Stitching an Etsy career via Kanye
Twitter has helped launched the careers of countless artists whose tweets have landed them book deals, stand-up performances and Internet notoriety. But for artist Amy Sheridan, 37, of Santa Maria, Calif., its other peoples tweets that have helped her become a rising star on Etsy.
Over the last two months Sheridan has sold 27 limited edition stitched and framed tweets from rapper Kanye West, one of the most popular and self-absorbed personalities on Twitter. His tweets were the perfect opportunity combine a historic art form with a budding blogging platform, Sheridan told the Daily Dot in an email.
“Social media has become a huge part of our daily lives and, for me, art is usually a reflection life,” she said. “I think people will always appreciate something handmade—to know that a piece wasn't created in a factory, or spit out by a machine, to know that something tangible was handled and created by a person—whether it's a hand-knitted scarf, the perfect Polaroid shot or a hand-stitched tweet, that makes it even more special.”
Sheridan has been a long-time Etsy member who credits her 12-year-old son and husband with keeping her “apprised of all the cool things in the world.” Her Etsy store sells artsy photos and stuffed animals, but its Sheridan’s Huffington Post-famous stitches that have flooded her inbox with requests and left her “feeling extremely lucky and grateful.”
Daily Dot: What inspired you to start stitching tweets? And of all the Twitter personalities out there, why Kanye?
Amy Sheridan: I decided to stitch my first tweet because I'd never seen it done before. I thought it would be funny to mix something new (tweets) and something old (embroidery).
There was never a question of who I was going to stitch. I’'m a huge Yeezy fan and his tweets play jump rope with the line between sublime and ridiculous. I don't know if Kanye or any of his people have seen the tweets, but I'm guessing he's way too busy being awesome to give half a second of attention to a geeky girl with some needles and thread.
DD: How long have you been stitching?
Sheridan: I've only been stitching for a couple of years. I've always done creative stuff, but I'd never given embroidery a thought until I was introduced to the world of subversive stitching by my friend, Shannon Genova-Scudder (gigglymama on etsy). She does these unbelievable stitched portraits and she really opened my eyes to the fact that embroidery isn't a craft that's exclusively for grandmas anymore.
Every single stitch of these is done by hand. By my hand. Until my husband lets me turn the garage into a workshop and I figure out where to hire elves, I'm strictly a one-woman operation.
DD: How long does a tweet stitch take? How has business been since the HuffPo shout-out?
Sheriedan: If I'm extremely focused and hopped up on caffeine, I can do one and a half in a day. Two if I eschew household chores and basic hygiene. With the attention my stitching has gotten in the past couple of weeks, the number of requests I've gotten (and sales of other stuff in my shop) has exploded. Pre-tweet attention. I was selling one or two pieces a month. Now it seems like I spend half my time at the post office and half my time answering emails (which is great, I'd much rather have too much work than not enough.)
DD: Did you ever expect people to really take to stitched tweets? How does all the attention feel?
Sheridan: When I stitched the original, I hoped that people would like it—I'm an artist. Of course my fragile little ego craves validation, and I would have been thrilled with 10 or 11 comments on Tumblr or Flickr, but to see so many people posting it and liking it was... amazing and bizarre and wonderful, to say the least. I didn't expect that much feedback, but I think it all goes to prove the power of Kanye.