1. Tell us about yourself.
My name is India Hayford. My husband and I live in central Wyoming with more cats, dogs, and horses than any two people
really need. Our son is married with two children and multiple animals of his own. Our daughter currently attends
both college and her last year of high school; her goal is veterinary medicine, which will be an asset to the entire family.
. Recently I went to work as a writer and actor for Painted Past Productions, a company that specializes
in historical presentations and reenactments. One of my favorite portrayals is Mariska Karasz, an embroiderer and fashion
designer who worked during the first half of the twentieth century.
After almost twelve years of life as a legal assistant,
I decided life is too short for endless litigation and retired from the profession. In my new life, I teach belly dance
at the local recreation center and write features for the Casper Journal newspaper
In 2008, I completed the EGA exams
and became a certified teacher of contemporary embroidery. With help and encouragement from the late Ann Harris, I developed
an individual correspondence class for EGA called Design for Needlework. Some of EGA's finest members are my
students and I can only hope they are learning as much from me as I learn from them each time I critique a lesson or speak
with one of them on the phone.
2. How did
you become involved in needlework? I come from a long line of embroiderers, quilters, seamstresses, crocheters,
and basket makers. My grandmother handed me a threaded needle when I was four and showed me how to do a running stitch;
I still have that first piece of needlework, with her perfect stitches delineating one side of an apple and my first stitches
straggling along the other half. I never quit embroidering though I didn't design my first completely original
piece until I was thirty-two.
3. When did
you join EGA and what positions have you held with EGA? I joined the Casper Needle Guild Chapter of EGA in October
of 1987, a pivotal moment in both my personal and professional life. I've held every local position at least once except
treasurer (no one in their right mind would ask me to balance a checkbook) and regional rep. Our chapter is small and
comprised of some of the best friends I've ever had. Through regional and national seminars and meetings, I've met stitchers
from all over the world, some of whom have been instrumental in encouraging me to reach further than I thought I was capable
of grasping. Ann Harris, Shirley Kaye Wolfersperger, Phil Lack, Judy Jeroy, Kay Stanis, Kim Sanders, and Carole Lake
all at some time stood behind me and pushed when I thought I could go no further. I am more grateful than I can say.
Where does inspiration come from? Doodles, photographs, nature, and random mental excursions. Sometimes
I design a piece around a single skein of thread or a scrap of hand-dyed silk that I cannot bear to throw away. I'm
always looking for ways to incorporate a snake or two into my work, and if I catch sight of a particularly interesting face
or head of hair, I ask the owner's permission to take a photograph that will eventually be the basis of an embroidery.
5. What kind of needlework do you like to
do? I prefer freehand surface embroidery, fabric collage, and non-counted varieties of ethnic embroidery.
How would you classify your style? The words "contemporary" and "eclectic" come to mind.
What are you currently working on and what plans do you have for the future? Currently I am interested in clothing
embellishment using both contemporary and traditional ethnic embroidery. Portrait embroidery is another passion. Creating
facial expression and mood with needle and thread is a fascinating process. I am working on a book about Yemenite embroidery
and have great hopes that I can revive interest in this almost lost style. I have proposed classes in the technique
multiple times, but so far, no one is biting.
With what other interests are you involved? In terms of fiber arts, I enjoy weaving and costume construction.
Otherwise, I am a horsewoman, hiker, biker, dancer, writer, and reader.
Anything else we should know about you?
I adore poking through second hand stores in search of fabric, thread,
restorable garments, and other goodies