Houston-based embroidery artist Mariana Barran de Goodall calls herself “intense”–an admission she punctuates with her infectious giggle, immediately contradicting the seriousness such a word assumes. Warm and endearing, Barran de Goodall is referring to her insatiable energy for textiles and needlework. She grew up crocheting countless scarves and spent college summers in Barcelona studying European embroidery techniques. And in 2015, she founded a studio, Hibiscus Linens, offering classes and a hand-stitched textile collection. “By sharing my passion with others,” she says, “I am re-energized.”
Growing up in Monterrey, Mexico, Barran de Goodall learned to appreciate entertaining from her parents. In fact, she initially opened Hibiscus Linens to create party-ready cocktail napkins and hand towels. Featuring intricate crochet edges and embroidered details, her designs showcase thoughtfulness and quality. “Entertaining is about making guests feel special,” explains Barran de Goodall. She strives to evoke that same feeling through her work: Hibiscus Linens is the country’s only fine linen company to embroider entirely by hand, requiring between two and 30 hours to complete each piece.
Barran de Goodall has her mother to thank for introducing her to sewing as well. At age 7, she began stitching loose sequins and ripped tulle at her mom’s performing arts studio. “I became incredibly curious about the process,” recalls Barran de Goodall, whose pursuit continued naturally in her elementary school’s embroidery curriculum. Years later, after moving to Houston, she tapped into her teachings to make baby gifts for friends. “No one believed I’d done them by hand,” she remembers. Soon after she realized there was an interest, her studio was born.
Barran de Goodall has since pushed Hibiscus Linens beyond retail into education, organizing workshops, teaching classes and selling DIY kits as part of her collection. While embroidery includes more than 80 types of stitches, she uses only three or four in her designs so students can easily replicate them. “I actually want people to copy my work,” she laughs.
A boundless enthusiasm continues to push Barran de Goodall forward–her collection now also includes pillows and children’s clothes, and she’s launching her first full bedding line in the spring. She hardly has time to reminisce, but she does enjoy reflecting on the first class she taught in Houston. Expecting fewer than five students, she was surprised when 32 people showed up, one of whom had flown in from Dallas. It was a promising beginning in her quest for the world to learn embroidery. “I want everyone to experience it,” Barran de Goodall says. “I can’t help myself.”