ACrafty Interview with Sylvia Windhurst

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Sylvia Windhurst!

Green Embroidered Heart TrioWhen did you start crafting? Did anyone help get you started or did you find your own way? SW: My mother is an artist. She is a printmaker as well as an expert knitter and seamstress. We were always encouraged to be creative, and I spent many hours drawing, sewing, and creating strange hats using scrap yarn and crochet hooks that my mother supplied. One of my favorite activities was doll making – creating a body out of a clothes pin or pipe cleaners and creating an outfit out of what ever materials we could find. I definitely credit my mother for fostering a creative atmosphere in our home and I hope I did the same for my daughter who is on her way to becoming a fine photographer.

Group of Beaded Bead Flying Saucer EarringsI actually have a fine arts degree in printmaking and continued to draw and paint for several years after graduating. Gradually as my professional life and family took up more of my time, I stopped painting and drawing. I have a full time job as a graphic artist/prepress technician, and thus spent my time designing, retouching and preparing the designs of other graphic artists for printing or web publication. Over the ensuing years, I really began to miss the idea of creating something unique with my own hands. I started going to life drawing classes and then began embroidering again. Then purely by accident about 8 years ago I saw some beaded jewelry online made with off loom bead weaving techniques – I loved the look and started learning both bead weaving and bead embroidery techniques. I am self taught – and I give credit to the many great craft bloggers out there who are willing to share their knowledge online as well as the crafters who took the time to post great YouTube instructional videos. I also invested in a small library of beading books and spent many night practicing and creating.

About the term craft — I think the term craft and art can be interchangeable – sometimes I think when something is termed a craft people look at it as a hobby – not something serious, so I like to think of myself as a bead and fiber artist and crafter. There are many people who create wonderfully artistic items using techniques considered “craft”. For example, last year I bought handcrafted brooms an from an artisan in Oregon. Not only are they lovingly handcrafted, functional brooms but they are aesthetically appealing and wonderful works of art as well.

French Lavender Sachet Embroidered Flowers Satin RibbonWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? SW: I dabbled briefly in stained glass and did not love it. However, if it has anything to do with beads, fabric, and thread, I am in heaven. I am still primarily a beader and hand embroiderer, but am incorporating my machine sewing skills into my work a bit more now. I also have played with polymer clay a little to make my own cabochons and that is something I want to continue exploring in the future.

What is your favorite craft book? SW: I don’t have a favorite, but I think Robin Atkins has written some nice beading books. Mastering Beadwork by Carol Huber Cypher is a great reference book for beaders.

There are also some really great bloggers in the beading world. Inspirational Beading and Beading Arts are two nice blogs that come to mind. Both are informative and share a lot of information.

Purple Paisley Embroidered Wide Felt Cuff with Ombre Color ShadingHow have your crafts changed over time? SW: They have changed most definitely. I think my technique is far better than when I first started – and I have a lot more ideas now. I am willing to take more risks, and am also more willing to admit when something isn’t working and start again rather than being stubborn and investing more time in a project that just isn’t coming together.

 

Are you a person who is comfortable playing with color, or do you work better with color palettes you find – say, in photos or in nature? SW: I love color, and am always playing with it.

Boho Beaded HoopsRed and Black Beaded Sterling Hoops
Pale Blue Teardrop Beaded Sterling Hoops with Purple, Green and Orange Accents

Those are three examples of color palettes I have used in my beaded hoop earrings.

Nature's Jewel NecklaceI was inspired by the iridescent colors on a beetle for this one. Not only are the colors unusual, but the piece ended up having a bit of an ancient Egyptian style to it, which I also liked.

 

 

 

What craft project are you most proud of? SW: It’s a toss up.

Bollywood Bib Necklace with MalachiteThis Bollywood inspired bib necklace is a statement piece that took me many hours. What makes it special to me is the weblike gold embroidery I created in the background. It just adds something unique to the piece.

 

 

 

 

Moss Green Forest Fairy Cuff with Agate FocalThis cuff is another piece that I am very fond of. It has painted leather leaves and embroidery combined with bead weaving and bead embroidery. Despite the fact that I used so many techniques in one piece I think the monochromatic palette keeps the design cohesive.

