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May 24, 2021

LAUGH YOUR CRAFT OFF: BOOTY EMBROIDERY AND COMEDY W/ STEFFIE NOTION & BK SHARAD

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This Wednesday, Laugh Your Craft Off welcomes comedian BK Sharad and artist, Steffie Notion, to show us how to stitch up a cute rendition of our booties, and take in some laughs - maybe about the booty. 

The virtual craft workshop series brings together local artists and comedians for an hour of crafting and laughing. We had a conversation with BK and Steffie to learn more about these standout Colorado artists and what inspires them to create. 

Steffie Notion

Outdoor portrait of Steffie Collins sitting on a couch in a green flowing jumpsuit

 

Steffie Notion started her work in textile arts when her mother taught her to sew dresses when she was 8 years old. Her love for patterns, fabric, and thread has persisted and entangled with a love for the human form and sexual expression. Empowered human bodies are a continual inspiration for her work, especially when that body is presented authentically, with no fear of judgment. (from artists website)

Hi Steffie! How have you been doing?

I’ve been good! Loving the weather lately, it’s perfect for yard work!

We’re excited to have you show us how to embroider a (or our) booty! How did you get into embroidery?

I got into embroidery when I was looking for a craft I could easily do while sitting on my couch. Up until that point I sewed clothing, which requires a lot of space and a whole day or more. Embroidery was something I could sit and do while I watched TV and relaxed. 

You incorporate body positivity in your craftwork. What inspired you to infuse this messaging with crafting? 

Like most girls (and people) I grew up never feeling like my body was “this” enough or “that” enough, and because of my religious upbringing, that inadequacy was paired with shame around the parts of myself I did feel good about. Around the time I took up embroidery, I started taking selfies and turning them into simple sketches, and stitching them. I found the act of looking at myself as a 2-dimensional drawing and eventually an embroidery totally reframed how I saw my body. When you look in the mirror you, out of habit, see the flaws - the hairs out of place or the fat you wish you didn’t have, but when you see yourself as art, there is no flaw, there is nothing to be corrected.  

embroidery of a woman's backside in purple panties holding a bouqet of lavender

 

Along with embroidery, you also create custom harnesses and/or fetish couture pieces out of recycled bike tubes. How did this project come about?

I have always loved experimenting with different materials, and I’ve had old bike tubes laying around forever. During the initial lockdown of COVID, I was inspired to make a plague doctors mask and since all the fabric stores were closed I used what I had on hand - bike tube!! And the rest is sort of history, I started making harnesses mostly because I wanted one, but a nice leather one can be pricey. After posting a few of my designs on Instagram, other people started contacting me to make designs for them. It felt like such a positive shift from an art that helped me deal with my body image to an art that helped others feel good about their body! I have since also begun to dabble in leather, but the bike tube will always hold a special place in my heart.

What has influenced your artistic/crafting practice? 

Above all else, I would say my parents influenced my practice. My mom was the one who first taught me to sew clothing and pushed me to make things instead of buying them, and my dad has always been so resourceful and had the best tools. I aspire to have a work station like his someday. I am also heavily inspired by nature, insects have always been a fascination of mine and my harnesses often make me think of the outer shell of beetles. Flowers and flora also inspire me, there is such diversity and even when they are “imperfect” or somehow flawed they are still breathtaking and each one, unique. Lately, I have been getting a lot of inspiration from other creators around me! Collaborations with other artists have really pushed my personal work into places I never thought it would go, and there is something really special about creating something with another person. 

Profile shot of a woman in a head harness with red lace
Photo by Willym Brown

What is a saying, music verse, quote that has been a mantra in your creativity?  

Oh man, I have a lot, lets see…. 

“Try, try again.” 

“A mistake is just a learning opportunity.” 

“It’s always a work in progress”

“I’ll play with it until I figure out what it wants to be.” 

What are you feeling excited about for the year ahead? 

I am so excited for art events to start opening up again, I have missed museums and galleries so very much. I am also excited to see what new ripples of opportunity emanate from this class and what new collaborations await me in the year to come! 

Connect with Steffie:

Instagram - @asubtlenotion

Website - www.asubtlenotion.com

BK Sharad

Photo of the comedian
Photo by Dude, IDK Creative

BK Sharad is an up-and-coming comedian from Boulder, Colorado. He has performed for festivals across the country including the High Plains Comedy Festival, Cloudtop Comedy Festival, and the Burning Bridges Comedy Festival. (from artists website)

Hi BK! How have you been doing?

Hello! I was doing terribly but have been doing a lot better in the last few months. 

We’re excited to laugh and craft with you. Can you give us a little insight into the origin of your comedic career?

I am very excited to laugh and craft with you too! Comedy was something I was always a fan of and interested in. But I never thought it was something that I could do or pursue. So finally after getting very depressed after a breakup, I thought to myself “things couldn’t possibly get worse” and decided to give it a try. I have been hooked ever since. It has given me the outlet and platform to accomplish my main desires in life which are to laugh and bring more joy to people as often as I can.  

How has your experience been in the comedy scene in Denver/Boulder? 

The comedy scene in Denver/Boulder has been incredible. I am very thankful for my community and how they support me and push me to grow to be a better comic and person. I have met so many amazing people I am fortunate enough to call friends.

Did the year that was 2020 influence your approach to your comedy? 

Absolutely! I think before the pandemic I didn’t want to talk about the darkness in my life. I just wanted everyone to just have a good time and also avoid my darkness. But during the pandemic, I went through one of the worst mental health periods of my life and it was hard to not talk about it. I ended up writing material about it and it was well received, and I felt like it was a way for me to process my pain and reminded me that talking about mental health is an important value of mine in the hopes that it may help other people.  

photo of the comedian on stage
Photo by Melissa Leavenworth

Who is an influence in your comedic practice and why?

Bobby Lee. I admire Bobby’s willingness to share about his past with substance abuse and mental health while also being super goofy. I feel like when someone like him shows that change is possible, it inspires me to constantly be striving to grow every day.  

What is a saying, music verse, quote that has been a mantra in your creativity?  

“Try harder, care more” slogan from one of my friends’ clothing brands Imbued clothing. It is a simple phrase but to me, it means to keep putting myself out there doing the work, and put more of myself and feeling into it.  

What are you feeling excited about for the year ahead? 

Hugging all my friends. 

Connect with BK:

Instagram: @insanebrownposse

Website: www.bksharad.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bksharadjokes/

Twitter: @bksharad