Artist Spotlight: Bianca Springer
Feb 21st 2023
Bianca Springer has a passion for sewing, designing, and embroidery that effortlessly shines through her work. A talented professional in her craft, she has won numerous national and international sewing contests and competitions. You can find Bianca in print as a contributor and designer for Sew News Magazine and Creative Machine Embroidery Magazine.
We asked Bianca to share her thoughts on Black History Month and talk about her work as an artist, including her latest book, Represent! Embroidery — a true celebration of people and their beautiful uniqueness.
Please tell me about yourself and your art.
I am an omni-crafter primarily using my talents in garment making, bag making, magazine writing, class instruction, and hand embroidery. In my garment sewing, I enjoy sewing contemporary and vintage patterns with bold and unique textiles. I enjoy upcycling pieced garments and other items that have been donated or discarded. I love reimagining ways to give these items new life. I enjoy slow stitching and find comfort in hand embroidery. I recently released my first book, Represent! Embroidery: Stitch 10 Colorful Projects & 100 Designs Featuring a Full Range of Shapes, Skin Tones & Hair Textures, with C&T Publishing. After recognizing a lack of diversity in the narratives and designs in embroidery books, I stepped into the void. It was my goal to add another perspective in an area where Black people have been under-represented.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
I was born and raised in The Bahamas which is a diverse, Black majority country. The history that we are taught encompasses the indigenous Arawak people, the invasion of Columbus, the colonization of the British, the Bahamian Independence, current events, and advancement of the Bahamian people. There is no designated Black History Month in our country. Our education and acknowledgement of all our people is ongoing and all-encompassing.
Here, there seems to be a greater move toward the separation of the contributions of Black Americans as an appendix to American history rather than an integration. Black History Month in America signals, to me, both urgency and limitation. The urgency is reflected in those who want to honor the month by sharing history, truth, accomplishments, triumphs, and progress with those who are willing to listen in this moment. This urgency seems motivated by the perception that this month is all we get. Black History Month feels like a spotlight that shines for a time. It feels like there is a limitation on our visibility, opportunity, promotion, and celebration of contributions only to February. Once the month ends, the spotlight dims.
Is there a specific black figure from history who inspires you? What about one from today? Are there any social media accounts that you follow that you want to share with our readers?
Harriet Tubman particularly inspires me. Her work as an abolitionist, a women’s rights advocate, and a humanitarian is remarkable and heroic. The images we see of her are typically of an old woman who lived to more than 90 years old. She inspires me because she was only 27 years old when she started the dangerous work on the Underground Railroad. She was a young woman who changed the world with the resources she had. Change, movements, and progress are ignited and driven forward by the young. Martin Luther King Jr was 15 when he entered college and only 39 years old when he was assassinated. He was a young man, among other young people, who lead the Civil Rights Movement.
Too often, we equate age with wisdom without question or debate. Young people often have greater objectivity and perspective which uniquely drives their challenges of the status quo.Several people, young and older, inspire me today.
Lynae Vanee is a subject matter expert who addresses politics, women's issues, race, and current events. She educates her audiences with passion and fire.
Jermaine Fowler educates people on forgotten, lost, and diluted versions of American history. His book, The Humanity Archive Recovering the Soul of Black History from a Whitewashed American Myth, is soon to be released and is currently available for pre-order. His work is particularly relevant with the push to separate Black history from American history and to eliminate it from school curriculums.
Tabitha Brown is a bright light and a source of encouragement when the world overwhelms. She is a vegan cook, author, actress, and social media influencer. She reminds people to care for each other, love one another, and take care of themselves. She is inspiring because of her persistence in her journey to became successful. She is transparent with her daily struggles, her joy, her faith, and her successes.
What are you working on right now?
I have several exciting things on my schedule. I am looking forward to lecturing, teaching, and retreating with makers this year.
I will teach two hand-embroidery and one garment sewing class at QuiltCon in Atlanta, GA (February 23-26).
I will present a virtual lecture at the 60th Anniversary Needlework Show at the Woodlawn Pope Leighey House, Alexandria, VA (March 25th).
I will be the Maker in Residence at the Sacred Makers Soul Retreat at Squam Lake Manchester, NH (June 7-11).
I will teach classes at Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, UK *(August 3-6).
I am in discussion with stores and quilt guilds about scheduling upcoming workshops and lectures. Be sure to follow me on Instagram.