Ashlei Stewart represented the Mississippi State Department of Art well at the recent Smithsonian Folklife Festival on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall.
Stewart, a senior from Starkville majoring in drawing, was asked by Art Department Head Lydia Thompson to send some of her hand-crafted, embroidered jewelry pieces to represent the school.
Stewart said she first began crafting jewelry for herself as a hobby but decided to expand into custom orders when she was receiving more and more requests from friends. She currently sells ready-made pieces and also takes custom orders through her Etsy shop, Fiber Luxe.
“It’s a really exciting experience to be featured at the Smithsonian,” Stewart said.
Sales at the festival went well, and the art student credits the exposure to increased traffic on her blog and to her Etsy shop.
Stewart said she may have stumbled into embroidery simply as a hobby but now plans to attend graduate school to pursue her interest in textiles.
“I’d also like to expand my jewelry work to include larger, more elaborate fiber pieces and continue entering juried exhibitions and festivals,” she said. “Even right now, I have a new collection of jewelry that I’m working on.”