Feeling Discouraged? Encouragement For Embroidery Artists

One of the hardest parts of being an artist or creative is not just the hard work it takes to learn a particular medium or skill, but also developing a healthy mindset and feeling confident in your abilities. It can be really easy to become discouraged and a bit self conscious along the way. Today I wanted to share a few words of encouragement and some practical tips for embroidery artists. While I still struggle from time to time, these tips have personally helped me and I hope they help you too!

1. Approach Creativity As Play

The most valuable piece of advice I’ve ever gotten was to approach creativity as a form of play. It can be easy to immediately critique your work, but it’s so important to turn off the logical side of your brain and just have fun with your art. Think of how a child would play: they are fully present, enjoying the moment. There isn’t any judgement involved! Allowing yourself the room to play and experiment takes the pressure off of you and it can lead to so many breakthroughs.

When I first started painting the deer that’s pictured above, I really wasn’t sure if it was going to turn out ok. It ended up turning out better than I expected (It’s not perfect but I’m still very happy with it!) and I think it’s because I really allowed myself to experiment and be in the moment instead of picking it apart.

The next time you’re creating, try not to immediately jump to judging whatever you are making. If those thoughts start to come up, remind yourself that this isn’t the time to do that. Sometimes the process to beautiful things is a messy one.

2. Nothing Is Truly A Failure If You Can Learn From It

There will be times when things don’t work out. BUT that doesn’t mean that they are a complete and utter failure! There may be something you could learn from a project that didn’t go as expected. Reflecting on what went wrong and what could have gone better will surely help you in your future endeavors!

Here’s something I have to remind myself often: Everyone has failures. Even the artists you admire! What we see online is a highlight reel that usually doesn’t show all of the trial and error.

3. Never Stop Being Curious

Stay curious and follow your interests. If you’re truly interested in something, you’ll be more inclined to keep working on and improving it. I encourage you to continue to dig into subject matter and mediums that light you up.

4. It Never Hurts To Stick To One Thing For Awhile

Sometimes it feels like you should try everything. Social media has a way of doing this to us; it’s overwhelming and there are endless options and avenues you could take. But I would argue that sticking with one thing for awhile is way more fruitful.

When I first started thread painting I would choose a particular subject matter and then stick with it for awhile. I got really into making pet portraits of dogs and cats. There was so much I could learn from just these two animals; their fur patterns, features, and colors were all unique. Sometimes it got a little bit boring, but I got so much practice this way!

Once I felt like I was pretty confident in my abilities, I started branching out and stitching other things. 

5. Document Your Process

Another thing you should do is document your process. I would argue that you should start doing this on day one.

It can be easy to feel stagnant, like you’re not making progress fast enough. But I guarantee that if you start taking photos of the work you’ve made, you’ll start to see small improvements when you look back at!

6. Don’t Compare Your Journey To Someone Else’s

Finally, try your hardest not to compare your journey to someone else’s. I know this last one is hard; I’m pretty sure everyone struggles with this. Everyone learns differently and it’s way more productive to focus on your own progress. 

Don’t give up, you’ve got this!

Further Resources You Should Check Out

One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is Creative Pep Talk. There’s always something I learn from the episodes and they’re especially helpful for when you’re in a creative rut.

Also, check out these creative ideas and prompts if you’re looking for some inspiration for your next embroidery project.

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One Comment

  1. Hi! My favorite embroidery stitch is the French knot! It’s super easy, I love that it’s a bit 3D, and you can make it smaller or thicker or fill the whole hoop up with it!

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