Anna Hart Turner
Embroidering on unconventional materials is something Anna Hart Turner does with ease and I am so excited to share with you just a few of these works today!
Could you briefly introduce yourself and your art?
My name is Anna Hart Turner, and I make art under the name Errant Hart. I’m originally from the suburbs of Chicago, but NYC has been my home since 2013. My creative process focuses on combining hand-embroidery with unexpected materials and techniques.
Ebb and Flow 10" x 12" organza, embroidery floss, fabric, found branches, 2010
You’ve done an entire series based on embroidering sticks, how did you end up decided to pursue that? What were some of the challenges you encountered when working with such a rigid material?
There were a couple of circumstances that lead me to pursue this series: 1) a piece I made in college, 2) my current job, and 3) the 100 days project on Instagram.
1)I fell in love with embroidery in college when I took an experimental surface design course (shout-out to my professor Mary Hark at UW-Madison!). In that class, I made a piece with sticks wrapped in organza with hand-embroidery on top. That was, oh my gosh, maybe nine years ago, but I always loved that piece and wanted to revisit it and build on that idea.
2) In my current job at Kayrock Screenprinting, I work in the woodshop making frames, so I’ve become comfortable handling a drill (which was not the case before!) I started thinking of how I could embroider directly on the surface of the sticks (instead of the fabric that was wrapped around the sticks, like in my piece from college) by pre-drilling holes in them to stitch.
3)This was all around the time of the 100 days project on Instagram, so I used that prompt as a way to build momentum around this project. I won’t lie, I don’t think I followed through with a whole 100 days, but it got me started, and the positive reactions I received from the project motivated me too!
One of the challenges I encountered when working with the branches was breaking down the embroidery process into how many holes I make when I stitch and where are they in relation to one another. Sometimes I would start filling in the holes with my stitching and realize I forgot one, and then I risked drilling through my yarn and breaking it! It was also challenging to determine the thickness of the yarn to the size of drill hole ratio in order to fill in the holes enough while also allowing enough room to pull my yarn through comfortably. Some stitches require going through the same hole more than once, so I had to accommodate for that, as well as the little doubled-over yarn tail near the eye of the needle. It was cool because it forced me to break down my craft into baby steps and think about my process even more than usual.
How has your work changed over time? I feel like I’m moving towards more abstract sculptural pieces, but I also still make figurative works combining watercolor with hand-embroidery, like custom portraits for people. I’m trying to figure out how to represent these two sides of my work without looking totally out of character!
L: "Darning" 11" x 2" Yarn on found branch, 2018; R: "Cultivation" 12.5" x 3" Yarn on found branch, 2018
What role does art play in your life? Did you grow up an art kid or was that something you found later? Making art is necessary for me to feel happy, productive, and balanced. I grew up making art, and it’s always been a part of my life in different capacities. I’ve just started to realize that it’s not just something I want to do, but it’s something I need to do. It sounds cheesy, but I know I’m not alone in this sentiment.
Where do you turn for inspiration? A lot of my inspiration comes from the materials I use. My work is very process-oriented, so most of the time the materials inform what path I will take next. I also turn to nature, trips to museums/galleries, and blogs/Instagram. I’m generally drawn to anything textural.
"Daybreak" 13" x 8" Organza, embroidery floss, found branches, 2018
What else do you do besides art? I cuddle with my cat Rodarte, cook (breakfast is my favorite meal to make), listen to podcasts, explore NYC with my partner Luis, have picnics/potlucks with pals, binge Netflix (I’m only human), and play flute sometimes.
"Sunset Striation" 18" x 16" Organza, embroidery floss, found branches, 2018