Dyed and Gone to Heaven – An Online Magazine and Needlework Resource  

Continuing our Celebrations theme, we present....

Emie Bishop
By Rita Vainius

Click here for her FREE PATTERN


To commemorate our Celebrations theme, Emie presents stitchers with a special gift - a design from her book, Joyous Occasions. This Boutonniere Holder will provide a unique and distinctive touch to any gentleman's lapel for your joyous occasion.

Emie Bishop's initiation to handwork was out of the ordinary, to say the least. Between the ages of 5 and 10 she lived in Papeete, Tahiti, where her parents were missionaries for the Mormon Faith. As a protectorate of France, the French language was taught in school; Emie learned Tahitian playing with the local children and spoke English at home with her own family. The native Polynesian women taught her to make leis, knit using cotton string and weave baskets from the elongated leaves of native trees. On that remote exotic island, Emie began her love affair with all that could be created using her hands and her imagination, and upon leaving, was well equipped to express herself artistically. That early experience has been a touchstone in her belief: "Needlework is an art that spans cultures and generations, bringing together people of different backgrounds and ages, allowing them to learn from one another. By taking ageless stitches and using them, it ties people together. This also ties us to the women who first stitched them."

Before living in Tahiti, Emie had lived in western Utah where her parents farmed the desert. Their assignment completed, the family returned to Logan, Utah where Emie attended high school and college, studying History, English and Education. After graduating, she married Michael Bishop and worked as a teacher while Michael finished his undergraduate work. They moved to Washington D.C. when he was accepted at the George Washington School of Medicine and Emie continued her teaching career there. After Michael graduated, they returned to Utah for his internship, eventually opening his own practice in Logan. They have lived in Utah ever since.


Emie and Michael have 5 children: 1 daughter and 4 sons. Surprisingly, there is now a reverse gender ratio in the next generation: 1 grandson and 6 granddaughters! While raising her own substantial brood, the little free time Emie could find was dedicated to needlework pursuits, which she credits with providing much needed rest, peace and sanity at the end of many long and hectic days.

Since early childhood Emie had yearned to be an artist. As she grew older, she realized that the feasibility of a career in the arts was remote and instead she pursued a career in education. But she had never lost the intense desire to express herself creatively. Over the years she had taken many art classes, including ones for needlework and quilting, which she seemed to gravitate towards. As she became more skilled with needle and thread she integrated her artistic talent with needlework, creating her own designs. Her twin passions for stitching and quilting merged and, in 1982, she formed her own design company calling it Cross `N Patch. She later became fascinated with Hardanger after seeing another stitcher's work. Becoming proficient in cut and drawn thread work, she added these techniques to her designs. She explains: "I do not love one technique more than another, but the thing that intrigues me about Hardanger, is that it is lacy and beautiful without being so impossibly hard that you don't want to try it." She is best known today for using cross stitch in combination with Hardanger. Emie employs cross stitch to add color or to furnish a pictorial element. When used selectively, each technique highlights the other without overwhelming either. These designs are used to embellish a veritable cornucopia of items: Christmas stockings and ornaments, samplers, greeting cards, pillows, bellpulls, angels, afghans, table and bed linens, garments, sachets, jewelry containers, lingerie bags, box inserts, pincushions, calendars, growth charts and much more.

Emie's greatest joy emanates from bringing each original design to fruition - reveling in each step in the transformation from initial inspiration to a workable piece of art. Currently she is commited to adapting age-old embroidery techniques and stitches for use in needlework which will endure into the new millenium.

Through her needlework designs, Emie is able to express feelings which may otherwise be difficult to articulate. She adds: "When we choose different colors and patterns, we display not just our own artistic preferences, but speak of themes and ideas that are important to us." Most satisfying is the manner in which Emie has managed to combine her private life with her career aspirations so seamlessly and meaningfully. Much of her work is a celebration of home and family life. She readily confirms: "Most designs I create come from things that happen in and around my family." Both the day-to-day and the most momentous occasions have been immortalized in samplers, clothing and accessories and the core of her work makes up a tapestry held together by these strong and intimate bonds. Furthermore, the stitching projects made to commemorate weddings, births, christenings, new homes, etc. hold all the special memories and feelings related to each festivity. This is supremely evident in the book which Emie has had published featuring such work and bearing the eminently appropriate title, Joyous Occasions: A Collection of Heirloom Hardanger Designs. Dedicated stitchers will be hard pressed to resist a try at creating a family heirloom of their own after perusing this magnificent collection and the accompanying text.

A new book from Emie Bishop is soon to be released. Entitled The Unfinished Sampler, it explains and illustrates 140 different stitches which are then incorporated into designs. Though Emie furnishes the framework, it is left to individual stitchers to customize the sampler to suit their own preferences - hence the name. Like telling a story, she provides a beginning, middle and end but each stitcher fills in the details that make the story interesting.

Emie and her husband live on a 60 acre farm near Millville, Utah. The Blacksmith Fork River runs through their property and from their home they have a breathtaking view of the Wellsville Mountains, often snow-capped through June, which form part of the Wasatch range of the Rocky Mountains. There is even a picturesque red barn. The surroundings afford Emie ample opportunity to indulge her other passions for outdoor pursuits like hiking, snow and water skiing, camping and horseback riding. She and her husband are currently building a cabin at Bear Lake which promises to be a spectacular getaway. With such an idyllic home and engaged in doing what she loves the most, I'm not sure that Emie would be able to articulate what she needs to get away from. She is the first to confess: "I have a really good life. I admit, sometimes I just sit there and daydream." One thing is for certain - when the cabin on the lake is completed, it will without a doubt be the site of many more family festivities, with an ever increasing brood.

Joyous Occasions is distributed by Leisure Arts. For help in locating a retailer near you or to place an order, call their Customer Service Department at (800) 526-5111 or call Emie Bishop directly at (800) 228-3882 to order your own personally autographed copy.

For more information about Cross `N Patch Needlework Designs or Emie's new book The Unfinished Sampler, ask at your favorite needlework shop or contact Emie Bishop.
address: Box 132, Millville, Utah 84326
phone: (435) 753-1748 or (800) 228-3882
fax: (435) 753-5332
e-mail: emieb@sunrem.com



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