Jennifer Riggs, Textile Artist, Salt Lake City, UT
Jennifer Riggs has been a textile artist since 2014. She loves the freedom that embroidery gives her and shares that it's, "it's truly like being able to paint with threads." Jennifer loves being able to transform the ideas she draws up in illustrator into physical pieces of art and finds real importance in creating tactile objects with her own two hands. Jennifer is the founder of Threadhoney.
Have you always wanted to be an artist? What inspired you to start creating? I've always been an artistic, crafty person and in college I studied visual arts, getting a degree in graphic design. I didn't have aspirations to be an artist per se, but I stumbled into textile arts in 2014 when I had recently moved to Indianapolis and had trouble finding work. My grandma taught me how to embroider when I was a young girl and I took it up again, this time using my knowledge as a graphic designer to create my own patterns. I started an Instagram account to show off my work and had a great response of people who were interested in purchasing my work. That led me to creating my business as a textile artist.
Where do you find inspiration? Travel, books, art, movies, and music. I will get in phases where I'm very intrigued by a particular time era, or genre of music and that will inform my art for a certain period of time and then it will gradually evolve into something else.
How have you, as an artist, found your creative voice? When I first started working in textile art I would create items that referenced things from pop culture. While I enjoyed doing that it never felt like the items were 100% my own because I was relying so much on other people's ideas, phrases or images. I have found so much more joy in my textile art as I transitioned a few years ago into only creating pieces that came solely from my imagination.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or creative business people? Let yourself grow and evolve as you work. Don't think that you have to have all the answers when you first start out because there is a huge chance that what you think you want to do as an artist isn't necessarily what you end up doing. If you are interested in trying to make a living by being an artist I would recommend jumping in and then letting yourself learn along the way.
How do you build community as an artist? How has the creative community helped you grow and share your art? I have found a lot of joy and true friendships through Instagram. I started my Instagram account, Threadhoney, about 5 years ago before I built my website or launched my Etsy store. It has been great to meet fellow embroidery artists and build each other up as we continue to evolve and make new work.
What artists inspire you? Do you have any favorite blogs, artists, or social media accounts that you’d like to share? I'm currently very inspired by the following Instagram accounts: @lisa_smirnova @melanie.johnsson @sashavelour @emilytingeyart @lisajunius
What are you most excited about right now? My first book, Embroidery Now, due to be published in Fall of 2019!
What are your goals and aspirations for your business? I want to continue creating, playing, and growing. Embroidery is a very versatile medium and I don't want to become stagnant and do the same thing over and over again. I want to continue to work with different mediums as well and see how I can mix materials and techniques from other visual art forms with embroidery.
All images provided by Jennifer Riggs.