Why Embroidery? - How I became an embroidery artist

Danielle Balfoort embroidery story

Why embroidery?

While I was thinking hard about a catchy title for my first blog (yes, it's not that easy), the thought came up: Why embroidery?

Before reading, I must apologize for the long story but shortening didn't make things better 😉

I walked many paths in life before getting to my destination: Embroidery Artist! Ever since I can remember, I like to make things. It once started making a booklet about my favorite pop group, (Dutch girl band The Dolly Dots for those who remember 😊) In it came all the pictures about band members supported by corresponding lyrics. Next was my Madonna phase, and I really collected everything I could found on her (yes, I had the duvet cover and the fluorescent yellow nail polish and the sunglasses and ...) and started making my first scrapbooks with text and drawings. I also made my first collages at that time.

I was lucky to have a creative mother, she was always busy sewing clothes for my sister and me, and from the scraps of fabric I made doll clothes. They looked great! Sorry to say I don’t have any pictures of this beautiful collection.

It was no surprise to anybody when I started my school career at the fashion school in Utrecht. This was in 1988, so no social media where you were informed 24/7 of all fashion trends etc. A large portion of money earned with my part-time job was spend on wide spectrum of fashion magazines. This gave me all the inspiration of the world and helped me constructing the most beautiful hands-on assignments like making a women’s- smoking, still pretty cool these days!

My boyfriend is still complaining about the current piles of magazines but I still enjoy reading and flipping pages with a nice cup of hot tea to get the so called “inspirational flow” My stack is now filled with more arty magazines like: Lula, Sindroms, Milk and Rakesprogress and always the September issue of Vogue;)

After graduating, oddly enough, I didn't know what I wanted to do, and I ended up on a completely different path: Corporate life! And even more surprisingly: Banking! It sounds a bit weird after reading above but somehow it felt like a warm bath in that period of my life.

But after a few years of banking and law firm, my creative part started nagging again and I made the decision to give up my ‘comfortable’ working life for a part-time media styling Bachelor and part-time Visual Merchandiser job to pay the bills. Eventually I gave up being an employee and started being an entrepreneur. I performed a wide range of creative work like photography, social media specialist, vibe manager and even some commercial text writing but to be honest I felt I wasn’t there yet...

Besides my ambiguous career aspirations, we made a bold decision and moved to a small town in NL called Schagen. Here is where I made a huge turn towards embroidery. Since I was making effort to meet new people in this part of NL, I picked up an old hobby of mine: Sewing. A great way to meet like-minded creatives and expand my circle of friends. Never imagined this was a big turning point in my professional career. To make a long story short: via my sewing teacher I got introduced to a beginners’ course on haute couture embroidery. I always thought embroidery was only about cross stitching, how wrong can you be! The big fashion houses like Chanel and Dior have complete departments with embroidery specialists who truly perform magic.

After the beginner’s course I was hooked and started following other courses and ended up doing a year tutorial program which grounded me as an embroidery professional. I had magnificent days with other embroidery enthusiasts and slowly but steady discovered the world of embroidery: sourcing materials, different techniques, styles, more education opportunities and a whole bunch of international colleagues who are into this craftsmanship as well.

My last training was at the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) in London, I had two amazing weeks with international like-minded people and we fully discovered the shiny world of Gold Work, you can see the result in my latest series of work titled ‘Transformation’ 

But the greatest thing about writing this blog at the moment is to share my love and enthusiasm about embroidery with YOU. If you read this, my website will be live, I'm busy with new embroidery and my journey telling embroidery stories has begun…

Let me end with my favorite phrase related to embroidery: “BEAUTIFUL THINGS TAKE TIME TO GROW”

Hope to see, meet, or hear you soon, let’s stay in touch:

  • Want to receive updates on my latest embroidery stories? Subscribe to my newsletter
  • Questions or want to collaborate with me? Love that! Just send me a message: info@daniellebalfoort.com
  • There is much more embroidery art to see on my Instagram and You Tube, see you there!

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