Monday, 13 February 2012

10 Minutes on the Couch with Urban Cross Stitch

We are massive fans of Urban Cross Stitch and after 6 months of stalking Phil Davison the founder, he has now given in and agreed to give us an interview. Here’s Phil’s 10 minutes on the Couch.

Tell us about Urban Cross Stitch?
Firstly, I am flattered by The Couch’s enthusiasm for my work. It is an honour to be featured on your site; thank you. Urban Cross Stitch is all about “urbanising” the classic craft of cross-stitching. It is a revival of the traditional art form from a twee pastime to a more modern graphic medium. The Urban Cross Stitch kits are inspired by street art and popular culture, and contain everything required to create contemporary, hand crafted cross stitch pieces.

What makes Urban Cross Stitch different from any other cross stitch company?
Urban Cross Stitch appeals to a broader selection of individuals, from the cross stitch skeptic, who adjusts his views after appreciating our alternative designs; to the staunch traditional stitcher in search of a challenge. It is true that we have a strong fan base of younger stitchers who want to create pieces that they can proudly display, pieces that make a statement and reflect the progression of modern art and our communities. But there has also been increased interest from the more experienced stitchers who are drawn to our more intricate creations/designs.

What do you love about cross stitch?
I love that something so simple can bring about such rich results. Cross stitching is very therapeutic. It takes you away from the stresses of everyday life, and at the end of it you have a piece of art to be proud of.

Dare I ask, where do you get your inspiration from?
Libby Purves from Radio 4’s Midweek described me as "the Hitchcock of cross stitch" because I sometimes draw inspiration from my deepest, darkest thoughts. But generally, I am inspired by life, but whatever is happening around me. For example, I am presently working on a few pieces inspired by all things British, in celebration of the Queens jubilee.

Which has been your most popular pattern?
This may come as a surprise, but our most popular pattern is the mini “bollocks” design. It caused more than a few raised eyebrows when it was released in 2008, but it has since become a regular (vulgar) visitor to our order books as it seems to have been embraced by the majority of our fans. I think it is the combination of the juxtaposition of the traditional cross stitch border with the somewhat offensive text that results in this particular design being a cross stitch cult classic. It is also a very simple design to stitch up and even the most inexperienced stitcher can craft it within an hour or two. 

Have your patterns caused controversy?
It would be an affront if they didn’t! However, the controversy is never profound and is always short-lived, as people appreciate a bit of humour; which is precisely what the so-called controversial pieces aim to achieve.

What’s the deal with Blue Moon?
Blue Moon is an American beer, which has recently been introduced to the European market. The Beer is uniquely flavoured, handcrafted, or as they say, artfully crafted. As it is not your usual run-of-the-mill beer, they wanted a unique, non-conformist artist to promote it. And who better to do so than Urban Cross Stitch!
We heard you are bringing out some new designs, what should we expect?
You can expect even more “controversy”. But in different forms: there is a new T-shirt kit range with which you can stitch up your own wearable Urban Cross Stitch projects, these range from graffiti slogans to bloody stitched stab wounds, as seen in our recently released book, Twisted Stitches..

The Couch is getting an exclusive preview of our 2012-inspired pieces. This is such a huge year for Great Britain, with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, that I have created a few designs to commemorate the occasions. These designs will be revealed to the general public very shortly.
There are also a few more exciting projects in the pipeline, so watch this space…..
They sound cool where can we buy?
All our products can be purchased directly from our website 

Oh we’re due for a work day out, do you have any more Urban Cross Stitch events coming up?
In the past two years various projects and commitments, such as releasing the Twisted Stitches book, the Blue Moon campaign and a smattering of festival appearances have taken up a lot of my time which has led to a backlog of new design ideas and sketches. This has resulted in me not having much spare time to release new designs for our loyal fans; so I am currently trying to make a dent in that backlog and get a few new kits ready for all those itching for a stitch of something new and interesting... Unfortunately this has had a knock on effect and has delayed planning the next of our now infamous Cupcakes! Cocktails! & Cross Stitch! events. But I can assure you that they haven’t gone away, they are just presently on hold.

Ummmmm…. Are you going to come to South London too? If not, we defo need to collaborate and bring something to the south Londoners…
Being based in East London as we are, we have tended to stick to our own turf for events in the past, but during the Blue Moon events we were invited to various locations around London to entertain the masses with our cross stitching craft. On these travels we did a few events south of the river which were awesome and it really opened our eyes to the variety of great bars and venues all across London.
We would definitely be up for collaborating on a few events south of the river, especially with the benefit of Craft Clubs local venue knowledge, so any suggestions or ideas are very welcome.

Could you describe Urban X Stitch in 3 words?
Unorthodox, revolutionary fun!

Finally do you have a joke or funny story to share?
I would think that most of my stories probably are not suitable for public consumption, but I will say that the last cross stitch joke I heard had me in stitches. 

Click on the box and check out Phil's book

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