Vancouver based husband and wife team Caitlin and Michael Benson set up their floral hand embroidery decor business, Cinder and Honey, in 2013. They’ve been jumping through (embroidery) hoops ever since, and everything is coming up roses.
Vintage and nature inspired, Caitlin captures the essence and beauty of each flower and offers them eternal life through her whimsical embroidery. We couldn’t wait to find out more…
1. What initially captured your imagination about embroidery?
The diversity. Embroidery truly is an art form – there are so many ways it can be interpreted. Before I started embroidery I was an avid knitter/crocheter, I always followed patterns but lacked the skills to create a pattern of my own, so for me it lacked creativity. I started embroidering so I could create a design on my own from start to finish, and create a piece of art that is truly unique. No two pieces are ever the same.
2. How would you describe your work to someone who hasn’t seen it before?
Very floral/botanical! I’m inspired by nature first and foremost. Secondly, I’m inspired by anything vintage and I try to bring a hint of that into all my work.
3. Where did your fascination for all things floral stem?
My mother keeps a beautiful large garden and in Spring/Summer she has the prettiest yard with all types of flowers blooming. I’ve always been drawn to them and I wanted to find a way other than a photograph to capture their beauty for all time! I also love to keep flowers in my own apartment to brighten up the space. Flowers always die, but embroidery lasts forever.
4. Describe your working routine – studio, kitchen table, caffeinated beverage of choice, music, silence?
Aaahhh this is a good one! I live in a very small apartment and I don’t have a large working space. My “craft area” is right next to my living room so most of the time I end up taking over half of the coffee table while I work on the couch. A full cup of coffee next to me is always a must. Most of the time I’m watching Netflix, or listening to music.
5. When are you happiest?
When the sun is shining and I have nothing planned – I love the freedom of doing things spur of the moment. That’s when the best adventures happen! I’m also happiest on a big blanket outside with some delicious snacks, my family & dog and of course my embroidery hoop!
6. We love your travelling hoop series! Do you have any plans to embroider the scenes you capture?
This has been such a fun series to work on. I do take a lot of inspiration from the scenes I capture but I don’t have current plans to embroider the exact scenes. I wouldn’t count that out as a possibility in the future though.
7. If you could be a flower what would you be?
I’d be a peony. Again, another flower in my mother’s garden. She’s been growing them every year ever since I was a child – I have fond memories of picking them and delivering them to my Granny. I even have one tattooed on my shoulder.
8. Are there any textile artists/designers that are exciting you at the moment?
So so so so many!!! I’ve been able to connect with heaps of talented artists through Instagram. To name a few, a few of my favourites are Elizabeth Pawle, Jo Fagents of Sew & Saunders and Stephanie Lapre of S.Lapre. Honestly there are so many that I love it was hard to select just a few!
9. What areas of your work or personal development are you hoping to explore further?
I want to create more one of a kind, ready to ship pieces. I also recently bought a sewing machine so I’m working on my skills in that area. I made myself a tote bag which was huge for me! I’ve always been confident with hand embroidery but not so much with the sewing machine so that is an exciting new thing for me.
10. What’s the last thing that made you say ‘wow’?
The community on Instagram – specifically other artists who create hand embroidery. It’s been such a pleasure to connect with everyone there – and there’s always been the ‘community over competition’ mentality which I love. Even though there are quite a few hand embroidery artists who sell their work on Etsy/Instagram, I’ve never felt that I’m in competition with anyone! I say ‘wow’ because in my opinion it’s rare to have this happen – and I feel lucky to be a part of it.
Cinder and Honey