Sarah Becvar’s embroidered greetings

Joe Cunningham profileJoe Cunningham profile

English artist Sarah Becvar creates beautiful freehand machine-embroidered artworks and greeting cards featuring imagery inspired by the rural area in which she lives. “I am based in the beautiful countryside of East Sussex, in the South East of England. I am close to the South Downs National Park and a half an hour drive to the coast,” Sarah explains. “I have always lived in the countryside – growing up on a dairy farm – and have therefore always been surrounded by nature which is an immediate inspiration to me.”


Sarah has been creating freehand embroidery on her sewing machine since she was 16. “I first started machine embroidery with the help and encouragement of some wonderful teachers at school,” Sarah recalls. “I continued to sew in my spare time while studying textile design at college and after that when working as a print designer for a large, local furnishing company.”


In 2001 Sarah launched her own business making predominantly embroidered greeting cards. “I have always made my own greetings cards (from a young age!) so it was a natural progression to start using my embroidery on the cards and this eventually led me to create a collection which I took to local shops!” Sarah details. “I started sewing onto ribbons which was very unusual at the time, some of which were only 1cm in width so my designs were very tiny! Larger, square cards then became popular and my narrow ribbon was out of proportion so it led me to start sewing directly onto the card blank itself.” Sarah’s designs are created with cotton fabrics and free machine embroidery that is applied straight onto the card. “All my embroidery work is stitched freehand on a sewing machine. I would love to be able to hand embroider but I am drawn to the speed of freehand embroidery and the fact that it is very similar to drawing – creating stitches in a very fluid manner, as if I’m drawing with thread.”


Speed is of the essence when creating handmade items to sell for a living. “Most of my day is spent at my sewing machine!” Sarah smiles. “However, I have to be very organised with my time so I can fit in the other essentials of running a business such as designing, accounts, photography, and updating my website.”


What began for Sarah as a range of giftcards has grown over the years to include embroidered artwork, makeup bags and pouches. “Having sketch books full of floral studies and paintings I wanted to incorporate these into my work somehow, so last year I produced a small range of silk scarves which have proved to be very successful,” Sarah says proudly.


Sarah’s work is represented by an agent. “I have a greetings card agent, based in London who exhibits at large trade fairs,” she explains. “This is where I find many of my trade customers such as gift and stationery shops and galleries across many parts of the UK. I have found that Instagram has helped me enormously spreading my work across the world and I now have customers from Australia to the States!”


Commissions are also an important aspect of Sarah’s business. “I love working on commissions for customers as each is unique and personal to them,” she says. “I have stitched everything from beautiful Norwegian landscapes to dogs, flowers and birds. Some are more challenging than others but I enjoy a challenge and it stretches me creatively. I also make wedding stationery for customers which is a really lovely thing to do as your wedding invites are generally the first thing that your friends and family see that gives a hint of your big day. It is lovely that my work can symbolise this and it is very rewarding.”


In January this year Sarah began running her own workshops. “It’s been very exciting teaching people to create some of their own projects using freehand embroidery!” Sarah says excitedly. “I run them every couple of months and have four booked throughout the rest of the year from making floral notecards, to embroidered zipped pouches!”


You can visit Sarah’s website or follow her on Instagram @sarahbecvardesign


Patchwork Quilt 2012New York Beauty, 2015
Patchwork Quilt 2012New York Beauty, 2015
Patchwork Quilt 2012

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