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what's in your toolbox

What’s In Your Toolbox: Emillie Ferris

by Annie Werbler

What's In Your Toolbox: Emillie Ferris, on Design*Sponge

A inspiring example of someone who found her creative calling early in life, Emillie Ferris is a 21-year-old recent university graduate from Suffolk, England whose hand-embroidered hoop art intricately recalls the distinctive details of magical plants, woodland creatures, and custom pet portraits. Emillie, who claims that her student textile work was less than perfect, insists there exists a maker inside of everybody; it’s just a matter of practice making perfect. “I believe that anyone can be an artist,” she shares. “It isn’t talent, and it isn’t the luck of the draw — it’s finding a passion for a creative outlet, and working your butt off!”

When she’s not embroidering, Emillie runs around the countryside looking for charming subject matter, reads the historical fantasy Outlander series, and screens the films and TV shows whose posters and fan art she hopes to put her needle to one day. Also an aspiring graphic designer, Emillie’s whimsical aesthetic sensibility is just getting started. She never doubts following her own romantic muse. “I think it’s really important to stop and remember what makes you, you.” —Annie

Photography by Emillie Ferris

What's In Your Toolbox: Emillie Ferris, on Design*Sponge

What’s in your toolbox?

It’s quite a modest toolbox! I can’t create my hoops without these essentials: 1 needle (John James tapestry sz.28), an embroidery hoop (Elbese wooden and hand-stained), fabric (medium-weight unbleached calico), and embroidery scissors and embroidery floss (DMC).

What's In Your Toolbox: Emillie Ferris, on Design*Sponge

Fill in the blank, “When I am in my studio, I feel ____________.”

Productive

What's In Your Toolbox: Emillie Ferris, on Design*Sponge

What’s on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now?

There are so many creative people who inspire me daily! But right now, I’d have to mention the photographer Rosie Hardy. I’ve followed her work for nearly eight years now, and still to this day I love to check out her Insta/Flickr/blog and see what she’s up to (always something awesome). I also love the embroidered pieces that Maricor/Maricar create, their typography pieces are just… wow.

What's In Your Toolbox: Emillie Ferris, on Design*Sponge

How do you keep yourself organized?

This is a quality I really wish I excelled at! My mind always feels completely full, so I find the best way to organize myself is to write it all out before my brain explodes! I have all these random notes stuck in drawers, books, and scattered on my desk. Somehow I manage!

What's In Your Toolbox: Emillie Ferris, on Design*Sponge

If you could have one superhero (or magical) power, what would it be and why?

To be able to control the elements — water, fire, earth, air. Though, I’m pretty clumsy, so it’s probably a good thing I can’t!

What's In Your Toolbox: Emillie Ferris, on Design*Sponge

What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer to a young artist, maker, or designer?

I can’t think of any advice I’ve been given that really stands out, but I love the quote: “To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.” This really stands out to me because in this day and age we are constantly being involved in other people’s lives through the Internet. I think it’s really important to stop and remember what makes you, you.

What's In Your Toolbox: Emillie Ferris, on Design*Sponge

How do you combat creative blocks?

I have to admit I haven’t hit a huge creative block as of yet (I’ve jinxed it now, haven’t I?). But when I do, I think I’ll immerse myself in creative sources: films, books, etc. One thing that always gets me going to start a project is if it’s something I’m really interested in at that time! For example, when I first read/watched Game of Thrones, I just had this urge to draw the character Daenerys, and it’s the same with embroidering — I’ll just be like, “Omg aren’t hedgehogs just sooo cute, I need to embroider one!”

What's In Your Toolbox: Emillie Ferris, on Design*Sponge

Where do you like to look or shop for inspiration?

The Internet has always been this huge power source of inspiration to me! I love that you can literally see anyone’s creative success from around the globe, and this really motivates me as an artist to get stuck in the creative bubble as well. Websites like Behance, Flickr, DeviantArt, and Pinterest are just a few I love to visit.

What's In Your Toolbox: Emillie Ferris, on Design*Sponge

If you could peek inside the studio or toolbox of any artist, maker, designer, or craftsperson, whose would it be and why?

Helen Green! She is an amazing illustrator and I would love to know her entire creative process from start to finish! Whenever I feel the need to be wowed, I love to see what she’s­­ creating next on her Instagram account.

What's In Your Toolbox: Emillie Ferris, on Design*Sponge

What’s on your inspirational playlist at the moment?

Here are some of my favorite “motivation/inspiration” songs at the moment! I have mixed taste in music, but these songs in particular are good for making me want to get going with a project!

  • The White Stripes – Blue Orchid
  • The Black Keys – I Got Mine
  • Destiny’s Child – Bills, Bills, Bills
  • Rupert Holmes – Escape (The Piña Colada Song)
  • Alt-J – Breezeblocks
  • Jimi Hendrix – Crosstown Traffic
  • Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love
  • Katzenjammer – Old De Spain
  • Rage Against The Machine – Killing In The Name

What's In Your Toolbox: Emillie Ferris, on Design*Sponge

 

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