thread, hoop, detailed instructions, and a felt backing (for a beautifully polished finish). If you are new to embroidery, I have a YouTube channel with helpful how-to-stitch videos.
What part of an embroidery project do you enjoy most?
I do love the design process, but I find a lot of peace and joy when I get to sit down with a cup of tea, a favorite show and stitch. Embroidery allows you to fall into that uncanny sense of peace with busy hands and a relaxed mind.
What plays in the background while you work?
Growing up in NY, as a kid, my dream was to be on Broadway. So I have a guilty pleasure for musicals. I also listen to the news in the morning, a lot of classical music, and podcasts. (Some favorites are The Moth, How I Built This, and Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend – for when you just need a good giggle.)
Do you sell your work? If so, where can people find it?
Interview posted July 2020
Browse through more hand embroidery inspiration and projects on Create Whimsy.