With her outgoing personality, infectious laugh and quirky sense of humour, a conversation with Jaimie Feener will have you in stitches.
But this talented artist knows all about stitches.
As the owner of Feener and Thread, the 32-year-old from St. John’s makes original and custom embroidery, pulling inspiration from anything that catches her eye.
Her work has been garnering plenty of attention in recent months, as many of her pieces have sprung quotes and messages from the province’s daily COVID-19 updates.
Her most popular project stemmed from Health Minister Dr. John Haggie’s light-hearted comments while he was giving the public a stern warning about watching children’s behaviour at the supermarket during the COVID-19 pandemic. It didn’t take long for Feener to put together a piece featuring Haggie's comment, “Please don’t let them lick the handle of the shopping cart.”
“I wasn’t sure how people were going to react. I didn’t want to offend anybody, but I couldn’t get over it. It really blew up,” said Feener, who had that embroidered piece delivered to Haggie, who then shared it on social media.
“It was really exciting for me and my family. It brought a nice distraction and a bit of positivity.”
Other Haggie sayings she embroidered include, “If you swipe right, you might get more than you bargained for,” and, “If you come from away, you best stay away.”
But they’re not the only eye-catching pieces Feener has in her collection. She’s also embroidered images of well-known personalities, including Premier Dwight Ball, along with other sayings, which include, “Who Knit you?" with a physician’s jacket; a grandma in a decorated window, representing COVID-19 visits during social distancing; Dr. Janice Fitzgerald with a Wonder Woman symbol on her jacket; and just about anything else that inspires her.
“I find myself doing things that are very topical,” said Feener, whose work has been featured in various media outlets across North America.
“If I see things that strike me as funny or memorable, I’ll start to create it through thread.”
During Snowmageddon, she embroidered images of movies, including "Pretty Woman," "Dirty Dancing," "Ghost" and "Grease."
“People found something cheerful it in,” she said. “So, I also try to make people happy through my embroidery.”
She found stitching embroidery during the COVID-19 pandemic relaxing.
“I started feeling really anxious, so I started doing TV shows, like 'Friends' … episodes that relate to COVID,” she said. “That sparked something in people.”
Then she stitched images of the Tiger King, with Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin.
She credits her mother, Jane Feener, for her talent.
“Growing up, Mom was very creative,” said Feener, who, as a child, would often watch her mother cross stitch. "We always had handmade birthday cakes, and all our school projects were next level. Even our Halloween costumes were so amazing.”
It wasn’t until four years ago, after a visit to Fogo Island, that Feener was inspired to do embroidery, starting with pieces as gifts for family and friends.
With so many requests from people, she decided to create her own business.
“It just took off from there,” she said.
I’d like to make a shout out to my mom @janefeener - today is her birthday 🎉 For the last couple of years she has spent...Posted by FeenerandThread on Saturday, May 9, 2020
Feener is a casual vendor at the Farmers' Market and she’s also a member of the local Etsy chapter, which holds quarterly markets. Her work can also often be seen at pop-up markets.
All Feener’s work can be seen on her Etsy page: feenerandthread.etsy.com
Twitter: @TelyRosie | facebook.com/rosiemullaley
1. What is your full name?
Jaimie Margaret Feener.
2. Where and when were you born?
Goose Bay Labrador, 1988.
3. Where do you live today?
4. What’s your favourite place in the world?
My sister’s rooftop deck in Brooklyn, New York City. Tara’s living there and I celebrated my birthday last year on her rooftop. It has a beautiful view of Manhattan. It’s really cool.
5. Who do you follow on social media?
I follow a lot of local small businesses, entrepreneurs, business pages — as much of the local community as I can. It’s really great to feel that local connection. I follow the business owners’ personal pages, too, because I find them really inspiring people.
6. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I used to be a competitive lipsyncer in the Mount Pearl Frosty Festival. Dad (Dave Feener) was hoping I’d be the kid who would get all these sports medals, but I had all lipsyncing awards. He got me a little rack to put them on. I’ve got all the videos. Mom would make all the costumes, I would go to tryouts and I’d always place in the top three. Also, for eight years, I was in the show choir that performed in Disney and Japan.