 

 

 

 

What is your most popular (or bestselling) project? SW: My beaded hoops are my best selling items. I have also done well with my cyclops pieces. I have a stash of realistic doll eyes which I used in little treasure boxes and a few stuffed creatures.

Mexican Folk Art Inspired Embroidered Cyclops Dragonfly Soft Sculpture Bead Embroidered Cyclops Gold Treasure Box

They are definitely on the odd side, which I like, and surprisingly sold quite well. I plan to make more cyclops boxes in the near future.

Moss and Burgundy Embroidered Tapestry Necklace with Vintage Rhinestones

Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? SW: I think the challenge is ongoing – I keep a notebook with me at all times to jot down ideas. A lot of times the translation of that idea into a workable project isn’t always smooth. Sometimes I have to experiment and accept when a technique isn’t working well and be willing to start over again. Also, I tend to be a bit of a hoarder when it comes to supplies and I need to remind myself that instead of constantly buying new supplies I need to find creative solutions to design issues using existing supplies.

Green and Gold Abstraction BraceletHow has crafting affected your character? SW: It has definitely made me more patient and persistent. I also find it calming. I initially started creating beaded jewelry and embroidered objects as a calming therapy after getting home from my “day job.” Even after starting to sell my work and running an online store, I still find the act of creating calming. The repetitive nature of beadweaving is particularly therapeutic.

 

Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? SW: I had made a cuff inspired by Boudica, the Irish Warrior Queen. It had a shield like shape (kind of like Wonder Woman’s arm pieces!) and a lovely brown, gold and green color scheme with an celtic knot symbol on it. A woman purchased it and messaged me saying that she had been suffering from some serious personal issues and that in recovering she had used Boudica as an inspirational figure, which was why she purchased the cuff.

Pink and Blue Microorganism BroochWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? SW: I am starting to play with hand painted fabrics as a base for my embroidery and bead embroidery. I am still in the experiment phase for the most part right now, although I did make a small series of brooches using fabric I had painted. The photo here shows an example:

I am also planning to play with polymer clay and make some cabochons to use. I have only used polymer clay a little bit but I am amazed at some of the fantastic things artists have created with this medium. I would love to take a class in metal polymer clay – I just have to find one that fits in with my schedule and is geographically convenient!

Many thanks to Sylvia sharing her art and craft with us and for participating in this ACrafty Interview series! You can follow Sylvia’s ongoing adventures on her blog, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, and her Etsy shop.

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodneedlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamiltonbasketweaver Tina Puckettcross stitcher Meredith Cait, the two part interview with textile artist Arlee Barr, Halloween costume maker Justin Newton, and multi-crafter Pam Harris of Gingerbread Snowflakes.

ACrafty Interview with Pam Harris

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Pam Harris – multicrafter extrordinare!

Afternoon Tea and Craft on the PatioWhen did you start crafting? PH: I was about 6 years old and I learned to make little Zozobra’s by tying a Kleenex around a cotton ball and sticking on two little eyes. My Mom and I made them as part of a fund raising project for her club during Fiesta de Santa Fe. Most “craft skills” I learned were “useful” – sewing, embroidery, knitting; however, I do recall making little rolled paper beads with my Great Grandmother. I come from a long line of practical women so anything I made or learned to make (even when very young) had to have lasting value. I have pretty much carried that ethic forward throughout my crafty life.

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? PH: You do know I am an incurable dabbler – right?

Knitted/felted snowman.  Pattern from Marie Mayhew Designs.Knitting, crochet, punched tin, polymer clay, beading, wire and beads, quilting, wheat weaving, shaved wood, wet felting, needle felting, weaving, embroidery, temari, soft toys, gourds, English paper piecing, sewing garments and household goods, spinning, decoupage, bread dough sculpture, macrame, paper, hand building and throwing pottery on a wheel….

Current favorite? Besides any craft having to do with Christmas and Winter Holidays you mean? Mostly working with fiber – any and all of the fiber crafts – what I find myself doing most of the time. I like combining techniques – so that several fiber crafts are included in a project

Celebrating St. Lucy Day - St. Lucy, Star Boy, Scandi-gnome and TomteWhat is the biggest project you’ve ever tackled? PH: It is a toss-up between Austrian shades for Diane’s bedroom when she was a girl, re-upholstering a sofa, and a 4 foot by 6 foot embroidery which took forever! I think I have gotten the need for big projects out of the way!!! Now I relish smaller projects and except for knitting and crochet, and I pretty much prefer to use my own designs.

