Much like the thread Amy Krimm (C’23) stitches through embroidery hoops, the practice of sewing has passed through her maternal line for generations. This familial connection is one of the main reasons Amy grew to love embroidery, an artistic medium she now documents online. “I really like how slow and precise it is,” Amy says. “You have to really trust the process with it. You can’t see the full image until you are completely done. I think that’s really rewarding.”
Amy’s first detailed embroidery project was a rendition of Frida Kahlo’s Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird. Sewn onto a six–inch embroidery hoop, the piece took Amy over a year to complete. Despite picking out some technical flaws, Amy doesn’t waste time worrying about small mistakes. Instead, she focuses on the satisfaction and pride that comes with completing the final stitch and closing up the back of the hoop.
While Amy is primarily interested in embroidery, she's also passionate about drawing. As a prospective visual studies major, Amy appreciates the field’s commitment to the intersection between science and the mediums she's passionate about, citing this focus as the reason she chose to come to Penn rather than an art school. Before starting college, her only experience taking a formal art class was AP Art in her senior year of high school. With only a few casual art classes sprinkled throughout her childhood, Amy taught herself nearly all of the techniques and skills she makes impressive use of today.
“Even as a kid my parents would always get me art supplies and I’d always be drawing,” says Amy. “I’ve always been practicing even if I don’t think of it as practicing, it’s just something that for as long as I can remember, it’s been a part of my life.”
Now, Amy is enrolled in "2–Dimensions: Form and Meaning," an introductory Visual Studies course that kickstarted the integration of art into her academics. The course provides academic context for her typical go–with–the–flow creative process, challenging her to create more deliberate art. “Before, I would just pick a random person’s face and just draw it just for practice,” says Amy. “Recently, I’m drawn to the imprints that humans leave behind. My recent embroidered photo series was kind of about memories and how peoples’ imprints in your life change over time.”
Amy’s creativity continues to be a large part of her life outside the classroom. Last year she was part of Penn Create, which provided Amy with a creative oasis from Penn’s pre–professional nature. Outside of the club, Amy utilizes art as a therapeutic way to destress away from technology. “College is hard, so I think I’m re–finding art as a way to escape and take care of myself,” says Amy.
For example, just before her Math 104 midterm during spring semester of last year, Amy found herself taking out some colored pencils and starting a detailed portrait. She spent hours on the new piece despite feeling like she was behind on studying; but, to her surprise, she ended up scoring highly. “I think it’s because I allowed myself to take a break,” says Amy. “Art is so important to me because of the process of creating. I like to explore different processes and the time that it takes. I enjoy every little moment. It really clears my mind. That’s what is most special to me.”
Beyond her embroidery hoops, Amy also does commissioned work for clients that message her on her art Instagram account, @artbyamybk. After receiving a baseline idea from a buyer, Amy whips up a quick sketch and shares it with the client to be sure they like her design. She emphasizes the role of communication in these projects, and often shows the commissioner multiple phases of her work to ensure satisfaction.
Artistic expression plays another equally important role in Amy’s life: drawing and embroidering act as a medium to express her appreciation for friends and family. Using art as a vehicle for her love, she feels that sharing her work is like sharing a piece of herself. “When people look at or see my art, I want them to feel how much time and love I put into it. It’s really something that’s a very personal thing that I’m sharing,” says Amy. “I think it’s just really cool to share that time with others, all captured in one little piece.”
While she is unsure of her future plans, Amy confidently asserts that art will always play some part, whether professional or as a hobby. Reflecting on her creative journey, Amy reminds both herself and other young artists that not every piece needs to be perfect. Although she used to rip out the imperfect pages of her sketchbook, Amy now realizes that all practice is good practice. After all, it’s okay to be unhappy with the end result of a piece.
“Making [art] for yourself and falling in love with the process of it can really help everyone,” she says.