So... sewing. What's the big deal about young women sewing stuff these days?
I am not perfectly sure that it's anything new. I have been sewing since I was a kid. My mom, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers all sewed for pleasure as well economics. The difference between what I do and what they did is that I sew purely for pleasure.
Were you one of those girls who had knitting circles a few years ago like they were the next big thing and the coolest thing evah?
I was. I organized a craft circle (which was actually featured in a Metro Pulse article when knit nights were big), and the participants did a wide variety of crafts. I still host craft nights, but they aren't a regular thing.
I'm only being facetious about the sewing stuff, but I do like how it's become a new art form. And it's really easy to see who's shitty at it, as opposed to a few other art forms. Would you say you're good at it?
I taught myself to embroider off the Internet. I had no idea that the stitches I was making were tiny; my careful, tiny stitches make for some beautiful work. Also, I find the work deeply satisfying and enjoyable. I think that those feelings translate to quality. So, yes, I think I'm good at it.
I like how you bring it "home," making nostalgic pieces that would be at home in any schoolhouse. Why do you do that?
I think my childhood influences my choice of subjects strongly. For example, I grew up shrimping and crabbing with my dad in the creeks around Charleston, S.C. I felt compelled to embroider a shrimp, and I'm working on a blue crab now. Also, I'm an academic; I like to embroider maps and diagrams. Perhaps the answer is somewhere in between these two influences.
You were on the cover of the Metro Pulse as the "average Knoxvillian" (white, female, dark hair, 30s, knows some Spanish). Did you suffer any fallout from that?
I had to leave town! Total strangers recognized me everywhere I went. One guy had his picture taken with me at a Christabel and the Jons show like I was some kind of celebrity. People approached me as I walked down sidewalks to ask me questions. People still recognize me though they usually can't place me. The whole experience was so weird.
You were also one Knoxville Magazine's "Top Singles" this year. Did you get any awesome dates out of that?
Not a one! I think the men of Knoxville are intimidated by my tiny stitches and massive high-fives.
Any advice for other victims of that designation?
Treat it with a sense of humor, but don't be flippant. The article ought to be flattering.
Do you think working at Yee-Haw, even as a receptionist, has encouraged your art-making?
Working beside those artists complements my own work, but I think the best encouragement has come when I travel with Yee-Haw to arts and crafts shows. I get exposed to so much neat and often inspirational art on the road.
What else do you make besides needlepoint?
I make quilts, baskets, and cookies.
What are you doing tonight? Do you want to go out on a date?
I am perfectly free. Do you like Thai food? Let's do this!