 

First pair of socks!What project are you most proud of? PH: Learning to knit socks!!

Learning to knit socks was a looooong, fiercely fought battle between the part of me who wanted, like everything, to learn to knit socks and the side of me that is intimidated by anything that is not fairly easy to learn the first time. To give you a clue, just casting on required repeated views of “cast on videos!” Can you imagine what I went through learning short rows or picking up gussets? Many “near-tear moments” I’ll admit! (And a bonus – while knitting the first sock, I became an expert at unraveling my work!!!)

I had no one i could turn to for help so I had to rely on the internet. It is a hugely valuable resource for learning to knit or crochet or sew or….. Coming from a time when such a resource did not exist, I totally appreciate how much the easy access to knowledge adds to the quality of and opportunities to learn in our lives.

So, while the socks I have knitted provide welcome and beautiful footwear, they are much more – a constant reminder of the role persistence and unwillingness to give up plays in the process of learning a new skill.

Using Mod Podge to mount fall leaves to small canvasesWhat is the silliest question you’ve received regarding your work? PH: I can’t actually think of a single silly question. I have been frustrated at times by crafters asking me why their project didn’t turn out only to subsequently find out that they did not follow instructions.

 

Filling up mini muffin cups with tiny hexiesWhat is the most common question you receive regarding your work? PH: How do I manage to do as much as I do!!! The answer is that I tend to be very organized and carefully plan my time so that I can accomplish the things I want to accomplish.

 

Fall Leaves, Mod Podge and Mason Jar = Beautiful CandleWhat is your most popular project? PH: Pretty much a three way split between coloring Easter Eggs with Kool-aid, using Mod Podge and food coloring to tint jars to use as lanterns or vases, and using Mod Podge to apply dried fall leaves to jars. While there are several others that drive large amounts of traffic to my blog, these three are by far responsible for the most traffic.

Dutch Canal Houses embroidery to celebrate St. Nicholas Day/SinterclasDo you sketch or plan most of your work before you begin, or do you generally work without a pattern? PH: I use a pattern when and where it is needed – like a quilt or embroidery, knitted piece or a soft toy – however, as often as possible, I like using my own ideas. Some crafts like painting gourds, punching tin, working with shaved wood or beads and wire and while weaving – I tend not to pre-plan but let my muse have her way with me!!

Saori freestyle weaving, Crochet Tooterphant and Winter Solstice Quilt BlockHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? PH: I tend to try new things I know nothing about so I often get into trouble – in lots of unexpected ways!!! But I always find a way to make it happen – learn what I need to learn.

 

 

Punched Tin Butterflies massing on my Seasonal TreeHow has crafting affected your character? PH: For me crafting – making – is as necessary as breathing. It is not something I have acquired – something added. It is who I am. It is a natural expression of my predisposition to create. It is how I function on a daily basis. And so, engaging in craft activity brings me joy, fulfillment, satisfaction.

Taking my craft to a blog has brought me in touch with a unique and inspirational group of new friends from all corners of the earth – women (and men) who are authentic, creative, and each brilliant in her/his own way. I am grateful for these connections beyond words. AND I am thrilled that the blog gives me the opportunity to support and share their talents.

Danish Woven Paper Heart BasketsCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? PH: Nothing in particular comes to mind. But my heart is made happy hearing from crafters who leave me comments or who write me e-mails and share how much a tutorial I have written has helped them understand the process behind a particular craft.

 

 

 

 

Guess i am going to learn lace knitting!What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? PH: Weaving bags for Diane (daughter – Craftypod) and myself using all hand spun yarns; designing and creating a primstav (more info) using embroidery; learn simple carving so I can carve my own Christmas elves and Santas; knit a Finnish lace poncho from hand spun yarn; and continue testing cookie recipes for the “Winter Holiday Cookies from Around the World” project!
Sweet Pepperkaker addition to winter holiday baking!

