This Friday, we’re featuring Ashton of Strung Out Nails! We had never heard of string art before seeing Ashton’s work and now we’re so glad we have. Just look and see how cool it is! A few decades ago this unique style of art was really popular, but now Ashton believes it’s making a comeback. We’re excited that you all will be the first to know about this re-emerging style of art! Keep reading to hear all about Strung Out Nails and how it came to be.
: Tell us about yourself.
: I’m Ashton E. Bemis. I’m a 26-year-old creative living in Nashville, TN with my husband, Kyle, and our four dogs, Hershey, Gracie, Misfit, and Dobby. I have always been interested in art, but I ended up going to school for social work, because of my love for people and diversity. However, here I am, five years post-degree, and I have circled back to my first love. I am now a photographer, graphic designer, artist, and “wannabe” writer, and I’m loving it.
: How did you get started doing string art? How did you learn how to do it?
: It happened quite by accident, really. I wanted to make a unique gift for my husband for Valentine’s Day (he says it was his birthday, but we have agreed to disagree…that’s marriage), and I had remembered seeing string art on Pinterest a few years back. Kyle is from California, so I thought it would be neat to do a California piece for him. I have always been a visual learner, so after looking up images of a few pieces, I just kind of figured it out, as anticlimactic as that sounds. I had so much fun making his piece that I decided to make a piece for a friend’s wedding gift. Once other friends saw that, the orders started coming in, and Strung Out Nails was born.
: Tell us about the process to complete a piece.
: Every piece is unique and takes a lot of time and effort. Most of my pieces are custom orders, so my clients usually have some sort of idea of what they are wanting. Whatever the concept is, I’ll take it and design a template in Photoshop, then print it to the size of the piece. Then, I will start on the base. The bases are a vast array of sizes, so how I create each one is dependent on the size; some are one piece of wood, while others are panels screwed together. Each base gets stained or painted and has to dry for a day before a nail ever touches it. Once the base is complete, I lay the template and begin outlining with a nail. I outline the entire piece like connect-the-dots before removing the template to begin placing the nails. Finally, I begin filling in the space with string. If a piece has multiple colors, I have to decide how I want to layer the colors before I can begin. It takes a lot of patience to complete a piece, of which I could always use more practice.
: Where do you see Strung Out Nails going in the future? And what are some of your biggest/current goals in general?
: I honestly like where it is at the moment. It has actually taken precedence over my photography! I truly just hope it continues to stay this way. I think it would be extremely fun, however, to do a really large piece for a local business.
: What is your favorite part about making these pieces?
: As with most things, I really love the end result. Watching the image come to life is always rewarding.
: What’s the most challenging part about creating your work?
: It is a very tedious art. From trying not to whack my fingers while hammering the nails, to making sure the string doesn’t pop off of a nail while I’m filling in, it’s tedious from beginning to end. In the end, though, it’s definitely worth it.
: How would you describe the perfect setting and ambiance to complete a piece?
: I really enjoy working in my living room while listening to an audiobook or music. On nice days, I have also enjoyed working on a piece outside on a blanket.
: Does your work have any type of common theme? Or since you mainly do custom orders is every piece very different?
: My most common themes are Nashville and Tennessee. However, as I said earlier, most of my pieces are custom orders, and I always enjoy the challenge of creating something new.
: Do you do any other type of artwork? Do you think that helps you in string art as well?
: My background in photography, graphic design, and drawing/painting definitely helps. Being able to find a visual balance makes all the difference in the final look of a string art piece because of how linear it is by nature.
: How popular is string art? Do you know of a lot of other people doing this type of work?
: I feel string art is beginning to grow in popularity again. It actually began in the 1800s by a female mathematician, Mary Everest Boole, who wanted to make geometry more tangible for children, and she created what is called “curve stitching.” It became popularized as an art in the 1960s and 70s, then it died off again. Recently, string art has evolved in both look and variety. I don’t know many other people who actually create string art, but I have found a few other very talented string artists through Instagram.
: Any advice for other creatives/artists out there?
: You make time for the things that are important to you. I never dreamed I would make a career of creating string art, or photography, or graphic design, but I made time for those things. I stuck with them, and I continue to learn all I can about them. I plan to do the same with my writing. Persevere and endure. I truly believe that makes all the difference.
Make sure to check out more from Strung Out Nails on Instagram!: @strungoutnails