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Let Me Introduce You to ... Diana Pops

An interview by Helen Bartel, 2020.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself, where you grew up, childhood interests, job, etc?
Hm. A bit about myself. My parents moved here from Ontario when I was 6 months old to open my dad's chiropractic office. 
Well, I am a full time artist. I make fine jewelry commissions for all kinds of occasions. What sort of makes my work unique is that I work very closely with my clients, taking lots and lots of notes about their life, interests, relationship milestones, etc. and then design pieces that tell their story in meaningful ways using symbolism and form. So, it's kinda almost like a portrait of symbolism. Growing up, I was always a dreamer, writing little stories about mysterious lands I made up or designing princess-y dresses for myself. 
Imagine my delight that, as I grew, I realized that most of the wonders in my head were to be found somewhere in the world. This fostered in me a deep love for history, and particularly, the history of beautiful objects. The "why" and "how" of beautiful things is a language I am always studying. First, it was a career in songwriting (a bit of which I still do), now, it's forging metal and setting gems, and stitching. 
How did you get into embroidery? 
And how long have you been doing embroidery?

I'll answer these two questions together as they are really linked in my story.
I started embroidering 7 months ago, when my baby girl was born. She came early, via emergency C-section. I had severe pre-eclampsia and was staying in hospital during COVID, not allowed visitors. It was a pretty frightening time for my husband and I. When baby and I were finally allowed to go home, I found myself feeling a lot of anxiety and needing an outlet for that. I just started stitching. It was my plan to just do a little sampler with sewing thread, just to keep busy while I was immobile, but, I became obsessed. I dove deep into learning stitches and the history of stitches and techniques, and just haven't stopped since! 
Where do you find your inspiration?  
I find a lot of inspiration in nature, in the form and texture of the stitches themselves and in the idea of telling a story in the work. I want for my pieces to invite you in, to feel warm and welcoming, like you're discovering a secret. Of course, I am quite new to embroidery, but that is what I aspire to! 
What types of embroidery have you tried and what forms of embroidery do you want to try?
I've tried a few kinds of embroidery styles. Really, I'm trying to establish my own style as an artist, so I focus more on learning individual stitches to add to the "stitch rolodex in my brain". I guess my style could be called modern stumpwork? It's really just a mix of whatever my hands and head decide on a piece to piece basis. 
The reason I love embroidery is the same reason I love metalsmithing. It's an ancient craft with literally thousands of techniques you can learn. I love the idea of any craft that has so much history that it will allow you to learn forever! I am really drawn to learning Hardanger, as it strikes a note with me due to my Dutch heritage. I would also love to explore more and more complex goldwork embroidery techniques over the coming years. To be honest, I want to learn it all! 

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