 

Many, many thanks to Pam for taking the time from her busy schedule to participate in this interview series! Pam just celebrated her Five Year Blogging Anniversary (a huge accomplishment), and I know she’s got a lot of winter holiday crafty goodness coming up on her blog over the next six weeks. Just look at those cookies above and how elegantly they’re displayed – can you even imagine how beautiful her whole house must look for the holidays? It’s mindboggling!

You can follow Pam’s adventures on her blog Gingerbread Snowflakes, her Flickr photostream (and Flickr sets with picture guides to all her tutorials), and on Instagram (@gingerbreadsnowflakes).

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with (Pam’s daughter) multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodneedlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamiltonpotter Nancy Germondbasketweaver Tina Puckettcross stitcher Meredith Cait, the two part interview with textile artist Arlee Barr, and Halloween costume maker Justin Newton.

Five Posts I’m Proud of Creating – 2013

Once again following the lead of Diane and Tammy, I’m rounding up the “Five Posts I’m Proud of Creating in 2013” as part of their “Share the Link Love” mission.

I started blogging in February of this year, and what an adventure it has been! I honestly had no idea of exactly what I was getting into, and to be honest, I still don’t as blogging seems to be constantly evolving (just read Diane’s post on the topic). Creating posts takes more time than I originally thought, but I’m happy to be writing again after a gap of many years. I’m also trying to emphasize quality of posts over quantity of posts, and that seems to keep me motivated and to be working. With all that in mind, here’s five posts I’m proud of (in no particular order):

#1 FIRST POST!

Hitting “publish” the first time was a pretty interesting experience. It was nerve-wracking and thrilling while I was being hopeful and curious all at the same time. It was also the result of a failure (but a fail-forward type failure).
Computer keyboard and touch pad

(Insert sound effect here: “Yeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggghhhhh!”)

[Photo by darrenleno via Flickr]

The first AncoraCrafts.com was an e-commerce platform that I had spent a lot of time and money on setting up, customizing, and maintaining. And after an extended period of time, I never sold a damn thing on it. Not one. Hardly got any views. Obviously, I had to make a change.

Moving my listings to Etsy was the easy part, but changing the .com to a blog took a lot of work, mentally and digitally. Switching to a new web host and learning WordPress were two big hurdles. But the biggest challenge was in making the commitment to blogging – a decision I did not take lightly.

I’m very happy to say that ever since I hit “publish” on the first post in late February, although it’s a lot of work, I’m having a lot of fun with this blog!

#2 Followup on my ACrafty Interview with Betty Busby

acrafty interview - betty busby with her quilt disco urchinI published an interview with quilt artist Betty Busby in June. I have been in awe of her work since I first saw it and I was so curious about her process. In August she was gracious enough to give me, my husband, and our dog Scully a tour of her home and studio space in Albuquerque. It was a real honor and treat for all of us, and I’m really happy that I was brave and took the chance to ask her if she was available.

#3 Making a Better Blog

The Better IdeaMost of my very early posts on the blog are about my own projects and products, and that was fine. But in May, after doing a lot of reading about blogging, I had a kind of epiphany about the direction of my blog. I’m sure it will shift again someday, but this post sums up my current bloggy path.

[Photo: The Better Idea by (the brilliant) Peggy Dembicer via Flickr]

 

 

#4 Favorite Books – Crafty and Otherwise

As part of Rosalilium’s Blog Every Day in May project, I put more information about myself out on the internet than I ever thought I would. Of all the 31 topics that month, I really enjoyed creating this post about my favorite books.Bill the Cat for President

 [Bill the Cat for President from Bloom County. Photo by tjosephson2 via Flickr]

#5 My Hexie Madness Series

I had done a few other crafty roundups before, but the hexagon series really stands out. I dug deep, spending days on the internet to find examples of hexagon crafts in all types of disciplines. I ended up finding some really outstanding hexies in interesting places. I tried to find as many tutorials and patterns as possible, but where those didn’t exist, I did find some excellent sources of inspiration. Love the leather pouffe and these popsicle sticks – so fun! [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4]

How about you? Share your “proud five” post over at CraftyPod!

ACrafty Interview with Betty Busby – Followup!

