Portrait of Pochoir.NYC's founder, Ceci Cholst Zeichner. She is a white woman with wavy shoulder length red hair, pale skin, and green eyes. She's wearing large multi-colored sequin earrings and a yellow tank top. Behind her is an aqua blue pool, some green shrubs, and a pool house, all out of focus.

Hi there! My name is Ceci Cholst Zeichner and I’m the founder of Pochoir.NYC, one of Etsy’s first fully sustainable embroidery and textile art stores. I’m a New York City native, where I live with my husband, also a New York native. I am a fashion designer by trade (you can view my portfolio here, link opens into new window) and have worked for many companies, including Calvin Klein, Josie Natori, and my own startup, Bow and Knot. I am a graduate of Vassar College, where I received a BA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)-SUNY, where I received an AAS in Fashion Design and a post-graduate certificate in Sustainable Design Entrepreneurship, a wonderful program that teaches the principles of sustainable fashion design and business school basics.

What is Pochoir?

“Pochoir” is the French word for “stencil.” I chose to name my company after a popular fashion illustration technique, also called “pochoir,” used in luxury French fashion magazines from the 1910s-1930s. Generally, brands and editors would commission avant-garde artists (my favorites are George Barbier, Paul Iribe, and Gerda Wegener) to create fashion illustrations that skilled printmakers would translate into layers of stencils, each stencil reflecting one color represented in the original drawing, much like a Japanese woodblock print. The illustrations would then be handed to pochoiristes, skilled women artists who would carefully and delicately paint in every detail using the stencils and beautiful, bright pigments. Today, pochoir illustrations are just as bright and vivid as they were a century ago, while their printed counterparts have long since faded.

George Barbier's "The Fickle Bird," 1914. The drawing depicts a woman in an exotic, Asian inspired charcoal grey, red, and blue fur-trimmed dress reaching up to a blue long-tailed bird perched in a high tree branch. The tree is a highly stylized pine tree with orange needles and pinecones and red branches. Behind the woman is a large, ornate cage. The action is against the backgrop of a cobalt blue sea or lake, red dunes faintly in the distance. Most of the composition is taken up by a cloudless aqua sky.
George Barbier, The Fickle Bird, 1914

I loved how this technique held so many contradictions: a Western printmaking method adapted from an Eastern one, producing an image that was at once mass produced but also one-of-a-kind.

I started embroidering in 2015 but I didn’t really start doing it seriously until I got an embroidery kit to make a present for my mother. I learned many basic stitches and liked how embroidery required pairing beautiful colored threads and textiles. My husband bought me another embroidery kit right when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 as an anniversary present. I then realized that I didn’t need a kit to make my own designs. Once I took classes in sustainable design at FIT later that spring, I realized I could incorporate sustainable materials into my practice and launch an Etsy store. I hope that my designs not only bring you joy but also help us all connect and teach each other about ways that we can protect our planet and ourselves.