Jenny Hart, Sublime Stitching and the Art of Embroidery

| 12/4/2012 3:10:00 PM

Jenny Hart didn’t learn to sew until she was an adult, so it’s a lucky fluke that her original embroidery is on display through February 3 at Washington’s Smithsonian American Art Museum in the 40 Under 40 Exhibition, a show recognizing 40 top artists under the age of 40.

Jenny Hart, founder of Sublime Stitching
Jenny Hart called on extensive fine arts training to create edgy designs for her embroidery company, Sublime Stitching. Photo By Kenneth B. Gall.

“My background is in fine arts,” says the Los Angeles-based embroidery artist. “I didn’t grow up sewing. Needlework wasn’t part of my generation.”

Jenny learned embroidery during a stressful time in her life. When her mother returned from the Mayo Clinic after breast cancer surgery, Jenny, then in her mid-20s, spent time at her family’s rural Illinois home. She’d always liked the look of embroidery and decided to give it a try. “My mom knew how to do it,” Jenny recalls. “I thought it would be interesting to play around with it.”

Iggy Pop embroidery
An example of Jenny Hart's embroidery portraiture. Photo Courtesy Jenny Hart.

Once her mom demonstrated the basics, Jenny was a convert. “It became very therapeutic,” she remembers. “I thought you had to have so much patience to do embroidery, but it was very calming and peaceful. I became addicted to it. I got upholstery burns on my elbows.