James Hunting interview: Making art is hard & bloody

James Hunting interview: Making art is hard & bloody

In the first part of our interview with embroidery textile artist James Hunting he told us all about his journey and how he approaches his work. In this second set of questions, we wanted to take a slightly more philosophical approach. Here he tells us why he is an artist, how he conquers artist block and about the best decisions he’s ever made.

Sussies work 3

James Hunting – Sussies work

Taking risks

TextileArtist.org: Why are you an artist?

James Hunting: Because I need to be. However I see myself equally as an educator.

Did your family nurture your creativity?

They encouraged me to do what I felt and feel is right for me to do, to take risks, to push myself, and to be rigorous. So yes they did and do.

What inspires you?

Life, love and looking at things…

Do you ever suffer from Artists’ block?

Yes, my answer is to put it away, read, walk, talk ,and explore other avenues. If this fails I will sit at the work or lack of it and work through it.

Making art is not easy, relaxing or restful, it’s painful, hard and bloody… but also fulfilling and necessary to me.

Sussies work 7

James Hunting – Sussies work


Do you use a sketchbook?

The million dollar question… I prefer to work on loose sheets and gather them together in files, as I do not work towards pieces through pre-planning, I prefer to gather images and drawings which I can then pull from when required.

Do you work in silence or with music?

Silence if it happens is fine, I don’t talk unless I am stitching an area which needs to be stitched (meaning the thought process of the effect has been mainly completed) otherwise I listen to talking radio – music does not help me to work.

What are your other interests besides art?

Life, love, fun, cooking.

Who would you love to collaborate with (living or dead)?

Cristobal Balenciaga – I would love him to design shapes and clothing that would become canvases I could then work on, each person using their skill and ideas to work together.

I do work with Jenny Lessin, couture dress designer, in this way and it is always exciting and nourishing.

Sussies work 2

James Hunting – Sussies work

The energy of the unknown

What is the best decision you have ever made?

Three responses I am afraid:

a) Doing a PGCE (Post-graduate Certificate in Education).
b) Closely followed by applying for the Embroiderers Guild Scholar.
c) Leaving my full time job at the Royal School of Needlework.

What is your favourite place to get away from it all?

Walking on the seafront in Brighton, or anywhere. I need to see the horizon line and the energy of the unknown future just over the edge.

Sussies work 5

James Hunting – Sussies work

Taking opportunities

What advice would you give to an aspiring embroiderer or textile artist?

Don’t think it happens easily, don’t think it should be easy, and if you want fame, money, or cleanly defined boundaries between work and life choose something else. Otherwise take opportunity, create opportunity, don’t stop learning and above all do not dismiss opportunity due to name…

Read part one of our interview with James Hunting: A needle and thread toolkit
or for more information please visit: www.jameshunting.com

Let us know if you’ve enjoyed this article by leaving a comment below.

Saturday 02nd, December 2023 / 01:08

About the author

Sam is the co-founder of TextileArtist.org and son of textile artist Sue Stone. Connect with Sam on Google+c/a>

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5 comments on “James Hunting interview: Making art is hard & bloody”

  1. Helen Wilkins says:

    I found this so inspiring, I’m struggling on my own to complete an OCA BA in Textiles whilst working full time odd hours so finding it hard to fit in textile work and meet deadlines but determined somehow to achieve this BA. I absolutely love James Hunting’s work so this was a greast insight. Thank you – I’ts the norishemnt i need to keep going….

    • Helen says:

      I struggle with the OCA course for the same reason and have also been very inspired by the answers James has given to the questions… especially the one about sketchbooks… I’m all about the ‘scraps of paper’ and I thought I was doing it ‘wrong’…

  2. Maggie says:

    I was very lucky to have James Hunting as a tutor in 2006-7. His words still have a profound influence on the way I work. He instilled a lot of confidence in me and continues to help me be true to my artistic voice…a gifted teacher!

  3. Liz Hood says:

    Was greatly inspired today in Stirling at the Embroiderers Guild Scottish Regional Day.
    As a new stitcher I really was inspired by his unique and minimalist approach. Also his passion in his work.

    I can relate to that passion as I am so new to stitching and fabric art and am wholly addicted. Now I have some new food for thought and possible solutions to my problem solving.
    Thank You James for a wonderful presentation and letting us see and get to handle your fabulous work.
    My hubby wont be so keen as i am all full of new ideas again. I was in a lull after last project 😉

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