How British creative Eppie Thompson went from a stressful job as an investment banker to a full-time embroiderer.    

By Genevieve Kyle. 

Embroiderer Eppie Thompson wants it to be known that at the heart of all her designs lies a story. With a wide range of works, the British artist sees her craft as an opportunity to “create a narrative.” With pieces that depict scenes including a horse and rider, a tightly sewn night at the circus, and an elephant poking through bushes, Thompson is telling a story. “If you start from a story, you can build up a level of imagery in your mind to start creating from there,” she explains over zoom.

Thompson is inspired by regional textiles, books on fables, and folk art. She has a deep affection for Lewis Carroll’s poetry, naming the Jabberwocky as a specific favorite, and admires children’s vast imaginations. As such, Thomson attempts to “think of pieces that feel fun and to loosen up” and “tries to remind [herself] not to take it too seriously.” 

When Thomson took up sewing two years ago, she was in a rut, working as an investment banker. With long hours in a high-stress environment, embroidery offered Thompson an escape. Beginning by making a wedding present for a friend, Thompson quickly fell in love with the practice, and as her passion grew, she started to wonder if there were others “like [her] who wanted some kind of antidote to the stressful world we live in?” Pondering this question, Thompson quit her job to start her own business, The Fabled Thread

While talking over Zoom, Thompson wears a vibrant green sweater and sits in front of a giant painting created by her mother, a fellow artist. With a cheery British accent, she kindly describes how the launch of The Fabled Thread encompassed a series of emotions. She tells me that before the company’s launch, she spoke with a friend who owns their own business, who warned her, “it’s stressful, but it’s a positive stress.” She explains that despite the hardships of being a small business owner, “when things go really well, there’s nothing quite like that feeling of saying you learn something new, or people respond really well to the work you’ve made.” “Everything I do, I’m doing for me,” Thompson explains.

Working out of a small studio, with the help of others, Thompson continues to take The Fabled Thread to new heights. She is, however, still reluctant to label herself as an artist. She explains how “if you view yourself as an artist, then it can be a bit harder because your art, and what you create is such a personal thing.” Thompson believes that the banker within her “helps to control the decisions that could be quite difficult emotionally.” When it comes to tasks such as crafting new designs and opening them to the public, Thompson sees her background as one that has allowed her to “take a slightly more commercial view on my art.”   

Although embroidery, like knitting, was historically stigmatized as a hobby for the elderly, Thompson believes that “it is the perfect craft.” From its efficient transportation (it’s easy to do on the go) to its stress-relieving abilities and final product, embroidery allows “everyone to be creative.” Thomson designs to “make everyone feel more confident.” Like many creatives out there, Thompson uses her art to show how simple it is to embrace creativity.

 

Images courtesy of Eppie Thomson