Hi, I'm Stephie

I'm an embroidery artist and creative based in Manchester. I create art inspired by the natural and the Man(chester) made and I am passionate about encouraging others to explore and embrace their own creativity.

I know, sounds cheesy right? But what does it actually mean?

Well let me tell you a bit about my background and hopefully, it will all make sense...

My love affair with embroidery began during the first lockdown, in March 2020. Like the majority of people I was struggling, not only with finding something to fill the day but also with my anxiety and mental health. I have always been a creative person, but suddenly all my usual outlets just would not engage my brain. I'd sit down to write and I'd find myself doom scrolling. I'd pick up a book, and find myself switching Netflix on... again. I'd pick up my camera and realise I had nothing to photograph.

And my number one creative outlet? The thing I'd spent my entire life working towards? The thing I was proud to have made my dream job? Theatre... well, that was a no go.

For over ten years I have worked as a creative producer, specialising in community-driven events. I know, another sentence that sounds grandiose. Basically, I've spent ten years working with people and communities, to create art, theatre and literature events with them at the heart of it. Taking all those things about "the arts" that make people feel excluded and trying my best to break them down. I don't believe that you should need a degree, or a six-figure bank account to enjoy, appreciate and take part in art. 

I believe our lives are better when they involve art and creating. And I believe the arts are better when they involve as many people as possible.

Am I going off on a bit of a tangent?

Possibly, but there are three very important things about my day job that you need to know, to understand where Hoop & Fred came from:

1. I never want to make art that is simply admired, I always want to encourage people to get involved and try themselves

2. I know first-hand how powerful making time for creativity can be for our mental health and well being

3. After ten years of working on all sorts of arty projects, when lockdown came, I was well stocked. Not in loo rolls or pasta, but in a whole range of craft supplies.

Luckily... that included a set of cheap embroidery hoops and a box full of threads.

And so I finally found something that my brain would engage in, and I started to manage my anxieties about the world, one stitch at a time, and since then I haven't stopped.

My Instagram account came shortly after, where I found a whole community of people and a wealth of inspiration.  It wasn't long until my creative producer brain kicked in and I started thinking about how I could share the benefits of embroidery with other people. 

I started creating my DIY kits, providing everything someone would need to start their embroidery journey at home, a workshop that would fit through their letterbox. And then once lockdown and the restrictions lifted I began running in-person workshops, sharing my love for embroidery and creating in person. 

Of course, I still sell my own art online and at local markets, and in 2022 I launched a range of downloadable patterns.

And that in a nutshell is everything you need to know about me and Hoop & Fred.

Although... you're probably wondering where 'Fred' comes in? Do I have an adorable four-legged friend called Fred? Not yet, but I'm working on it. 

I'm afraid the answer isn't as cute and fluffy as that. I needed a name for my Instagram account, and Hoop & Thread was already taken. It worked out perfectly though, I've always struggled with pronouncing my 'ths' anyway.*

If you have any questions, a project you'd like me to work on, or you're interested in stocking my kits or hosting a workshop, please don't hesitate to get in touch via email at hoopandfred@gmail.com or drop me a message on Instagram!

*not great for a woman who works with thread and theatre