Although we tend to moan about the algorithm quite a lot, you can’t deny that Instagram is an amazing source of inspiration! I have admired the work of Sally Mayer (aka Sew Sal) for so long, and decided to treat myself to one of her amazing hoops earlier this year. It now takes pride of place on my hoop wall in my craft room! I’ve got to know Sally a little through our conversations on Instagram, and I thought it would be great for you to find out more about her and her work too. If you’ve never seen a Sew Sal hoop you’re in for a treat – colourful florals and cheeky little birds full of character, which I know you’re going to LOVE! So I’m so excited to bring you a natter with Sew Sal on the blog today!
Describe your work in 3 words.
Cheerful, charming and colourful.
How did you first become interested in embroidery?
My love for embroidery began in my second year at Uni. I had done a short course, learning all the different stitches and techniques. From then on I started to use embroidery in my assignments. I really enjoyed it; I had found my creative niche.
You studied printed textiles and surface pattern design at Leeds College of Art – how do these things influence your embroidery?
My textile course was so inspiring; we had a lot of freedom to do what came naturally to us. For our tutors it was very important that we experimented and perfected our own style. My studies influence my work a lot, especially with repeat pattern and composition of a design.
Tell us about your design process. How do you turn something from an idea to a finished project?
I gather inspiration and ideas from being out and about. I take pictures of things I’d seen and draw from my findings. I embroider from drawings of flowers and birds. I often embroider first and then play around with my final designs on the computer to create designs for fabric and greetings cards. I also sell my embroideries as made to order hoop art’s.
What are your must have sewing essentials?
I have a pair of small sewing scissors that I was gifted a few years ago for my birthday from a friend. They are they really lovely to work with. My other essentials would have to be DMC embroidery thread, a needle, embroidery hoop, music and a cup of coffee.
One of your long-term projects is a family patchwork quilt. What are your favourite and least favourite things about working on such a large-scale piece?
I have been working on it for the past 8 years, I’m not sure when I’ll ever finish it. My favourite thing about it is that I dip in and out of it when I have a creative block and in need of a change and inspiration. I wouldn’t say there was a downside to it as I love working on it but if there had to be one it would be that it’s taking me so long.
Finally, what advice would you give to anyone starting out selling their wares?
The main thing is to create work that you thoroughly enjoy making. Create what makes you happy. Etsy is a great creative platform to sell your items. Instagram is an even greater place to market, promote and create a brand for work. It is also an amazing place to find like-minded makers like you and to have a sense of a creative community.
Thank you SO much for chatting to us, Sally!
It has been great to find out more about your creative process. I think that creating what makes you happy is such an important thing, especially when it’s easy to compare yourself to others on social media. I can’t wait to see what you make next!
Please note that all photos are copyright Sally Mayer and have been used with permission.