Art itself has grown into an immense industry, allowing for new formats to emerge almost every day. Embroidery, not a new art form in any way mind you, has taken a new creative twist here in Cape Town thanks to some of the wondrous creations by skilled stitch-master, Danielle Clough.
Raised in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs, Danielle was exposed to fabrics and design from a young age. After studying Art Direction and Graphic Design at Red & Yellow, Danielle steadily placed herself in a niche market and took the entrepreneurial plunge to sell her services and ‘colour-confident’ embroidery concepts.
What inspired you to take up embroidery?
My mom taught me how to sew when I was a kid, so I’ve always had needles and threads and fabrics around me. While I was studying, to make money, I would make custom plush toys for people. And then, while I was working for this gallery, through a sequence of…not events, but mistakes and opportunities, I ended up sowing this picture of a rabbit and I really enjoyed it. So, I tried it again. Then somebody asked me to do a live painting for them at a pop-up soup restaurant, and I didn’t really know what to do and I realised I can’t paint. So, I told them to have a look at my blog and see if there’s anything they like, and one of the pictures happened to be an embroidery I did of a portrait and they just loved it. So yeah, it all happened through a sequence of mistakes and opportunities. (smiles)
What 3 characteristics, in your opinion, should every entrepreneur possess?
- Timeliness, being able to tell someone when you’re going to deliver and actually being able to deliver within that time scape.
- Good manners, because you’re dealing with people the whole time, whether you’re trying to get something from a manufacturer, supplier or your customer.
- Communication, to be able to read people and understand what they’re trying to tell you as a client, instead of you just doing your own thing. Also, being able to communicate your boundaries, like availability.
What is the greatest career struggle you have faced?
I think it’s a sense of worth and confidence. It’s one of my greatest struggles, the guilt that comes with feeling like you’ve not delivered the best you can. What I tend to do is spread myself very thin between the things I am passionate about (design, photography, live visuals and embroidery). With different jobs and projects happening all at once I sometimes feel that I don’t give them the energy they require. And that all effects my self-confidence at the end of the day. This struggle is easy overcome and Im able to feel grateful for what I have achieved with love and support from friends and family.
If you could travel back in time, what one piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Save your money…that’s it.
Are you an animal lover, if yes, which one is your favourite and why?
Yes! I love birds. I think they’re so weird, and they’re just the strangest characters. They all have personalities, they’re just really entertaining in the way that they move.
What are your top 3 favourite spots in Cape Town?
- Deluxe Coffee Works on Roodehek Street, it is opposite the house I used to live in and I used to go there every day…it’s just so homely to me.
- Sins of Style, which is a tattoo shop on Buitenkant Street. It’s my boyfriend’s shop, so it has lots of friends and it’s a really cool environment to just hang out.
- My studio! I’ve got a studio in town, its my first ‘own’ space and it’s like my heaven. I have all my porcelain cats there and plants and hoops hanging from my wall…it’s my favourite place.
If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
Ricky Gervais, because he is just so amusing. I think he’s funny and I like his views on animals and religion. He’s just such a peculiar person, and he also seems very assertive, which I think I’d probably enjoy. It feels like he would just tell you stuff and you’d be so educated by the end of dinner.
Your vote: beer or wine?
You can contact Danielle for your own custom design through her website: danielleclough.com
You can also check out her photography skills on fianceknowles.tumblr.com
Or follow her on Instagram at @fiance_knowles
Text: Andy Moller
Answers: Danielle Clough
Photographs: Danielle Clough