A Life of Art and Design
I have always loved art and design, and grew up surrounded by both primitive and modern art. The idea that one form of art was “better” or more worthy than another was not something I learned until I entered school. Thankfully it’s an idea I rejected early on. As a result, I embrace all art, particularly contemporary art, outsider art, art that is the unedited response to life.
As a child, my mother taught me to knit, embroider and sew. My father introduced me to tapestry. I sold my first painting when I was 16 and later that same year filled my first order for embroidered Christmas tree ornaments that I designed and made.
I graduated from Parson’s School of Design and began a career in fashion, freelancing for design houses in London and New York. I began designing knits for Elle Magazine, where I was the editor of the Hand Knit Page.
After the birth of my second child I found jewelry design. I won the coveted 2009 Rising Star Award in Fine Jewelry and the 2010 AGTA Spectrum Award for Business/Day Wear.
Ariane Zurcher Designs has been featured in leading fashion publications and blogs including, Italian Vogue, W Magazine, Women’s Wear Daily, In Style, L.A. Times Magazine, Modern Jeweler, StyleCaster and many more. I’ve also been involved in many charitable projects including benefit events for The Aspen Institute and The World Gold Council’s Leaves of Gold.
Art, fiber, fabric and yarn are the common threads that have been a constant in my life. Five years ago, I rediscovered hand stitching, embroidery and fabric art. I happened upon a Craftsy Class with Sue Spargo. Within a short period of time stitching became a full-on obsession. I designed and stitched my African Long Tail Horn Bill and other abstract creations. I couldn’t believe I’d been missing out on something I learned to do as a child but had forgotten about. I dove headlong into hand stitching—and quickly realized I had no idea what I was doing with regard to quilting, free-motion quilting and applique. I didn’t even have a sewing machine I could quilt with. My sewing machine was an old Elna from the 1970’s that I used in college. So I purchased a new sewing machine and took a bunch of classes on hand quilting, machine quilting, applique, you name it. I was on it.
This led me to stitching retreats. I went to Quilting by the Lake (my first sleep-away quilting camp) signing up for TWO weeks. Not one, TWO. I was in heaven. I’d found my people. I discovered stitchers and quilters like Rosalie Dace, Cynthia Corbin, and so many more.
I began dyeing my own fabrics and found Pat Pauly who paints fabrics before cutting them up and making abstract art quilts. Swoon. Another pool to dive into. I dyed, painted, stenciled and mono-printed fabric, cut them up and stitched art quilts, but hand stitching remains my siren song. It’s in my blood.
As a designer, I’m always searching, learning, experimenting and trying new things. I’m left-handed and had a hard time finding instructional videos for left-handed stitchers. I decided to change that, and launched my own YouTube Channel, On the Other Hand. The channel began as a series of tutorials for left-handers, but quickly evolved into so much more: Tutorials and how-to instructions for all stitchers; exploration of the design process, use of color, threads, stitches, shape, and how all these elements are considered when designing a piece, whether representational or abstract.
But first and foremost I’m a designer. I’ve created a number of stitching projects: needle rolls, pouches, bags, pillows, eyeglass/phone cases, scissor cases, with many more in the pipeline. Previously, the patterns and instructions were featured exclusively on Etsy as digital downloads, but now they’re all available here, along with my new workshops, stitch-along Zoom Series as well as live-streaming videos so we can all stitch together.
I love teaching almost as much as learning. I’ve always been a great supporter and cheerleader for friends and family. Now I get to do that with a whole new group of friends from every corner of the world, all of us sharing the same wonderful obsession – stitching!
Writing and More
I have written for Allure, Elle Magazine, Options, XX1st Century, Aspen Magazine, Aspen Times, Special Needs Parenting, Parenting Magazine, Emma’s Hope Book, Huffington Post and many other publications and blogs, as well as my own blog, Where Art & Life Meet.
I was the voice of Barb for the audiobook – I Might Be You by Barb Rentenbach and Lois Prislovsky, wrote the foreword to Judy Endow’s book: Painted Words: Aspects of Autism Translated and have given presentations with my daughter at autism conferences and schools around the country.
Regardless of the medium, I always come back to designing. It’s my first love and remains so to this day.