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Life & Work with Maggie Hurst

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maggie Hurst.

Hi Maggie, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
As a graduate student, I spent most of my time at work, in class, or studying. When I wasn’t doing one of those three things, I was watching TV and scrolling aimlessly through my phone. Over time, I noticed myself getting more and more overwhelmed and needed some sort of creative outlet. Artistic endeavors have never been my strong suit, so I was hesitant, but I found a DIY embroidery kit on sale and figured it was worth a try. After several hours of YouTube tutorials and a few accidentally needle-stabbed fingers, I had finished my first piece. It felt so good to create something beautiful, and the slow, methodical process was the perfect soothing rhythm I needed.

Once I started, I couldn’t put a hoop down until it was finished. I poured myself into learning all the techniques and best materials, but through this process, my pile of finished hoops was growing larger than I needed for myself. On a whim, I reached out to my favorite store in St. Charles, Joys Collective Market, to see if they were accepting new vendors, and thankfully, they saw my potential and made a spot for me! As my audience grew, I started accepting custom orders, and it has been incredible to bring other peoples’ dreams to life. My goal is always to use bright colors and positivity to bring joy and bold self-acceptance to everyone who sees my work.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
The biggest struggle I’ve faced has definitely been self-doubt. I was never a creative person, so I felt like a fraud doing (and succeeding in) an artistic hobby. I am so grateful to have an audience and customers who are always so kind and supportive. As soon as I think I’m not good enough, I see that someone has shared a photo of their hoop in its new home or that they shared my post on Instagram. It’s those little things that remind me that I’m not a fraud and that I am creative. I just hadn’t found my outlet until now!

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
My work is modern hand embroidery. Although there are many styles of hand embroidery, the majority of my work focuses on using bold fabrics and bright colors. My goal is always to spread joy to those who see my pieces, so I try to keep them upbeat or inspiring. I also adore creating keepsake pieces for families. At Christmas time in particular, parents send me their child’s name written in their handwriting which I then turn into a keepsake ornament.

I’m a preschool teacher by day, so this has been a perfect way to combine two of my favorite things – embroidery and emergent writing skills. As kids grow, their handwriting changes so much, and it is such a nice memory to be able to look back year after year and see how it’s changed!

What do you like and dislike about the city?
St. Louis is an incredible city full of so many amazing artists and makers. It is such a diverse community, and I have met so many supportive people. I love being able to go to a huge variety of markets on the weekends and celebrate at so many different festivals throughout the year. There’s always something going on, and the people who live here really care about their community.

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