Our tête-à-tête this month is with the sweet and talented Laura Rock of @stitchrockdesigns. I first came across Laura's Instagram a couple of years ago when she introduced llamas in different colors and alpacas with floral headpieces, all of them just adorable. As what happens in the Instagram needlepoint community, we occasionally starting sending each other DMs, sometimes complimenting each other's work, asking questions and recommendations, and from there, Laura is someone I now consider a friend and someone whose work I admire quite a bit. Her use of color and her attention to detail is evident throughout all her pieces. I hope you enjoy getting to know a bit more about her.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your needlepoint background, how and when did you learn to needlepoint, and when did you start painting your own canvases?
My mom taught me to needlepoint my senior year of college. She also started to needlepoint in college and gave me a baseball ornament canvas to stitch for my birthday, as I had just completed an internship for the Mens’ College World Series. I come from a crafty family- my mom, aunt, and cousin all needlepoint, and between us, we’ve tried a variety of other crafts like knitting, beading, sewing, and crewel. I like needlepoint the most, because it has the most options for things you can make with it, and I love that it can be an heirloom piece for families to treasure.
In the fall of 2018 I decided I really wanted a cactus shaped ornament for my Christmas tree, but I couldn’t find one online or in a needlepoint store. I spontaneously bought some paint and brushes at a craft store and ordered canvas to paint one for myself and loved painting it so much, I started building a mini collection of items. I posted a few photos of my canvases on social media and was encouraged by friends and family to open an online store. I opened an Etsy store a few months later that I thought would be a creative outlet and a way to make a little extra fun money. My store gained a lot of traction and two years later, it’s my full-time job with a new website, 65 designs, and 5 needle minders in my collection! Ironically, I still haven’t stitched that cactus ornament, but it’s high up on my list of things to complete!
2. You recently came out with a pink cactus to go along with your pink Christmas tree, can we expect other pink themed canvases?
Yes! Dusty pink is my favorite color and I was inspired by the ceramic trees with lights from the 50s. The pink tree is my best selling canvas and I have a few accompanying canvases coming out later this summer! I have a pink cactus ornament coming out this month that is the same color as the pink tree, as well as a number of pink and turquoise holiday items that will be out this fall in the same color palette as the pink tree, including clutches, ornaments, and coasters!
3. You have the cutest llamas and alpacas, tell us a bit about how and why you started designing them.
A few years ago, my family stopped at a local alpaca farm in Nebraska on our way to an event nearby. The farm owners allowed us to pet, feed, and take pictures with the alpacas and I became smitten. It evolved to an alpaca/llama adoration and they’re now my favorite animals other than my dog, Augie! Larry the Llama was one of my first canvases and initially came in purple, yellow, and turquoise. I started getting requests for other colors, and ended up with 13 (a full rainbow) so everyone can have the one that speaks to them the most!
4. I love your use of color; your color combinations are so happy and cheerful. How do you decide on your color palettes?
My favorite color is pink and I love it paired with turquoise or gold. I’m really inspired by bohemian themes, like flowers, cacti, dream catchers, and kilim rugs. I also love vintage decor from the 50s, and try to evoke that look with a colorful palette or unique lettering to give it a modern spin.
5. Can you tell us what’s in your stash and what are you stitching at the moment? Also, do you have a favorite canvas you’ve designed? If so, what’s the meaning behind it?
I have a few canvases I’m currently stitching in my overflowing stash right now. I’m working on the Nadia clutch, which I’m debating having finished as an acrylic tray or pillow with tassels rather than a traditional clutch. I’m also working on a lamb standup by Barbara’s Needlepoint for my mom to display next Spring, and a Point of it All alcohol bottle ornament as I am working on that will be added to a collection of beverage themed canvases, which will be finished as a bar cart garland to display around the holidays (or maybe year-round)!
I have a soft spot for the Turkish Kilim, because it reminds me of an interaction I had a few years ago that planted a seed that I could be an artist. My mom and I had stopped into a vintage kilim store in South Dakota a few years ago when we were on vacation and we had barely stepped inside when the owner asked if we were artists. My mom and I both said no (I worked in sales, my mom is a writer) and the shop owner responded with “Only two percent of the world are tree hugging artists, and it’s you” and he winked. I was asked a few more times if I was an artist over the next year in the most random places and I like to think that it was maybe the universe’s way of leading me to another career path. I now try to incorporate kilims into every collection because I have always wanted a kilim rug, but think a needlepoint kilim is the next best thing- made even better because it’s part of my needlepoint design journey!
Thank you Laura for sharing part of your needlepoint journey with us!