Professionally, I'm a web designer (at Etsy!). I spend my days working in pixels, writing functions, calculating grid systems, and creating structure and order. It's amazing, fulfilling, fun work, but in the fall of 2013 I realized that I needed to balance out all of my digital work with something physical. I missed creating things that were tactile and had texture and were something that you could keep forever. Growing up, I was always hacking up t-shirts or inventing craft projects, but as an adult I had abandoned making things with my hands for making things that were pixel-perfect.
I wanted to use embroidery to find a way to bring something digital into a physical context. Embroidery makes everyone think of their grandmas (especially embroidery in hoops), but emoji are really only used by the digital elite. Embroidering a poop emoji was the most ridiculous thing I could think of. What are the generations after us going to think of an elaborately-constructed poop hanging on the wall? Only good things, I hope.
The thing about making something with your hands is that each piece looks slightly different; this started out as something that terrified me but through this project is now something that I appreciate. Embroidery is so vastly different from the work that I do for my career in the best way possible.
Each piece is hand-sewn in my apartment in Brooklyn. It's usually something I do on the weekends or when I come home from work to relax. Making one of these pieces takes the length of a train ride from New York City to Washington DC, or about 5 episodes of The Good Wife.
Here's a post I wrote about the genesis of this project: http://jessicaharllee.com/notes/emoji-embroidery-a-post-mortem/
Photos by Erin Nolan (http://madebyeno.com)
Designing, building, embroidering, snacking, lurking, dancing. Product designer at Etsy.
- Accepts Etsy gift cards
Returns & exchanges
- Custom or personalized orders
- Perishable products (like food or flowers)
- Digital downloads
- Intimate items (for health/hygiene reasons)
- To communicate with you about your order
- To fulfill your order
- For legal reasons (like paying taxes)