7. What’s been your favourite year and why?
I would say 2002 for a few reasons. It was the first year my parents had ever gone to Disney and we got to go with them as a family. It was also the same year I hopped on a tour bus with the Mount Pearl Show Choir and we drove from Newfoundland to Florida and did a performance tour. It was also the same year I got to see Bruce Springsteen live in concert with my dad in Toronto. We got into the pit of only 200 people. I cried because I was born and raised watching him, so it was just like seeing Santa Claus. My dad is such a big fan, so growing up, we didn’t have strict curfews, but if Bruce Springsteen was playing on TV, we had to be home to see it.
8. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Saying goodbye to my grandmother. She was like my best friend and my second mom.
9. Can you describe one experience that changed your life?
About two years ago, when my grandmother got really sick, I took six months off work to take care of her. … I’m a very empathetic person and that really showed my strength. … That experience changed me.
10. What’s your greatest indulgence?
Spaghetti. Happy, sad, every moment of my life, breakups, birthdays, every celebration, it’s spaghetti.
11. What is your favourite movie?
"Grease" and "Sister Act 2." When I was in kindergarten, I would get my dad to wake me up every morning at 5 o’clock and I would watch "Grease" every day before I’d go to school. Mom and Dad would be getting up during, “We Go Together,” and I’d be eating my cereal. When I found out that John Travolta (Danny) and Olivia Newton John (Sandy) weren’t actually together in real life, I was heartbroken.
12. How do you like to relax?
I love putting on a record and rocking my grandmother’s rocking chair and doing embroidery. It’s the only thing that makes me be still and quiet.
13. What are you watching right now?
I’m re-watching "Modern Family" and it’s everything I need in Week 9 of quarantine. It’s so light-hearted and funny, it’s just what I need.
14. What is your greatest fear?
I have a big fear of being buried alive. I don’t think that’s an everyday fear, but I’m claustrophobic and just the thought of being trapped like that and not being able to get out freaks me out.
15. How would you describe your personal fashion statement?
I’m going to say grandpa chic or Steve Jobs. I wear knitted sweaters that often look like someone’s grandpa’s, or I’ll be all in black, with black jeans like Bruce Springsteen, with jet-white sneakers. I find where my personality is so vibrant, I don’t like wearing vibrant clothes because it can be too much, so I try to tone it down.
16. What is your most treasured possession?
My nan’s Girl Guide ring. I put it on when I was in Grade 7 and I haven’t taken it off. My finger is warped. It says, “Be prepared” on it. I’m a deep, cheesy, emotional soul. I always look at it and play around with the ring when I’m thinking.
17. What physical or personality trait are you most grateful to a parent for?
My Mom’s creativity and my Dad’s outgoing personality. I’m a mini Dave Feener. I like the ability to make people laugh.
18. Which three people would join you for your dream dinner party?
My grandfather, James Hornell. He died when my mom was very young and I never got to meet him, but he opened a boys and girls’ club in Buchans and he’s in the Newfoundland Hockey Hall of Fame. The second would be Bruce Springsteen, of course. He was my big crush. The third would be Jonathan Van Ness from "Queer Eye." He’s a hairdresser-turned-celebrity personality. He’s always wanted to be a gymnast and figure skater, and he’s almost 40. He’s doing it now and I just really love that. He’s also really hilarious.
19. What is your best quality, and what is your worst quality?
The best would be I’m very compassionate. My worst quality is I’m stubborn.
20. What’s your biggest regret?
I regret that I didn’t move away at a young age. I kind of wish I had picked up and went off to New York City, following in my sister’s footsteps. When I go to visit her, I feel like I found my people. But I do love Newfoundland and always wanted to settle down, and being around family is important to me. I had a really hard time leaving for that reason.
Volume up for this one 😂😂 My latest FeenerandThread!! ✌🏼Posted by Jaimie Feener on Thursday, April 30, 2020