I’d like to share the followup of my interview with Betty Busby…

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Betty Busby in person at her home and studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Betty was featured in my fifth ACrafty Interview in June 2013. As you can read in the interview, I am a fervent admirer of her work. Her use of color and the detail involved simply amaze me. acrafty interview - betty busby detail of quilt diatom 3

I won’t give away too much of what I’ve learned about her process, but she uses various combinations of Photoshop, digital printing, hand-painting, drawing, hand beadwork, and a hand made longarm quilting machine to achieve some of her effects. And those effects are stunning!acrafty interview - betty busby detail of her quilt reliquary

She also has a fabric stash that would make any quilter green with envy. I didn’t want to take a photo as Betty was a bit shy about her studio space – but I will say that my jaw dropped when I saw it.

acrafty interview - betty busby with her quilt disco urchinBetty is a true artist, and it was a great pleasure to meet her. Her quilts are in exhibits around the country and she does teach classes a few times a year. If you enjoy her pieces, I highly encourage you to follow her adventures and hopefully cross paths with her someday!

[Photo: I’m on the left, and Betty in front of her piece Disco Urchin]

 

You can follow Betty through her Etsy shop, her Flickr photostream, her website, her blog (which contains info on some of her techniques), and she JUST started selling fabric patterns through Spoonflower!

ACrafty Interview with Mimilove

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Mimilove – painter and embroiderer Karen Grenfell.

When did you start crafting? KG: I have been painting for many moons, but it was in 2002 that Mimilove was born, providing a range of artworks mainly large portraits and abstracts for both individual and commercial clients. In 2004/5 a selection of my work appeared at the Birmingham Nec as part of the Memorabilia UK show, it was here that several paintings were signed by celebrities including David Carridine and Britt Ekland.
Daisy02

The sporting heroes World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst MBE and boxing legend Sir Henry Cooper OBE also signed pieces and the Henry Cooper painting was eventually sold at Sotheby’s later that year!

Since then I have been involved with providing illustrations and artworks for various companies including Blast Recording Studios and Brand New Films.
Funky Chickens!

A collaboration with promoter Steve Wraith and former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock helped to raise funds for children’s charity The Bubble Foundation UK. I have also worked with former Scorpions keyboard player and prog rock musician John Young and grafitti/street artists Id iom.

Over the past 2 years I have moved away from the large scale “pop art” pieces and have combined my love of embroidery with painting to produce mixed media works including a range of Cockney Sparrows and Budgie Stufferies and a unique pet portrait service which can be found around the globe from Alaska to Australia!

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? KG: Ooo all sorts from knitting and crochet (epic failures!) to most recently, concrete casting!
Hero in a half shell...

I pretty much enjoy all the art/craft projects that I do, or try to do! Obviously I’d have to say my painting and embroidery is my main love but I do enjoy pottering around in my garden shed and messing around making things for the garden… I have made quite a few insect and bee houses this year which I’m quite proud to say all have tenants!

What is the silliest question you’ve ever received about your craft? KG: I don’t think I’ve been asked anything silly really. And even I did I would answer it, as I’m always delighted if people are willing to take the time to ask me anything about what I do!
Gordon Bennett! Cockney Sparrow-bit peckish!

What craft project are you most proud of? KG: I would have to say all of the commissioned portraits I’ve worked on. At times they can be overwhelmingly emotional as a lot of the portraits are done posthumously and commissioned by a grieving owner and I’m only too familiar with how devastating a loss like that can be, but when you get it right it’s so rewarding and such a lovely feeling.
Doggy commission - After!

But to know you’ve made someone happy, laugh or cry (in a good way!), that all the research, getting to know the subject, etc. has worked, you can’t get better than that.

What’s the largest craft project you’ve ever tackled? KG: It was actually a painting commission a few years ago. I was commissioned by Blast Recording Studios (in Newcastle-upon-Tyne) to provide a range of musician/band portraits for their new studio. There were 15 in total, most of which measured over 6 ft. x 5 ft. That was quite a challenge, as was posting them!
Gnomely Lonely Heart

Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? KG: Apart from threading the needle with my increasingly bad eyesight?! Trying to maintain confidence and motivation especially during quieter times… It’s like buses; nothing for ages and then all of a sudden 3 come along at once! Also juggling the time for family, cake breaks/naps and the boring day-to-day stuff etc.
...Winter wonderland

How has crafting affected your character? Has it made you more patient, grateful, organized, supportive, adventurous, persistent, proactive, independent, diverse, imaginative, observant, expressive, consistent, brave, calm, etc.? KG: All of the above!

