Today I have a little chat with Andrea from O&Y Studio. I discovered her on instagram, and have become very enamoured with her work!
1.Please introduce yourself, and tell us what you create / your business?
I'm Andrea or Andy. I was born and raised in South Africa and moved to the USA in my twenties. I live in the beautiful Southern city of Charlotte in North Carolina.
I am the owner and designer of O&Y Studio. I hand stitch one-of-a-kind, wool-on-wool embroideries. First I crochet a circle or oval, then I mount it in a traditional, wooden embroidery hoop, and lastly, I embroider it.. The hoop becomes the frame and can be hung on a wall or rested on a shelf. I stitch mostly flowers and botanicals. I love to incorporate hand-spun and hand-dyed or painted wool yarns into my embroideries.
I've been knitting and sewing since I was 4. My mother gave me my first sewing machine at age 11 and I taught myself (and my mother) to crochet in my teenage years. When my children were small I became hooked on smocking in a big way. I made custom order children’s clothing and heirloom christening gowns. I even owned a smocking shop for a while and taught many people in Charlotte to smock and to do fine hand sewing. I went on to work in retail as a buyer and set up store displays. More recently I wanted to start a new business selling my handmade items. I had a vague idea of what I wished to create but I especially wanted it to be something unique that no one else was making. I went about scouting for embroidery hoops in vintage shops and then I started experimenting with crocheting the backgrounds. When I got those proportions right, it was time to do the fun part - the embroidery. By November of 2016, I had a collection of hoops built up so I decided to launch a website and I listed my hoops in an Etsy shop. I have been most encouraged by the nice response to my work.
I have the materials already, so I start with ideas. Flowers are my inspiration 90% of the time. The flowers I have growing in my garden inspire me. I love photographing flowers and have built up quite a library that I used this past winter when I didn’t have much blooming in the garden. Some of my flowers are realistic but mostly I love to do my own interpretation choosing the colours from the palette of the wools that I own. I have a little notebook of "Things I want to try” - colour combinations to use, different flowers I wish to stitch and other applications I would like to attempt. I have built up quite a stockpile of woolen yarns, many of them I bring back in my luggage from trips home to South Africa (from the area surrounding my family's sheep farm) or on other trips if I have time to go and find a new wool shop!
4. How relevant is social media to you and your business?
Social Media has had a lot of importance to me in my business. I've been growing an Instagram following of my @oandystudio account and most of my sales have come from there. My Facebook business page is definitely not growing in the same way, however, I have made a few sales though Facebook so I know I need to give it time, after all I’ve only been doing this for five months.
5. Would you like to add anything further?
Please consider following me in my social media and please tell me you discovered me on Emma's blog!
My Instagram account is instagram.com/oandystudio and my Facebook page is at facebook.com/oandystudio/
For more about me and my embroideries, you may check out my website and if you care to, please subscribe to my mailing list oandystudio.com
You can either access my shop through the website or through Etsy: etsy.com/shop/oandystudio
If you are a “pinner” and prefer Pinterest, I’m on there too and have a board of my hoops… pinterest.com/oandystudio/