This is Not Your Grandma’s Cross Stitch…

Opposites really do attract. After all, who hasn’t gone down a YouTube deep dive watching videos of rescued animals who are best friends in captivity but would be mortal enemies in the wild? While our Digital Cross Stitch challenge was already all about bringing the opposites of the modern world together with cross stitch art worthy of your G-ma’s kitchen, artist John Tibbot (@Quick_Brown_Fox) took it a step further. He weaved (pun intended) together a cross stitch crossover that combines the charm of the craft with some horror-movie-worthy darkness that all fits together perfectly. And the result is a “skull and cross stitch”, if you will, that would be home sweet home in Jason, Freddy, or Negan’s home.

Curse sweet curse! We talked to John all about how this beautiful cursed object came together (and avoided the “DON’T DEAD OPEN INSIDE” mixup of The Walking Dead…you know the one). Read more below!

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Congratulations! The last time we talked, you said the pubs were running out of beer due to the World Cup excitement. What’s new!

Thankfully, that story seemed to disappear from the news; the CO2 and beer supplies are back to normal! The World Cup was a blast! England came fourth in the end, but they did much better than most people here expected. It also had great representation in the international Threadless Community. I have Threadless friends from a lot of the countries who took part, so it was fun to have a bit of friendly banter on social media. Congratulations France, commiserations Croatia.

As for work, I’m not up to much at the moment. It’s vacation season at my day job, which brings much busier days. I tend to get burnt out during the day, leaving little left to put into my own work.

"Curse Stitch" Digital Cross Stitch winner on a tee.
Curse Stitch” on a tee.

Where did the idea for this design come from! 

When I think of Cross Stitch, things like “Bless This House”, “There’s No Place Like Home”, “Welcome To Our House” come to mind. I thought about opposites (Blessed vs Cursed etc), situations where you might not want guests, horrible things that you might say to people. I eventually started thinking about Zombie TV Shows and Horror Movies where they have “Keep Out”, “Dead Inside”, “This Place is Death” written on doors.

What was the process of learning how to do digital cross stitch design? It looks complicated! 

I’ve never done digital cross stitch before, but I approached it in a very similar way to pixel art. It’s pretty much grid-based. Maybe cross stitch is analog pixels!? I did a very quick doodle, then worked up a grid, placing single colour Xs in the grid. I wanted to keep it to a limited colour palette too, so when I’d completed the basic shapes, I just started playing around with colours. 

Maybe cross stitch is analog pixels!?

Have you ever cross-stitched non-digitally before?

Only once, in primary school. The town I live in has a lot of history, so my teachers often used that history as part of school projects. During the First English Civil War, there was a battle here between the Parliamentarians (Roundheads) and The Royalists (Cavaliers). The Cavaliers looked cooler, so I did one of them! It may still exist somewhere at my Dad’s house.

"Curse Stitch" Cross Stitch design on products.
Curse Stitch” on just a few cursed items for your home and life! Top row: framed art print, throw pillow, and large mug. | Bottom row: laundry bag, sherpa blanket, and spiral notebook. See this design on ALL the things right here!

Did you have any other ideas for this challenge?

I usually do have a few ideas for challenges, but this time I didn’t. The challenge went live on the day I went on vacation, so I just had one stab.

If you could put this in the home of one horror movie creature, character, etc., who would you gift it to?

I think this would have to go on Negan’s wall from The Walking Dead.

"Blind Faith"
Blind Faith

You won our challenge a while back for coolest-looking Artist Shop! Has your style shifted or evolved in any way since then?

I forgot about that, I still haven’t used the prize yet! I don’t think my style has changed that much since then. I’d like to have more time to spend on more complex pieces, like the playing card design I did (King of Nothing, Queen of Nowhere), or the Mona Lisa (WTFalypse LOL!), so more detailed work is definitely where I’d like to go. It’s hard to find time when you have a day job, and grown-up stuff to do. The only painting I’m doing at the moment is painting the walls and ceilings in our house.

"It's What's Inside That Counts"
It’s What’s Inside That Counts

What most inspires you art-wise?

Let me think… I recently bought a Shepard Fairey letterpress print. I love his work and he’s been a source of inspiration for many over the years. I’ve been collecting art prints since around the time I discovered Threadless. I have some that I was really lucky to score, as they’re often printed in very limited numbers. I have quite a mixed collection – from some early White Stripes handbills by Rob Jones, to an enormous Bran Stark print by Richey Beckett. I like lots of different artists. I think it’s important to be open-minded with art.

"King of Nothing, Queen of Nowhere"
King of Nothing, Queen of Nowhere” in John Tibbot’s Artist Shop.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Once again, thanks to Threadless and the community for believing in me! I never expect to get printed, nevermind win! The prize is helping to fix my car. 

Curse Sweet Curse!!

Carlyn Hill

Content & Strategy Manager at Threadless by day, dad joke aficionado, cartoonist, & contributor for sites like HelloGiggles and The Mary Sue by night. When I’m not writing or drawing, you can find me in my cave of a room hanging out with my boyfriend, Netflix.

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