WE CAUGHT UP WITH DESIGNER, EMBROIDERY ARTIST AND CRAFTY SUB CLUB GURU CHLOE-JO MCGINTY TO FIND OUT ABOUT HER STITCHING STYLE
Let Chloe-Jo McGinty’s nature-inspired designs and kits revitalise your stitching
When West Ireland-based embroidery artist, Chloe-Jo McGinty, first picked up a needle and thread in secondary school, she had no idea where her creative journey would take her. Today, not only does she run her own pattern-making business, but she also runs workshops and recently founded the highly popular Modern Maker Club subscription service, where crafters receive a box of curated crafty treats every quarter, with patterns, threads and more included. “I never thought embroidery would become my full-time job,” says Chloe-Jo. “I love what I do every single day.”
After that first project in her home economics class, which Chloe-Jo recalls was a hand-embroidered cushion, the budding maker put down her embroidery supplies and didn’t pick them up again until several years later when she was studying fine art at college.
“I would embroider in between classes as a hobby,” she recalls. “I taught myself different stitching techniques from YouTube, and I practised them every day.”
With her love for embroidery growing, Chloe-Jo started to share her makes online. Soon enough, other people began to notice her skillful designs.
“Back in 2015, I started posting the pieces I made onto Instagram, just for fun,” she says. “That was when I got my first request for a custom order. I was so nervous, but felt delighted that someone wanted me to make a unique piece just for them. After that, I decided to set up my Etsy shop and website, and things just progressed from there.”
It’s clear where Chloe-Jo’s inspiration lies. Most of her designs focus on the natural world and botanical elements, with intricate butterflies, florals and woodland animals all featuring heavily. She often uses the thread-painting technique to achieve a realistic effect, opting for a palette of natural greens, browns and blues.
“I just love to design pieces with plants and animals,” she explains. “I’m influenced by the world around me, by people, animals and colours. Ideas just seem to pop into my head, and I have so many things planned for the future. I like to think of my pieces as snapshots of everyday life, that you can put yourself into.”
When asked about the process of designing embroidery patterns for others to follow, Chloe-Jo explains that it can be a long and complicated process, but that she tries to keep her patterns accessible to stitchers of all levels.
“There are so many steps when designing,” she says. “First, I start with a sketch and map out the imagery, the composition and the colours I will be using. Then, I scan the work into my computer to tidy up the sketch. I print out the pattern and embroider the piece myself, then make any changes I feel it needs. Once I’m happy with the finished piece, I will remake it again and take step-bystep pictures as I go, to be used in the online pattern and the booklet that is included with my kits. Some designs include over 50 step-by-step photos, but I always try to
“I’m influenced by the world around me. Ideas pop into my head, and I have so many things planned for the future.”
keep them beginner friendly. I want to breathe new life into this craft and perhaps inspire generations to come.”
As well as designing and selling patterns directly from her Etsy store, Chloe-Jo also teaches others how to craft via a series of workshops, and sells her designs (both in pattern form and as finished pieces) at craft markets and as custom-designed pieces for special occasions.
In early 2020, Chloe-Jo noticed that it was hard to find modern craft subscription boxes for adults, and so decided to design one. Thus, the Modern Maker Club was born.
“Modern Maker Club is a quarterly craft box that is delivered straight to your door,” she explains. “Each box contains all the materials needed to complete several projects, plus a booklet with easy instructions and photos to show you how to create each one, from start to finish.”
Chloe-Jo carefully curates each box, using quality materials that have been sourced sustainably wherever possible. The boxes are available individually or in bundles of three, six, nine or 12 months, and are priced at around £50 each, with discounts given for multiple orders.
“Each one is inspired by the seasons,” says Chloe-Jo. “They cover a range of crafts, but I always try to include embroidery, too, as that’s my favourite craft. Oh, and every box also includes treats! Starting the Modern Maker Club is my proudest achievement so far; the feedback from customers has been amazing. The community is so great, and I hope it will continue to grow.”
With so many plates to spin, you could be excused for assuming that Chloe-Jo might want to take things easy for a while, but a new development is in the works already.
“I’m working on something very exciting at the moment – my new studio!” she says. “I will be sharing the progress of setting it all up on my Instagram, and in the future my plan is to use the space to teach online classes. I’m also working on my newest kit for the Modern Maker Club.
It’s my autumn box, which is themed around needle felting – think pumpkins, mushrooms and the colours that come at that time of year. I can’t wait to share it with you!”
See more of Chloe-Jo’s work by following her on Instagram at @ChloeJoDesigns and @ModernMakerClub, or find her patterns, kits, subscription boxes and more at www.chloejodesigns.etsy.com