Heading to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace last year we were on the lookout for some cool new designers to feature on SewandSo. We all came back talking about the same people…Oz & Belle.
We are so excited to now be stocking Oz & Belle embroidery kits on SewandSo and wanted to share a little bit of info about them because they are pretty awesome ladies.
They have been teaching art and textiles for over ten years and stitching since they were old enough to hold a needle. Meet Gina and Sarah, the co-founders of ‘Oz and Belle Embroidery’.
Describe yourselves in three words
Mothers (or as Gina would say, mams, she’s Northern!), embroiderers, teachers, mates (sorry this is four!).
Where did the idea for Oz and Belle come from?
Sarah – We’ve worked together for over five years and during that time became really good friends. We both teach art and textiles up to A Level and absolutely love it, we get to work with wonderfully creative people every day. We found out we were pregnant at a similar time and that our babies were due within weeks of one another, we are now the proud (albeit exhausted!) Mums of two adorable three year olds, the Oz and Belle after whom our company is named!
Gina – Life is hectic, if you are a parent or not, embroidery is an incredible way to achieve mindfulness. Since having our children we have realised how important it is to take time out for yourself. As a result of this we started to run wellbeing workshops for young people and adults where we would provide a screen printed drawing on fabric and encourage people to use thread to ‘colour in’ the pictures. Stitching in this way is great for grounding you in the moment and allowing your brain to switch off.
Sarah – From these workshops came the idea to create ‘kits’, we wanted to share our love of embroidery with people, and make it as easy as possible for individuals to get started. Everything you need is in one place, there is a handy guide, printed design and you can follow our suggestions or be as creative as you like!
What can we expect from an Oz and Belle Embroidery kit?
Gina – Oz and Belle Embroidery kits contain everything you need to stitch your own unique piece of art. Needles, threads, hoop, design and stitch guide.
Embroidery makes us feel relaxed and recharged and it is our hope our customers enjoy the process as much as the finished product.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Sarah – Inspiration for our kits comes from so many places, a lot of our word inspired kits come from phrases which inspire us or mean something to us. We also see these phrases being used as finished pieces which people will have up in their homes to continue spreading positivity.
Gina – Our children have also been a great source of inspiration, as you might imagine from two passionate embroiderers their rooms are already covered with embroidery hoop art, inspiration for which comes from what they are into, motifs have included, dinosaurs, tractors, unicorns, robots, rainbows and fairies.
What is your favourite kit?
Sarah – Our 3 Cacti kit is definitely the most popular amongst customers and we don’t blame them as it’s a gorgeous design!
Gina – My favourite has got to be ‘with love’, I love the patterns and the colours in it. Sarah designed this and it is one of her least favourites. She keeps trying to take it out of the collection but I won’t let her!
Sarah – My favourite kit is ‘be kind‘ – I think in this world if you are going to be anything be kind. In difficult situations I use this phrase as my moral compass and it’s something that we always speak about with Oz and Belle. This one is designed by Gina, I have it up in my home in Oz’s room.
What has been the best moment since starting your company?
Gina – We decided to start our business under a year ago and managed to get a stand at The Knitting and Stitching Show in London. We put every ounce of energy and money we had into this show and it turned out to be amazing for us. We met the most incredible people who shared our passion for stitch and loved our kits. We heard wonderful stories of people’s histories with embroidery, their relationships with mothers, grandmothers, sons and daughters and the bond formed over this brilliant craft.
Can you describe your creative process?
Sarah – We start off in ‘meetings’ were we discuss the ideas for drawings buzzing around in our heads, this leads to lots of mood boards and the process of sketching begins. For each finished kit design there has been many sketches, we always love each others’ designs but we are our own critical enemies! Sketches then get turned into test embroidery pieces where we will test out different stitches and colour themes. Sometimes we have worked on what feels like hundreds of sketches to only realize that the drawing just hasn’t worked as an embroidery piece – this is oddly heartbreaking!
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Sarah – We hope you enjoy our kits and feel free to make them your own. We’d also like to thank our children, families, and the wonderful community of crafters we’ve met along the way for being so supportive.
Head over to SewandSo today and shop the whole Oz & Belle range, before I get in there and stitch them all for myself!