Andrew Johnson creates his pieces using a skill called Embroidery Digitizing. Once he sketches and colors an image, he then imports it into an Art and Stitch program. Using this program as a tool, he builds the design stitch by stitch, essentially directing the path of the sewing machine needle. With this technique, he can create texture with density, layers, and stitch direction. He thinks of the process as painting with stitches. On average, he places 20,000 stitches per design. This process can take up to ten hours for a design. Once complete, he then transfers the design to his sewing machine which sews it according to how he placed the stitches. Each image is sewn in limited edition.
The backgrounds are hand painted in acrylic on fabric.
Andrew makes all his own frames. Most of them are made from bits of reclaimed wood. The distressed texture and color of the wood is exactly how he finds it. He sands, stains and then seals the frames with tung oil.
Andrew got involved with embroidery many years ago when he took his first professional job as a production artist at a small company that provided embroidery design on garments. Later, he worked at a larger apparel company as a Technical Embroidery Designer. At one of the company art shows, he combined one of his whimsical sketches with his embroidery process. He won an award and was gobsmacked to say the least! Shortly after, he started selling his work in gift galleries and Art Fairs. He left his corporate job in early 2008 to pursue his art full-time and hasn't looked back since.
He has loads of fun making his pieces. He gets inspiration from many things, places, animals, and people. He gets lots of inspiration from his three kitties. Ideas come to him at strange times. Sometimes a title comes before a sketch. Other times it may take him ages to title something. He sketches all of the time. Andrew always brings his sketchbook with him when he travels.
Andrew thanks his lucky stars every day that he can make a living selling his work. And that people are kind enough to buy it!