Crazy World of Arthur Brown Guinea Pig!Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? KG: I recently had a comment from a teacher in the USA who uses pictures of my work to inspire her students and I have also had a lot of students from various fields (art, textiles, etc.) who have included my work/cited it as their inspiration in their projects and essays which I was really chuffed about. I have had some really touching emails and letters from people that I have worked for too, which I keep as they inspire me to keep working.

 

What is the one question you’ve never been asked about your craft that you’ve always wanted to answer? KG: That’s a tough one! I’m not really sure?! I do get a lot of people contacting me asking me about my technique and where I get my inspiration from etc. which is lovely because it’s nice to know I’m doing something folks are interested in!
Pidge

What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? KG: From an art point of view I’m busy with commissions and I’m also going to be holding a three day workshop/talk for the Northern Ireland Embroider’s Guild in November so really looking forward to that, although quite nervous too!
Pigeons

On the home front my husband and I are currently in the middle of completely renovating our garden, so I’m working on lots of different projects. I’ve completed a lot of insect/bee hotels and have most recently woven a hazel fence and archway. Our next project is a living willow sculpture and we’ve also recently acquired a concrete polisher so there will be a lot of casting activity!

Big budgie blog GIVEAWAY!I just love being in the garden and in touch with nature etc., and there’s that wonderful feeling at the end of the day, even when you’re absolutely exhausted and filthy when you sit back and look at what you’ve achieved. I also got a great buzz (pardon the pun!) when my first leaf cutter bee moved into the bee box I built!

 

I’m a huge fan of Karen’s work. Her watercolors are absolutely stunning on their own, but the embroidery gives her pieces such texture and depth – they’re like nothing else on earth. So a special thank you from me to Karen for participating in this ACrafty Interview series!

You can follow Mimilove’s adventures on her websiteFlickrblog, Facebook, and Etsy. She says “I’m always thrilled when folks visit my sites so please do drop by and say hello! :)”

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodembroiderer Sasha of What. No Mints?embroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!, the multi-talented David Tedin, needlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpi, and tatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamilton.

ACrafty Interview with Ron Buhler of Gold ‘N Silver

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Ron Buhler. Ron is the jeweler of Gold ‘N Silver, his brick-and-mortar store in Fountain Valley, CA.

When did you start crafting? RB: When I think back, I can’t remember ever not. From a young age I had the desire and a knack for bringing what I see in my mind to reality through my hands. I think it’s a God given nature in us to want to create. I was doing it before I knew what I was doing.

GoldsmithAt the young age of sixteen through family ties I was introduced to gold smithing and this caught my attention quickly. By its mere nature, it was special, if for nothing other than the value man has placed on the materials in which this craft uses. Now after some thirty-five years I enjoyed the craft and it’s challenges as Gold ‘N Silver jewelers.

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? RB: I’ve worked with everything from paint to pencils and leather to wood but, in this interview, I’ll be speaking to the living I’ve made with rock and heavy metal, actually precious metal and gems really.

What’s your most popular project? RB: I have to say my best selling projects have always been wedding and anniversary rings.

Wedding RingsWhat craft project are you most proud of? RB: It would be hard to say which one project I’d be most proud of because over the last 35 years there have been so many, I never kept count. To focus though on what has been so special to me would be this… to actually get to play a part in something as special as someone’s wedding rings. I’ve enjoyed the privilege of making more than thousands of such rings all unique and specific to a bride and groom.

So many of these stories a have touched my heart in special ways. They have played a part in molding and shaping me. These events have given me great insight to the love and interaction of people in love, in this important moment in their lives. I’ve made rings for couples and then for the children that those very relationships have brought forth. In hindsight I wish I’d written them all down, what a story they would tell.

sapphire ringHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? RB: Great question. Sometimes good enough isn’t even close!  This speaks to the core of who I am in this regard. I can remember on more than a few occasions, after putting weeks of my time, effort, and money into a project, just stopping and starting over. You can’t let your pride get the best of you here. Sometimes even with all my years of experience you just don’t see it coming, many times you’re creating something new and you almost can’t guess what you’re going to have to do to get the results you’re looking for.

