Venus Perez is a talented creator and fiber artist based in San Diego California, whose punch needle work incorporates a variety of sewing techniques. Perhaps most notably, Venus specializes in sculpting her punch needle work — the practice of trimming the looped side to create a cut pile that can be shaped to different heights — which truly takes her work to a whole new level!
Tell us a little bit about your background. What were you doing before Punch Needle?
I am a self taught artist. No formal education in the arts. Growing up, the women in my family all sewed. Thus my love and knowledge of sewing. In college, I took a pottery class for fun only to fall in love with it years later. I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands, using mediums that can be manipulated and for practical use.
How did you get started with Punch Needle?
I saw post from @bookhou featuring her foot stool with her punch needle cushion and at that moment, I had to learn. I bought my first Oxford Punch Needle from @amy.oxford and the rest is history.
It starts with a need and/or idea. I’ll draw out my design directly onto the fabric backing or render it digitally and project it onto the cloth to be traced. From there, my yarns are chosen and I’ll start punching/tufting to certain pile heights to be carved.
We'd love to hear about your creative process.
How do you stay inspired?
I jump around from different mediums. If I get frustrated or tired on one project, I’ll stop and hop onto another. I usually have multiple projects going on at the same time.
It is an expression and a tool to communicate visually and emotionally (artful). I also see it as being resourceful (practical).
What does creativity mean to you?
How has your work evolved over time?Through trial and error my pieces evolve. Every failure is a step closer to my vision. I fail a lot which is what brought me to where I am.
What is your favorite part about the work that you do?The moment the piece comes to life. It starts out a mess, unclear and distorted, but as I move forward and start carving, that’s when I see it. The beauty underneath the chaos.
How would you describe your work?
A feast for the eyes and a playground for the hands.
My most recent finished work, Jesus Christ. It was a turning point in my carving journey as well as adapting other embroidery techniques like the hair and the halo.
What is your favorite piece that you have made?
What materials and tools do you use? Do you have any favorite supplier recommendations for tools, material or yarn?I use a variety of Oxford Punch Needles, a deluxe rug needle and tufting gun for the punching part. For carving I use Gingher’s: embroidery scissor, a knife edge 5” sewing scissor and an appliqué scissor. I like using rug wool yarn because of its coarseness and durability, perfect for carving. A few of my favorite suppliers: @sealharborrugco, @this_is_tim_eads, @storytellerwool, @mini.masterpieces and @l.vandemaker.
What advice do you have for other artists or creatives looking to try punch needle?Go for it! There are so many tutorials to help you get started and the possibilities are endless. Think beyond the conventional use of yarn.
Where do you see your work going in the future?
How can the punch needle community support you and your work?
Spreading the word and sharing.
What is something that you are excited, or curious about these days?
I would love to learn the art of stained glass.
What are 3 other fun facts about yourself that you would like to share with the Punch Needle Community?
1: I have super long toes. Perfect for picking up things. I use to be ashamed of them but now I love them!
2: I love all things Japanese.
3: My favorite board game is Scrabble. I am a Scrabble freak.