My name is Rachel Pruett, and I create hand-embroidered jewelry and wall wear for my shop, Poppy and Fern. I live in Austin, Texas, with my husband and our two kids, one of the feline kind and one of the canine. Our cat Meeka is never far away once the stitching starts.
I have always enjoyed creating with my hands. Both of my grandmothers were creative and they taught me how to embroider, sew, and knit. In high school, I took photography classes and was hooked after my first trip to the darkroom. I went to college for fine art photography and honed my visual craft. After college, I decided against pursuing a career in photography. I took another path and taught pre-K, where I loved being around the raw creativity and energy of children.
While teaching I dreamed of having my own creative business, but I didn’t know what it would be. I used so many different processes and never felt supremely passionate about just one. I was making jewelry with vintage brass components, but didn’t feel that I found my creative voice. One day I was rummaging for brass pieces in a shop I frequent here in town when I came across a vintage teardrop frame. I envisioned an anchor inside of it, and couldn’t wait to get home to embroider it. That is when I finally felt I had found my creative niche. Shortly thereafter, a shop in town contacted me about selling my work. That was just what I needed to give me enough confidence to pursue my new passion. Six months later, I put in my two week’s notice as a teacher and have been pursuing my business full time ever since.
I am inspired by the animals I love and the beautiful things I find around me. The wildflowers were in full bloom this past spring, so that inspired my spring line. Many times my creative process begins with the frames I find. I have a running list of designs I want to embroider, but I want the frame to complement the design so I wait until I have a perfect match. It is so satisfying when I find the perfect frame for a design – finding new frames keeps me creatively challenged. I find that I stitch better than I sketch, so most of the time I dive right in to stitching. Once I have an idea, I free-hand embroider the piece. No two pieces are exactly the same. Each is unique, just like the person wearing it or the wall that it hangs from.
I love that I am using a time honored process and breathing some new life into it, one quirky animal portrait at a time. Hand-embroidery need not only adorn a wall, it can hang close to one’s heart. I find so much joy in creating a piece stitch by stitch. I have never been the quickest at finishing things, so I find the slower process suits me. I enjoy working on a miniature scale and adding as much to the design as I can. I have become quite adept at adding tiny details, and am passionate about perfecting each piece.
Having my own business has stretched me in so many ways. I have had to be more organized and manage my time more efficiently. I don’t know if I will ever quite master those skills – I am quite messy and disorganized by nature. I have learned that I work well under pressure and that deadlines are my friend. I am a better communicator and have faced many of my fears. I now feel a need to finish creative endeavors, whereas before I could leave a project undone for a while. My business has grown and changed me. I look forward to seeing where it takes me and how my work evolves as time goes by.
My grandmother encouraged me to continue creating and I think creativity is meant to be shared. I wanted to be a part of a community of people that enjoyed creating, buying and promoting the handmade and Etsy allowed just that. I am inspired by other makers to keep pushing the limits of my craft. I love having a way to connect to people that find the beauty in hand-embroidery and sending my work into the world for others to enjoy. I cherish every handmade piece that is given to me because there are memories attached to them, and I am honored that something that I make can do the same thing for others.