By: Josh Maxwell Photos Courtesy of: Jolly Knot Club
We all have that one favorite piece of clothing we hold dear to our hearts. Whether it be a passed-down piece of jewelry or a washed-out baseball cap from your childhood, it probably means something special to you. That energy defines the Jolly Knot Club when it comes to making their custom embroidered pieces. Amazing artists Christine Cantella and Jo Roderick have made it their mission to spread love and creativity one stitch at a time.
A simple stitch is exactly how The Jolly Knot Club came to be in the first place. Cantella’s inspirations are rooted in her love and respect of her family. “My dad was in the navy back in the late ’60s, and somehow I got a hold of his old blue vintage navy shirt that had his name stenciled on it,” she says when discussing how she became passionate about embroidery. Her love for the craft only grew from there.
When looking at a piece from the Jolly Knot Club, one can't help but see the hints of nostalgia and pop culture being poured into each stitch. Cantella and Roderick both have always admired pop culture and continuously find ways to incorporate it into their work. “We’ve [done] a Biggie Smalls shirt, a Willie Nelson shirt, and we've done a shirt inspired by Texas wildlife,” Cantella says. Inspiration comes in many forms for these two artists, needle and thread in hand.
Even with COVID-19, Cantella and Roderick still find ways to safely and creatively express their artistic passions. Like many creatives during this time in history, spending more time at home has allowed their creative process to deepen and expand in new ways. “It has certainly given us more time to physically do the work,” Roderick says. Using the new-found downtime to pour even more into their art and business has proved useful for The Jolly Knot Club creators.
The pair are currently residing in London (they normally spilt their time between Fulton, Texas and London), where they plan to stay until the pandemic is more under control. However, that only means they have more time to find new inspiration for their work.
Working from home is difficult for some, but for the Jolly Knot Club, it may have been the perfect ingredient to help their creative process. “We've had quite a bit of time to sit here and think, sew, and discuss, and listen to a lot of music,” Roderick says with a bit of a laugh when discussing how the pandemic has sparked their creativity in the past few months.
While many might look at The Jolly Knot Club’s work and see extravagant detail and long work nights, Cantella sees something very different. Referring to the artistic process both women use to design their pieces, she says, “You get inspired by what you've seen or heard, and that's what you think about when you're drawing the design out on paper, and then you just transfer it over.”
Many of the pieces Roderick and Cantella have made have been pure fun. Paying tribute to and pulling from various inspirations in life, these two artists always put a little piece of themselves inside their work. “The inspiration is everywhere around us when you think about it. We have a huge film and music library and we often just feel knocked out by a line in a song one day,” Roderick says.
No matter what the client is asking for, care and intention goes into all their work. The individuality of their custom creations make for a piece to cherish. “We want people to feel excited they have something very special and individual to them,” Roderick says.
Whether in Texas or London, Roderick and Cantella always make it a priority to provide beautiful and decorative pieces to all who wear them. Their dedication to embroidery is one that goes deeper than the needle they thread with. You can guarantee any piece you order from these artistic women will become a statement piece you will keep for a lifetime.