Friday, August 26, 2011

Spreading Good Cheer GIVEAWAY August and Etsy Pick of the Week :: sometimesiswirl

Swirling Garden

Yes, after the long hiatus, the Etsy Pick is back!

This week, I bring you a wonderfully talented little lady by the name of Sarah Hennessey, who draws and doodles as a first love, but also embroiders her creations (yes, yes, you can tell i have a certain bias affinity towards embroiderers hehe). Her pen ink drawings remind me of a dear childhood friend D. D once doodled (beautifully) all over a photo frame, included a picture of us and gave it to me as a birthday present. I still have it to this day, even though she presented it to me 12 years ago (OMG!)

But back to Sarah, of the Etsy store sometimesiswirl. I looked through her Flickr account and I'm so much more in LOVE with her drawings now. I know i should include more pictures of her ink drawings, but I really love how her designs translate so well into embroidery! See it for yourself in the pictures below. Or you can check out her flickr too!


1. When and how did you begin drawing / doodling, and what is your background?

I was drawing and doodling ever since I could hold a pencil, it seems. As a young child, I loved coloring books (always tried to rope a parent into coloring with me), and in elementary school, I was constantly doodling little abstract designs in my notebooks, on the back of my left hand, in sketch books at home, everywhere. I did also take art classes in grade school and high school, and in college, I majored in Art History. For my major, I was required to take a handful of studio courses, so I do have experience with drawing, design, painting, and fibers from college.

Embroidered Rainbow Flower Garden

2. You sell prints of your illustrations, but also embroider them as well. Why do you choose embroidery over other methods of presenting your illustrations?

I just decided to try embroidery one day, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I didn't even have a set idea or object in mind, and naturally, the composition that started to take shape resembled one of my illustrations - while it wasn't perfect, I was surprised by the fact that the piece turned out halfway decent, so I just continued to sew my designs. Through a lot of trial and error, I've found that I absolutely love embroidering. It's incredibly relaxing, and I think my designs translate naturally to fabric and thread. I'm still able to capture quite a bit of detail by separating out a smaller number of strands from the embroidery floss, and there are endless possibilities with color, so I think that helps too.

Black and White with Rainbow Flowers Oval Embroidery HoopBlack and White with Rainbow Flowers Oval Embroidery Hoop
My favorite!

3. What are some your influences and sources of inspiration for your illustrations?

I have always found myself gravitating toward mehndi, floral textile patterns, but at the same time, I love really modern and simple design, too. I absolutely love the early drawings of Paul Klee (anything by him, actually). I also love the automatic drawings of Andre Masson. Other illustrators who inspire me: Heinrich Kley, Kay Nielsen, Hannah Davies, Alphonse Mucha (love art nouveau), Hannah Firmin, Nadia Flower, Yellena James. Oh I could go on forever...

Green Embroidered French Knot Color Study by Sarah Hennessey
French knots are fun!

4. Do you have a favorite piece, or a special story about an illustration to share?

I will always have a soft spot for this drawing (see below), as it's the first thing I listed in my etsy shop when I first opened it, and it very much inspired most of my other "swirl" drawings that came after it. I have really loved coming up with different variations of the weird, abstract garden scenes I draw - they all kind of derive from this one.

bnw original

5. Do you have a day job, or do you do this full-time? Can you share a few tips towards your success?

I do have a full-time day job at a university, so I must do all-things-etsy after hours. I recently did a blog post imparting my most important advice, and you can find that here. If I had to pick some really quick tips, I'd say take photography very seriously, and have an established/experienced seller critique your photos and shop listings. Also, network network network - In person AND throughout the etsy community (or, in whatever artistic/creative community you belong). As soon as I joined some incredible teams on Etsy, I really challenged myself to improve my shop. Also, being on a team provides an incredible support system.


swirl notecards

And here is the giveaway for the month of August! One lucky reader will win a set of 5 Abstract Flower blank notecards (pictured above) if you:

1. Leave a comment below
2. Go to Sarah Hennessey's Facebook page and 'Like' it
3. Tweet (@punkychewster) about the giveaway
4. Follow my page

Leave a separate comment for each of the above. PLEASE include your email address when leaving an entry below so I have a way of contacting the winner. Giveaway ends Friday, Sept 2nd, 2011, 11:59PM EDT. International readers are welcome as usual, and a random winner will be picked!

Alrighty! Have fun and happy weekend!


  1. Aww, thanks for sharing Sarah's work, it's beautiful!! ...I follow you :)

  2. I love her work! jgentry at shaw dot ca

  3. I love embroidery, these are quite lovely! I have never tried it myself, but this inspires me to try it out too. :)

  4. Great and inspiring interview. Very talented:)

  5. ooo so pretty! i love the embroidery! :)

  6. i went to her page and liked it!

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Sarahs work is almost as pretty as her. Katelyn1116 at yahoo dot com

  9. I already like her fb. Katelyn1116 at yahoo dot com

  10. Tweeting now. Katelyn1116 at yahoo dot com

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