Pamela Koons is a self-taught cross stitcher and embroiderer of only two-and-a-half years. What first began as a stress reliever from her hectic grad school schedule quickly evolved into a love of creating and paying homage to art history. Her work is modern and minimalist, often embracing traditional Quaker motifs, American traditional tattooing, the history of art and pop culture. Pamela’s work encourages you to feel something when looking at her stitches; from empowered to joyful or enamored. While Pamela’s work is certainly not your grandma’s cross stitch, she recognizes the importance of the history of the medium and its relationship to the history of women.
How long have you been an artisan? How did your particular skillset develop over time?
I first started stitching in March 2017. I was living in NYC at the time, working on my Masters degree in art history and honestly, I was incredibly depressed. I went to one of my most favorite places in the world—The Strand Bookstore—and found a cross stitch kit featuring a traditional tattoo design, which I was all about. It took a few weeks until I actually started working on it, but after I dove in, cross stitching almost immediately became rhythmic and soothing. After finishing my first stitch I bought more kits, and within two months I was designing my own patterns. In February 2018 I opened an Etsy shop where I took custom orders that I juggled in between my thesis. It was after I graduated with my Masters degree in art history in January 2019 that I was able to fully launch an Etsy shop with patterns and finished stitches, on top of custom orders.
I’ve been putting my all into the Kitschy Cross Stitch since January and I’m super happy with how my business has been going. This small business is fundamental in maintaining my mental health—it helps me cope with my depression and anxiety and helps to bring a creative element back into my life that I was missing when I moved to NYC.
I no longer live in NYC, but it was an integral part in my process of becoming a self-taught stitcher and, if I may be so bold, a fiber artist. I never thought my first pattern I designed—a heart that says “I hate you the least”—would have brought me this far in such a short time. With that being said, every day brings about new challenges and new ideas. I’m always growing, I’m always creating and I’m always thinking about my next project.
Who are some of your favorite artisans / makers in the region? Who amongst your peers inspires your work?
There are so many creators in Buffalo that I absolutely adore. Mermaid and Weasel makes the cutest little amigurumi—I would love to do a collab with Diana. Marigold and Vase has some truly beautiful arrangements with such rich and luxe color combinations. And FloMade has such perfectly dainty embroideries that are nothing short of breathtaking. I’m surrounded by so many talented artists and creators, and one of my favorite things about doing markets/pop ups/events is meeting so many new people. Thank you, Buffalo and all of its creators for keeping me inspired daily.
How long have you been a business owner in WNY?
I am a born and raised Buffalonian, but I’ve really been hustling with my little Etsy shop for a little more than a year now. One thing I love about Buffalo is its affordability. Because it’s more affordable to live here than most places (especially NYC), I’m able to work a part-time job and run my business outside of that time. I truly have Buffalo to thank for my success thus far.
How long have you been a part of Buffalo Women’s Gifts?
This is my very first year doing Buffalo Women’s Gifts and I hope it’s just the beginning of our relationship. I was in my very first market at Horsefeathers back in March 2019, and even months ago, so many artists and creators suggested I look into Buffalo Women’s Gifts and apply for their winter market. I am so thrilled to be a part of this babe-filled event and honestly cannot wait to see everyone.
Where can people see / purchase your work year-round?
I apply to as many shows, markets and pop-ups as I possibly can year round. I’m also actively seeking for a gallery or shop to sell my work consistently throughout the year. In the meantime, Instagram or Etsy are the best ways to find me!
Where else will you be representing your wares this holiday season?
For the rest of the year, I will have two pieces at the Pine Apple Company Gallery for the month of November; WNYBAC’s The Last Minute Panic Holiday Marketplace on 12/13-12/14; and, Hotel Henry’s Holiday Market on 12/22.