Eva Horne, the Prairie Stitcher: I grew up on a farm in East Tennessee, where my mother would find and capture monarch caterpillars so we could watch them grow into butterflies. She would patiently tie strings to June bug legs so we could fly them around the yard and let us keep jars of fireflies as night lights. Mom instilled an appreciation for nature in me from an early age and when I started exhibiting an interest in art, my parents supported that too. I started out painting in water colors when I was in high school. Where I grew up, our “art” classes consisted largely of buying a paint-by-numbers picture and completing it during class. But, we were lucky enough to have a famous local artist, Lorraine Brewer, who taught private lessons. Back then, I mostly painted animals and nature scenes.
When I went to college, I became interested in photography and weaving while taking classes for an art minor. Unfortunately, grad school made it tough to keep up with the painting and I never had the space or money for a loom, though I did carry on with photography when I could. Then, a friend introduced me to cross-stitch. It was like painting, but with threads and cloth, and it didn’t require messy paints (which were difficult to keep my dogs out of) or a space consuming loom. The problem was that most designs I could find weren’t challenging enough. So, I got out some graph paper and started making my own. After coming to K-State and falling in love with the prairie, many of my designs were inspired by the landscape, fire, and creatures living there. Even my dragons and other fantasy designs have some bit of science involved, and I always include a short paragraph of scientific facts on the patterns I sell. “Smoke” was inspired by the black carbon-rich and white steam-filled smoke that rises from prairie fires.
My butterfly, reptile, and amphibian designs are all inspired by nature, and many from local, prairie animals. I also, of course, still take photographs every time I am out on the Konza and after 30 years, have yet to tire of the wonder that is the tall grass prairie.
To discover more of Eva’s work, visit her personal website at https://public.biol.ksu.edu/personal/story.html