Tea with TCS: Clare Vickery
Mackenzie & I had just received the keys to TCS and popped into the empty storefront for the first time without a realtor. I vividly remember Mack doing a cartwheel and shouting “Woo, she is ours!" before we locked up the empty storefront and walked down the street to meet Clare.
Clare founded Oz Needle and Thread during 2020 and designs, paints, and sells beautifully hand painted canvases. Clare was one of the first designers we connect with and chatted with during the summer we were planning TCS's grand opening, and we've had a special connection with her right from the start.
We met at Willow Room for Champagne and French Fries, and Clare out-dressed M&I both rocking an amazing green vintage dress. Maybe it was her darling Australian accent, or her genuine joy for needlepoint, or perhaps her mean sense of humor, but after that we were fast friends and partners. Clare gifted M&I each a Chicago fob canvas at that dinner, and we worked with her to design a version for the shop. It has since become our very best-selling canvas (the Chicago Keyfob, of course!).
As TCS has grown, so too has our relationship with Clare and Oz Needle & Thread. Clare has taken over teaching all of our beginner classes, and many of our other classes as well. She brings her vibrant personality, sassy humor, and needlepoint expertise to each class she teaches, as any of her students can attest to.
We are so excited to announce that we are launching our first “series” style class with Clare this March. The series is titled, “Beyond Basketweave” and will teach more than 6 new stiches (stitch guide is in the process of being designed as we write!), as well as critical compensation considerations. The class will be a 3-part series, taught on a beautifully designed Oz/TCS collaboration canvas. The canvas is designed to finish into an acrylic tray, which is included in the cost of the class (as well as the finishing for the tray insert). To learn more about the class click here!
To learn more about Clare’s take on Needlepoint read our questions with her below!
When did you learn to needlepoint? What was your first project?
I started learning to sew when I was 5. I began with embroidery and then picked up needlepoint a few years later all taught by my mum. She hand-embroidered my crib sheets when I was a baby, so I've literally been swaddled in needlework since I was born. The first needlepoint project I remember stitching, and still have, is a Double Happiness pillow I stitched when I was about 12 all in tent stitch, so it is crazy warped since I never had it blocked and finished. It haunts me from a bookcase in my studio reminding me to finish all my projects. The first canvas I designed was right after high school and I made my mum a brick cover with a pineapple on top!
What has been your favorite finish?
My tooth ornaments for my kids. They are the reason I started designing! I had a crazy dream one night that I was going to lose all my children's teeth and when I woke up, I rushed to design this gingham round with a tooth in the middle and then finished it as an ornament with a pocket on the back for holding teeth or money from the Tooth Fairy. Other fave finish would be "This is the Hill I Will Die On" that La Stitcheria finished as a pouch for me.
What is the most rewarding canvas you have designed?
I take particular joy in the niche canvases I design, like the Australian themed ones or the Pride & Prejudice canvases. Obviously, I want to have lots of customers but designing something that touches a small audience of obsessives (hey Austenites and Nap Dress Nation!) or homesick Aussies makes me so happy.
What has been the most rewarding part of founding Oz Needle & Thread?
Incredibly cheesy but being a part of the needlepoint community! I have a lovely group of friends that are designers who have helped me so much with suggestions and feedback. Then there are the stitchers themselves like Jessica, Mollie, Lita, Amanda, Tracy and Helen, that are so much fun to chat to and I love having stitching friends of all different ages and backgrounds spread across the country. And then...you have to print this!...of course the community at Third Coast Stitches (editor's note: we didn't pay her to say that!). I thought I would be so lonely starting my own business, but TCS is my home away from home and you both are my baby sisters or nieces depending how generous we are being about the age gap.
Why are you thrilled for the Beyond Basketweave Series?
I can't wait to have a 3-part series to really dive in deep with a fixed group of stitchers to expand their repertoire of decorative stitches. Meeting and following up and having a whole project completed from start to finish in a couple months is awesome and who doesn't love a gorgeous acrylic tray finish! I'm obsessed with this Moroccan Tile design and I'm painting each one custom for each stitcher, so I can't wait to see what colors they all choose.
Silk & Ivory or Pepper Pot?
Silk & Ivory
18M or 13M?
Stretcher Bars or In Hand?
Needlepoint for yourself or others?
Mack or Kath?
Mack when I'm East and Kath when I'm West. ;-)
Favorite project in your stash?
Can't wait to stitch the SCT/Mrs.B Orange Blossom Brick Cover.
Stitch in Season or for Finishing Deadlines?
Neither. Just all year round and whatever takes my fancy!
If you can't get enough of Clare, join us for her Beyond Basketweave series!