Today we’d like to introduce you to Lucy Orich.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I picked up hand embroidery completely by chance. 3 1/2 years ago I needed to have a tonsillectomy and I decided to pick up a hobby for the week that I would be in recovery. I had seen a few pictures of hand embroidery online (not to mention my grandma is also an embroiderer) and had a feeling that I’d have a knack for the craft. Once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down! My skills grew, and after a few months of making pieces just for fun I started getting commissioned orders. From there I made an Instagram account, and then an Etsy account, and now I have my own website. I’m always working on my own pieces as well as a constant stream of orders for friends and strangers. I never would have expected that a lil’ craft hobby I planned to only do for a week has carried with me over 3 years and turned into a fun and enjoyable business.
Please tell us about your art.
I create hand sewn embroidery art. I make hoops (wall decor), jackets, hats, patches – anything that can be sewn through I can embroider! I started out sewing random images that inspired me and over time have fallen into my personal aesthetic. I’ve gravitated towards more cheeky material, specifically the female form. I enjoy sewing all body types and I love getting to represent women to show that everyone is beautiful. I’ve recently started making portraits of the women in my life and I’m trying to show them how gorgeous they are. The cheeky (and sometimes inappropriate) material that I sew is a way to normalize these images and words for the public. Bloody tampon hat, girl masturbating, “cunt” cross stitch – all of these are words or images that can make people uncomfortable and it’s fun to put it out there and see the positive feedback. Since embroidery is such an old craft, the more current, sassy, and inappropriate the images are creating a wonderful juxtaposition.
Also, hand embroidery is very different from machine done (both beautiful in their own way). My work might not be as cheap or as clean looking as machine done work but it’s a different aesthetic. It’s about the time I put into each piece, knowing that no 2 pieces are the same (even when they’re the same design) and what you have purchased is truly one of a kind. This is my passion, a craft I love and do every day, and each piece I make is its own experience and memory.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing artists today?
There are so many challenges facing artists today, from limited exposure and Instagram algorithms to uncredited designs and the tangled web of Pinterest. I think the biggest, most abstract challenge that artists face is limiting what you do for fear of offending people. Not everyone will like your work, people can find the negative in anything and are quick to voice their opinion, especially with the security of being behind their phones. Being an artist is a combination of pride for your work mixed with insecurity. It’s hard not letting those negative comments get to you or being tempted to adjust your art to please people. I was very nervous when I first started doing more crude embroideries but I’ve learned to embrace it. I know that everything I make and post is done with good intentions and therefor there’s nothing to feel bad about. With the cheeky work that I do, I know it won’t make everyone happy and I think the challenge for artists today is to be strong enough to say “fuck it” and do it anyway. Create what makes you happy, create for you.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I’m most active with my work on Instagram (@HOOOPthereitis_), I post images every day and have become part of the wonderful embroidery community on Instagram. In addition to that I have my website, hooopthereitis.com where people can purchase hoops, hats, or custom pieces. I am also a vendor most weekends with groups such as Wild Riot and Fruit Salad LA. They put on events all over LA with so many wonderful local vendors and it’s a great way to meet people and support independent artists. Also, the best way to see and support is to spread the word! Reposting and sharing is so easy and means so much to local artists that are just trying to get our work out there!