It probably took me .02 seconds to fall in love with the Sarah K Benning 's thread drawings when I saw them on Instagram! Her highly detailed contemporary embroidery is to die for and also now to "DIY for" since she started a monthly pattern subscription. Not only am I in love with her work I also appreciate her transparency about the realities of running a business as an artist. I know you will love this interview!
Who are you, what do you do and where in the world are you?
My name is Sarah, though lots of friends and family call be Benni, and I am an American fiber artist primarily working with embroidery. At the moment, I am in Menorca, Spain, but I am soon relocating to New Hampshire (the northeast of the United States) for the summer. My studio practice, much in thanks to the portable and accessible nature of embroidery, is quite nomadic. Over the next year or two I will be dividing my time between the mountains of New Hampshire, my home town of Baltimore, and Mediterranean home-away-from-home Menorca.
What do you believe in?
I believe in doing my best and keeping an open mind in new situations.
When do you feel your most wonderful?
I feel the most wonderful with a new embroidery project in hand and a mug of coffee close by.
What is something wonderful that has happened that would have never have happened if you hadn't made a mistake or a wrong turn somewhere?
I think everything I have going for me now is the result of a series of 'mistakes' and 'wrong' turns. There is no 'right' way to live life and find happiness, so all we can do is learn from our failures and move on. I definitely had doubts about moving to Spain 9 months ago. I spoke (and arguably still speak) only a tiny bit of Spanish and was wracked with fear about putting my embroidery practice and online shop on hold while I moved and adjusted to life in Menorca. But now, having gone through the process I wouldn't change a thing (accept maybe study more Spanish...).
What is the earliest time in your life that you can remember experiencing wonder?
When I was little my best friend lived right across the street. We were inseparable spending every spare second of the day together. She had a nanny who was also a painter and sometimes she would bring us to her painting studio. I can remember a feeling of complete awe watching her transform the globs of raw color on her palette into swirls of blended colors and forms on her canvases. She made me believe I could be an artist too and I will always be grateful to her for that.
Who are three wonderful people you think we need to know about?
If you don't already, you need to know about Cayce Zavalgia and her incredible stitched portraits. You need to know about Abby Glassenberg and her blog/podcast While She Naps. She is a great resource of creative small businesses and I love her interviews with makers and industry professionals. And lastly, you need to know about Julia Rothman because her illustrations are just so great.