In the Studio With Jason Steady, Chainstitcher

Just past Joshua Tree, in the town of Twentynine Palms, Jason Steady lives on the northern edge of Joshua Tree National Park.  His trailer is parked at the base of a massive wall of granite boulders.  A man of many talents, we were so excited that Jason was willing to chainstitch souvenir baseball hats for us.  A few weeks ago, we visited Jason and he showed us how he embroiders with his 100 year old chainstitch machine.  We asked a few questions about desert life and his creative practice.

Be sure to check out the limited hat collaboration in the shop!

How long have you lived in the desert?

Coming up on 4 years already, and I can hardly believe it. If the desert was high school, I’m almost done.

 Why did you move here? And from where?

I moved here from Nebraska shortly after I turned 40, having lived there my entire life. I felt like maybe I had reached a potential half-way point with existence-in-general, and thought it best to live out my second half in the dust.

The desert was a place I had visited multiple times on cross-country band-van treks, and I just wanted that desert feeling every day.

What is the best thing about living in the desert?

Solitude. I no longer have to drive my van for hours (which I do love) to a secluded spot, now I just live in the secluded spot. It’s beautiful and quiet, and the sunsets never get old.

What is the worst thing about living in the desert?

There are no bad things about living in the desert! I suppose the summer heat can be rough, and finding a big sun spider under your bed isn’t necessarily ideal, but I mean, what is?

embroidered desert UFO alien scene with joshua trees

How long have you been doing chainstitch work?

I’ve only been chainstitching for about a year and a half, though I did work in a production embroidery/screenprinting shop for nearly a decade in my 20’s. So I had some experience with designing for embroidery, efficient stitch-paths, and all that kind of jazz.

What is your favorite thing to create with your chainstitch machine?

Big stuff! Colorful jacket backs. Shouldn’t everyone have a jacket with their personal sigil on the back? I did a full suit for a tv show (that I cannot name until it airs later this year) with two rattlesnakes that wrapped all over the jacket and pants. What a dream.

I’ve done a few custom pieces where someone comes to me with just a description or a list of imagery they’d like included. It’s always cool to create the art that’s in someone else’s brain, in addition to creating what’s in mine.

 What inspires you?

The desert is chock-full of creative weirdos,  and it’s forever inspiring. To meet people who are living some version of their dream, rather than just talking about it on nights and weekends. I’ve spent my whole life believing that anything is possible, and in the desert, I’ve witnessed it.

embroidered snake with motorcycle in the desert

You are a multi-talented person! What are your current creative outlets?

Chainstitching, illustration/design, and music! All of which I can do in the cozy 140sqft. of my 1969 Travelmaster Starship camper (that I also live in and rebuilt myself).

I spent a big chunk of my life making large sculptural things, furniture, and art out of wood, metal, junk, etc., and I can still be coaxed from retirement, but it’s tough on the ol’ spine so it better be good.

What is the best way for people to find you/contact you? and @jason_steady on Instagram are my internet home bases, and I can always be reached through either one for questions, commissions, or effusive compliments.


embroidered hats stacked on a chainstitch embroidery machine



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