Wednesday, 29 October 2014

More inspiration from Mr X Stitch

Today we have some thought-provoking inspiration from Jamie 'Mr X Stitch' Chalmers, who is an amazing textile artist and passionate advocate of creative needlework. Our theme this month is 'X' and who better to motivate us than the Kingpin of Contemporary Embroidery!

People often ask me why I’m Mr X Stitch and not Mr Cross Stitch. Some people don’t seem to understand the value of X, its mystery and its power. But to me the X is critical.
We live in an age where people want us to follow the norm. The powers that be want us to be good little citizens, doing as we’re told, so that they can continue tweaking the way of the world to suit the rich and to disable the rest. To me, the X represents the counter-culture. It represents those moments where we choose to stand against the rules and do things our way. The X is man versus the system. The X is an expression of humanity, and it’s becoming more vital than ever.

I don’t think that the X is a bad thing, but by going against the norm, it’s certainly provocative. People think that because I’ve challenged the traditional stereotypes of embroidery, both through my own practice and through the work curated on my site, that I’m just interested in shock value and swearing. But there’s much more than that. Mr X is a tool for change, and there’s no denying that I can use the novelty factor to have an impact,  but for me the critical element to all of this is individual expression.

There’s a massive debate about art vs craft that has been going on for years, and it often seems to centre around which forms of product are art and which aren’t. For instance, it is generally agreed that oil painting and sculpture is art, but that cross stitch is craft. But this distinction misses the point and serves to perpetuate a class paradigm that means that Damien Hirst can charge £100000 for someone painting circles on a wall, but that people balk at paying £50 for a cross stitch that took ten hours.
My view on this debate is this:

·          If you buy a kit and follow the kit without a moment’s thought, it’s a nice hobby.

·         The minute you start paying attention to the work and adapting your process to improve the outcome, it’s a craft.

·         The minute you start adapting the content to include your own self-expression, you’re an artist.

End of story.

People ask me why I’m Mr X Stitch and not Mr Cross Stitch. It’s because I want to inspire people to do their own thing, I want everyone to find the artist within them and be more creative. Creativity is a necessary survival mechanism in a world of passive consumption of bland corporatized nonsense.  The X is the way forward. So go forth and do your own thing – let’s change the world!

How's that for motivation?! Thank you so much Mr X Stitch! You can find more work by Mr X Stitch and a whole host of info, groups and awesome stitchings on the Mr X Stitch website

We hope you are inspired to create and we would love to see your finished project that fits the theme 'X', using any medium,  in our link party that opens on 15th November. You can read the guidelines and more about le challenge here

One random winner will win a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop and your choice of 25 close ended zips from Rickety Rose Crafts!


  1. Love the evolution from hobby to art.

  2. Ooh feel as if after this motivational post I have to push the boat out

  3. Mmmm.. Lots of food for thought x

  4. This will be fun. I haven't X-stitched in quilte a few years. Thanks for the chance to win the gift certificate and zips.

  5. I also love the evolutionary path from craft to art and love your perspective Mr X Stitch

  6. Very cool post! I've been very interested in the debate of hobby vs art and am not sure it will ever be over. I watched a video series called Why Quilts Matter. The host said "all quilts are not art." But just which ones are????

  7. Great post! Creativity is life! Good point on the value of art vs. the value of craft. Are people just looking at a name or are they looking at skill/work?


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