\nMeet Kelly- the artist behind Alice and Blue. We are fortunate enough to have her designs for a trunk show this month at Needlepoint.Com. Click here to view her collection and shop her designs. Read on to learn more about her! \n\n\n\nTell us about yourself Kelly! Where is home for you? \n\n\nI grew up in Vermont in a white farmhouse with a big red barn. My family periodically raised chickens, pigs, cows. It was really wonderful. In middle school, we moved when my parents built the house they live in today. They were really hands on and did a lot of the work themselves so my younger sister and I spent that summer essentially roaming the surrounding 80 acres of forest. I think this sparked my fascination with both architecture and the great outdoors. Another formative experience was hiking the Appalachian Trail when I was 19. I was really struggling with my sense of self and coming of age, so I took a semester off from the University of Vermont to hike from Georgia to Maine. It took five months and transformed me in ways I am still discovering! Experiencing rural America, particularly the South, was so educational. The accomplishment has empowered and given me confidence far beyond the boundaries of physical achievement. I went on to complete my studies at UVM as a first generation college graduate and have since earned a Master's Degree in Public Health. I work part-time locally in this field. My partner and I currently live in East Thetford, Vermont where we tend to our flock of chickens, grow vegetables, kayak, and skate ski. We are also 172 towns into our journey of visiting all of Vermont's 251 towns, known as The 251 Club.\n\n\n\nWhat was your first experience with needlepoint. Who taught you to stitch?\n\n\nWhen I was in grad school in 2018 I somehow stumbled into the fabulous corner of Instagram that is the needlepoint community. I followed a few designers simply because I liked their designs, and eventually that turned into a desire to try needlepoint. My mom is a talented quilter so I had dabbled with sewing and sporadic cross-stitching, but never needlepoint. I started sending needlepoint Instagram posts back and forth with my partner's aunt Mimi, a very talented fiber artist. When I finished classes that August, she gave me a beautiful basket of fibers and embroidery scissors as a graduation gift. Later that year, when we headed to Dorset as part of the 251 Club, I made sure we visited In Stitches so I could pick out a canvas. I chose Thorn Alexander's Leo the Lion. Maria, the owner, was an amazing resource. She actually called Mimi and they both taught me to stitch right then and there!\n\n\n \n\nWhat led you to start designing your own canvases? What is your process like?\n\nHonestly, the seed to start designing was planted that day in Maria's shop. I looked around at all of the beautiful designs and felt such an urge to try it myself! Other designers were extremely helpful, and a lot of the past few years has been diving in and putting paint to canvas to see what works and what doesn't. There are several digital applications that can help with designing but I prefer to develop a solid idea (usually when I'm trying to fall asleep) and begin painting. So much of what I love about needlepoint is that it allows me to unplug and designing digitally does not come naturally to me. Some designs take months to perfect, and others I nail on the first try in an hour or less. I love to listen to podcasts when I paint.\n\n\n\n\n \n\nWhere do you find your inspiration?\n\n\nMy surroundings! I derive so much inspiration from nature and architecture. We haven't traveled outside of northern New England in over a year which I think has resulted in a hyper focus and fine-tuned inspiration based on where I live. We are lucky to spend time off the coast of Maine in the summer. The saturated colors, textures, and scenery of Maine in August generate so much creativity for me. At home in Vermont, I dream up most new design ideas during the transition of seasons when it feels like we are seeing mud, green grass, foliage, or snow for the first time all over again. My first job out of college was at a large family-owned maple syrup company near Stowe, Vermont that purchases 60% of our state's annual syrup crop. If you shop at Whole Foods or any large supermarket, you have probably had their syrup! It was such a great job and it's fun to honor Vermont's *sweet* legacy through my collection of maple syrup canvases. I also love peeling paint and anything really old - buildings, blue glass bottles, gravestones, rusty farming equipment. Still trying to figure out how to translate these motifs to canvas!\n\nDo you have a favorite canvas in your line?\n\n\nIt's so hard to choose just one. I really try to paint designs I would personally stitch to gift or display in my home. My favorite is a brick cover that is coming out this spring\/summer! But currently I really like Sugaring Season (the gallon sized syrup tin), Zephyrs, and the Dream It Real design I stitched as part of the 2020 Our Common Thread challenge.\n \nThank you for hosting my designs this month, Needlepoint.com!\n\n\nClick here to shop Kelly's designs which are currently 20% off this month at Needlepoint.Com.