Sugar & Thread Creative Collective

Sugar & Thread Creative Collective features Sydney Moore, who creates subversive cross stitch and baking; Karen Dingwall, who makes canned goods and preserves; and Kelly Osgood, a photographer who creates printed cards.

Sydney Moore:

How did you first become interested in cross stitch?

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My mom did cross stitch when I was a kid, so I grew up watching her, and she eventually started buying me cross stitch kits to work on. I loved the idea of creating pictures with thread, and art made on a grid really appealed to me. I can't draw or paint to save my life, but if you follow a pattern in cross stitch, you're going to have a beautiful picture at the end no matter what. I've been cross stitching for 17 years, and I started embroidering just last year.

Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?

I love using pop culture references in my art. I have a note in my phone that is just quotes I get from music, tv, movies and even friends. The juxtaposition of vintage style cross stitch or embroidery with modern rap lyrics is one of my favourite pieces to do.

Do you remember the first piece you ever cross stitched?

It might not have been the first piece I ever stitched, but I remember the first piece I ever finished was a little Christmas tree ornament with Winnie the Pooh and Piglet on it. I was about nine years old when I finished that one.

Cross stitch might typically be viewed as something for older generations – do you believe it’s making a comeback with younger age groups? If so, why?

Fibre art is definitely making a comeback! The more current and relevant version of needlework is Subversive Cross Stitch or Embroidery. One of the more popular designs is "Please don't do coke in my bathroom". Swear words and insults are really popular right now too. There has also been a surge in people using fibre art as a means of protest, or speaking their mind about political matters. There was recently a huge auction on Instagram where artists auctioned off a few hoops and donated all the money to supporting families who had been separated at the border. It's a really amazing community to be a part of.

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Aside from cross stich, you also make baked goods. What are some of the items that you bake?

My husband does the baking, and he loves making bread. He loves to pick something new from one of his cookbooks every week so he's not making the same thing over and over. So far this year he has made sourdough bread, cinnamon sugar beignets and mini chocolate chip cookies.

What is your favourite aspect about taking part in farmers’ markets?

I joined this farmers' market to spend more time with family. My mother-in-law wanted to sell her jars and invited me to join her. I love getting to spend a few hours out in the sunshine with family and friends every week.

Karen Dingwall:

How long have you been preserving and canning and how did it become something you’re interested in?

I've been canning for about five years. I can't remember what sparked my interest, but I took a couple of seminars on how to can and then started with peaches from the Okanagan. I enjoy trying new recipes and finding products that people really enjoy. Canning is a creative outlet for me.

What types of canned goods and preserves do you sell?

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This summer I'm focusing on pickles, chutneys, and bbq and applesauce. 

Which is your personal favourite?

My favourite is the Cinnamon Applesauce – so delicious.  I like it with any meat or in yogurt or just by itself.

Do you have any tips or advice for people looking to make their own preserves or canned goods?

If you're interested in taking up canning I suggest you attend a seminar or read up on the topic because there are serious food safety concerns if it's not done properly. I also suggest making up small batches – you don't have to can 30 jars of pickles at a time. Give them to friends – it's so cool to see someone enjoy something you made with your own hands.

What is your favourite aspect about taking part in farmers’ markets?

My favourite part of the farmers' market is the sense of community that is created with the other vendors and with the customers. 

Kelly Osgood:

What is your background in photography?

Many years ago in the 1980’s, I took a photography program from a community college in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Then I worked for three years for a newspaper. Those were the old days of  darkrooms and black and white photography, when photographers made their own spools of film and spent hours developing film and printing photos.

What do you like best about the art form?

I like the challenge of doing something others haven’t done. I like playing with light. 

Do you have a favourite type of photography (portraits, landscapes, etc)?

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I love water. I love shooting slow speeds on a tripod. If you open your lens for more than 5 seconds, water looks dreamy - waves blur into something soft and calm.

Where is your favourite location to shoot in Calgary/surrounding area?

I love the Bow River. I love to shoot around the bridges – the ones near St. Patrick's Island are my favourite.

What advice do you have for amateur photographers or people looking to take up photography?

Young people are doing some really creative work; there is freedom in not having to worry about the cost of film and so I see a lot of really creative things happening. But if you are brand new to photography, learn some basic composition rules like the Rule of Thirds, learn some basic physics about how light works, and always ask yourself, “What is this a picture of?” and then focus on what that is.

What is your favourite aspect about taking part in farmers’ markets?

I love the community that develops around it and I love listening to live music. 

Visit Sugar & Thread Creative Collective at Robert McClure Farmers' Market every Friday from 3 -7 PM.