Ruby Ambassador Nichole Vogelsinger of Wild Boho
Hope everyone stateside had a nice Labor Day weekend. Today, I’m excited to introduce the newest Ruby Ambassador, Nichole Vogelsinger of Wildboho!
Nichole is a mixed media embroidery artist. After not having enough room in her home studio to work on large projects, she got creative with hoop-sized projects and Wildboho was born! I was lucky enough to take a class with Nichole at Quiltcon a couple of years ago. She opened my eyes about all the different ways I can a printed piece of quilting fabric my own using embroidery and embellishments. I made a small piece in that class that I am using in a quilt pattern I will be sharing sometime soon. In the meantime, I am so excited to have Nichole as a Ruby Ambassador.
As with each Ruby Ambassador, let’s start with an interview.
Blair: Where are you located?
Nichole: Bucks County, PA (near Philadelphia)
Blair: How long have you been designing Wildboho embroidery?
Nichole: I have been crafting for years but I have been embroidering as Wildboho since 2012.
Blair: Do you have a dedicated studio space or in your house, as space requires?
Nichole: I do have a dedicated studio space in my house. It is a small area that is always changing as I continue adding threads and embellishments and fabrics to my arsenal of supplies! It’s also the sort of space where I can’t have a full-size ironing board set up if I plan on sitting at my desk! Oh, the joy of 100-year old houses!
Blair: How do you store your embroidery thread? And fabric? Is it by color? By project? Can you share tips with us?
Nichole: In my studio space, I organize thread by type. For example, I have all of my Eleganza Perle Cotton and Sulky Petites spools on the wall, organized by weight but not really by color. I keep my thicker Koigu needlepoint yarns grouped together with binder rings (see desk picture above). I have stacks of ArtBins with my Weeks Dye Works floss all organized by color. Because it is a small space, I only keep what I use all the time and really like.
I keep my seed beads on my desk in clear jewelry organizers. They are organized by size and color. I like to have them handy when I’m choosing supplies for a project. The same organizing strategy applies to buttons and sequins. Clear trays with lids help me to see what I have and stay organized.
However for projects, I like to keep supplies organized in small Poppin bins (pictured on my desk in the above picture!) They are stackable and allow me to keep all of the beads, threads, embellishments for each project contained in one area. I used to use Ziploc bags but this is a reusable solution that doesn’t take up much space and allows my projects to be moveable and organized.
I encourage people who are hesitant to choose fabrics, to pick something that instantly appeals to them
Blair: Often embroidery projects come as kits, with the thread colors and shades already chosen for us. It can be overwhelming to choose colors on our own, there’s so many beautiful threads (and beautiful fabrics to sew them onto)! How do you approach choosing colors and types of threads for an embroidery project?
Nichole: I start with one of those empty Poppin bins that I mentioned before and my current project laid out on my desk (in good lighting!!). I don’t always know what I plan to do embroidery-wise with a project. So I just start by choosing threads in a variety of colors and weights. I choose lots of beads and embellishments and add them to the bin. Once I have everything chosen, I look at my project and pick something that I want to start stitching. Focusing on the hoop as a whole can be overwhelming, so I like to take it section by section. Because embroidery is a slow craft, as I’m stitching, I can look at other parts of the hoop and think about how I might want to embellish them as well. I might go back to my threads and choose other colors or textures to add. It is a very fluid approach and I may go back and forth in choosing my materials over the course of starting a hoop and then finishing it. I find the choosing of supplies to be one of my favorite parts!
Blair: Lots of folks get confused about exactly how and why to use color value in their own work. Can you explain its importance in your work? Any tips on how you would initially approach it in a new project?
Nichole: The idea of color value has always been slightly intimidating to me because I am a self-taught embroidery artist and did not ever have training in color study. I do love color, though, and I think that comes through in my work! When I teach embroidery workshops that involve fabric collage and applique, I encourage people who are hesitant to choose fabrics, to pick something that instantly appeals to them. For an embroidery project, you will be spending lots of quality time focusing on that fabric or combination of fabrics and you have to really like what you are looking at! So that’s my number one tip and it doesn’t relate much to color value but more to what appeals to each individual.
Blair: I got an interesting question in a survey I did recently- Does value HAVE to come into play in a design? Is using different colors enough? I’d love to hear what you think?
Nichole: For the work that I do, I don’t know that color value is especially important. I describe my work as free-spirited and that is my approach to many of the decisions that I make with color. However, I do recognize when a color is off and sometimes after trying to make it work in a project, I realize that it’s not working and my eye keeps focusing on the one area that isn’t working and at that point, my only option is to I to spend the time to undo my work and redo it with another color.
Blair: How has the Ruby Minder™ helped you make color value decisions?
Nichole: I have found that the Ruby Minder™ helped me in making decisions when it came to choosing which blues worked best on a project. I had a pile of blue scraps that I was shifting through and looking at the blues through the Ruby Minder™ helped me to narrow down my selection and in the end, I was really happy with the shade of blue that I chose!
My favorite part of the Ruby Minder™ was that I could easily keep several skeins of DMC perle cotton nicely organized for one of the embroidery projects that I was working on. Because they are not on spools, those skeins tend to get tangled when I’m switching between colors, but the Minder helped me to keep them separate and untangled throughout the length of my project!
Blair: What new things do you have happening?
Nichole: I have several upcoming workshops along the East Coast for 2019/20. Most recently, though, I filmed an online class with Bluprint: “Boho Style: Mixed-Media Embroidery” and so if i’m not personally coming to your town, you can still take a class with me….virtually!
Blair: What’s your favorite embroidery stitch? Least favorite?
Nichole: I love the Feather Stitch. It is versatile and is a fun one to add a beads and sequins to. My least favorite stitch is the French Knot. I feel that for every 10 French Knots that I do, only 4 of them look like they should! My alternative to that stitch is the Colonial Knot which is another one of my favorites. I challenge you to try the Colonial Knot if you find the French Knot as frustrating as I do!
(Added: I have these stitches and many more on my Embroidery Stitches Pinterest Board)
Where can people find you online?