Deep Valley Crafts creates hand embroidered pieces & accessories in Dublin, Ohio. We have several of their patches and we love them! Owner, Brittni Tiefenthal, was kind enough to allow us to interview her for our Ohio Made blog! Meet Deep Valley Crafts at our Summer Maker Mart on June 3, 2018!
Tell us about your local business.
My name is Brittni and I make hand embroidered accessories out of Dublin, Ohio. The name of my business actually comes from my own last name – Tiefenthal means “Deep Valley” in German. I began this business simply as a way to direct my creative energy, but I’ve found that it’s morphing into my way of helping people (and myself) display who they are and what they’re proud of. Personal identity is a crazy important thing to be aware of and celebrate, and I think pinning what you’re about to your jacket makes it easier to love and accept yourself.
What drew you to your craft?
I’ve always been attracted to fiber art of all sorts – I’ve tried crochet, knitting, macramé, needle felting, sewing, and more. I still love those creative outlets, but once I landed on embroidery I knew that it was the craft I would stick with. It combines aspects of many other mediums which keeps things interesting, and the process is very therapeutic and meditative for me. Embroidery is making a comeback in some cheeky and unexpected ways, and I absolutely love pushing what people expect to see when I say “I’m an embroidery artist”. I also love that embroidery is a relatively inexpensive hobby to pick up and try, and I encourage anyone out there to grab a needle!
What is your favorite thing you have ever made?
This is a tricky question for me because I typically enjoy the creative process much more than the actual finished product. The pieces I like the most are the ones where a tough decision or new technique really pays off. I’m quite proud of my honeybee hoop, which was one of the first projects I tried incorporating watercolor into. I also love how my first attempt at thread-painting, a little framed pansy I made for a coworker, turned out. I really live for the moments when I nail a custom order and my client is excited about it!
Deep Valley Crafts made the patches for this beautiful wedding dress!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was in High School I was sure I wanted to be an English teacher and author. Then I was sure I wanted to be a curator in a museum, and started taking Art History courses at OSU. I decided that I wasn’t dedicated enough to that field and switched to an English major, and graduated with Art History and Professional Writing as minors. Now 3 years out of college, I’m working in an unrelated field while running my own small business and freelance writing on the side. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up! My goal now is to be able to look back and be proud of what I’ve accomplished so far rather than stress about choosing my “calling” before I’ve tried everything else.
What is your creative process?
I am greatly inspired by my contemporaries regarding both the creative and the business aspects of selling my own work. I follow embroidery artists, enamel pin makers, textile artists, photographers, digital artists, small business owners, Etsy sellers, and more across various social media platforms, and I am constantly delighted by the innovations and trends I see. I think a sense of community is extremely important for handmade and creative businesses, and seeing other textile artists come together and support each other along with social and political causes is incredibly motivational.
In terms of my personal creativity, nailing down a concept I’m really excited about is one of the hardest parts of my embroidery. The second most challenging aspect for me is color choice. I think it’s about time I learn some color theory! Once that’s all decided though, the rest is usually smooth sailing. I enjoy the methodical and meditative stitching process and love to see things come together.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
It’s taken me a very long time to stop apologizing for who I’m not and be confident in who I am. Negative thinking is a hard rut to get out of and I still find myself doubting my self-worth and convictions, even while writing this little paragraph! I would tell myself to start breaking these negative habits and start celebrating the things about myself that I was proud of much sooner.
Why is it important to support local artists & makers?
Honestly? It’s in everyone’s best interest! You get to support a unique and diverse local economy which is amazing, yes. But in less grand-scheme terms, you get to relate to the person or group who made your local item in a way you can’t to an Amazon Prime box. Local makers are influenced by and create for their environment, meaning that your products are catered specifically to someone just like you. That sense of community and uniqueness is something I really love and appreciate.
Why do you love doing what you do?
My love of selling my own embroidery is twofold. The first reason is because I get to continuously make things without cluttering up my house or over-gifting to my family! The second is due to the reactions of the people who receive my work. Enthusiastic feedback from customers really keeps me going, especially when their item proudly displays what makes them unique.
What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?
Never stop paying attention and learning! Staying flexible, trying out new approaches, and evaluating how you feel after experimenting during every aspect of your process is really important while determining your brand, your style, your product, and your niche. This also means paying attention to yourself – you should try to prioritize your happiness and values over everything, because if you’re overworked or unhappy it will show.
What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?
Ohio, Columbus in particular, has something for everyone. Pretty much whatever your thing is, you can either find it already established or find the right community to support you while you introduce it yourself. It’s boggling to see just how many things go on around here, and how many of those things are new!