I’d lay in bed late at night going over and over all the ways I can think to create the outcome, rehearsing a process for making a certain ring or part of a ring. I have a vivid imagination. You and the couple have agreed on what the outcome should be and you start off on a journey. Ring making, like life, is a journey. The only difference is with the ring we can start over, in life starting over can’t really be done. Only starting from today can be done.

How has crafting affected your character? Has it made you more patient, grateful, organized, supportive, adventurous, persistent, proactive, independent, diverse, imaginative, observant, expressive, consistent, brave, calm, etc.? RB: Now you’re really making me think. When I read the list you have made above I noticed these are all what I would consider to be positive character traits. And while I would like to think I value and possess them all, I thought I might ask myself this question. Has crafting affected my character or revealed it? The answer would have to be revealed.

Fork in roadThere are times when I would have to check myself and choose the high road or the road less traveled. I believe from experience that if you want to take any “hobby” or “craft” to the level where it will impact lives or create a financial livelihood you must process all and more of these traits. Unless someone is backing you with the finances it will take to pay your bills and keep the power on, you have to be able and willing to curb your own desires and produce a product that fulfills the desire of the one to whom it is being produced for. Otherwise it will only be art or craft for your own wall or enjoyment. And that might be enough to fulfill your creative needs, and sometimes it has been enough for me.

On the other hand, when I create something that produces tears of joy to stream down the cheek of someone who has entrusted that treasure to me, ahhh, what more can you ask for as a craftsman?

Many thanks to Ron for taking the time to do this ACrafty Interview! At this moment, his shop is undergoing some renovations, so he couldn’t get me photos of his work. However, below is a photo of a custom paisley brooch he created for my Mom (thanks, Mom for taking the photo!). He did a great job of working with my input and budget to create this lovely and unique piece, and my Mom was thrilled with it!acrafty interview gold n' silver paisley pin

Gold ‘N Silver is located at 18850 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708. Call (714) 963-9594 to schedule an appointment with Ron.

Would you like to be a part of this ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodquilter Betty Busbycross stitcher Katie Kutthroatpotter Chris Tedin, and embroiderer Sasha from What. No Mints?

ACrafty Interview with Betty Busby

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Betty Busby! It is my honor to present her art as I am a fervent admirer of her intricate, colorful, and unique work.

When did you start crafting? BB: My two younger sisters and I had “arts and crabs” sessions from way, way back – we were all in elementary school.
acrafty interview with betty busby quilt color me happy
What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? BB: I love a whole ton of things – I actually have a degree in ceramics, and ran a ceramic tile manufacturing plant in Southern California for almost 20 years. I also enjoy knitting very much. Except when it’s too hot out (smile).acrafty interview with betty busby quilt la luz
What craft project are you most proud of? BB: It’s hard to say, currently I am very honored that one of my pieces was awarded Best in Show at the Form, Not Function exhibit at the Carnegie Center. It’s entirely handmade, and took a big chunk of last summer to make.
[This is the winning piece from 2013,titled Retia.]
acrafty interview with betty busby quilt retia
What is the silliest question you’ve ever received about your craft (aside from this one)? BB: Well, somebody will always ask you if it can be washed.
acrafty interview with betty busby quilt diatom 2
What is the one question you wish someone would ask about your craft? BB: Would you like to have a solo show in my 5,000 square foot museum!!
acrafty interview with betty busby quilt after rain
Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? BB: They are all challenges – every time I do something, it’s a bit of an experiment in a different way. I’m working on something right now that is about 180% different from the way I had planned it. Not finished yet, hope it will be worth all the trouble it’s been!
acrafty interview with betty busby quilt push
How has crafting affected your character? BB: I’m sure it’s made me more persistent. I have a “rule” for myself that each project must be finished before the next one gets worked on. So that forces me to get over the “humps”- that boring place when it seems like it’ll never get done – that most of us face.
acrafty interview with betty busby quilt night jungle
Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? BB: We had a 16 year old German exchange student one summer. She told me she liked to draw, and I showed her how to translate that into fiber art. She had never sewed before, but loved it so much that she stayed an additional couple of months and made three quilts while she was here. All while barely being able to speak English!
acrafty interview with betty busby quilt enigma
What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? BB: I’m about to leave for Florida for the opening reception of my solo show at the Dunedin Fine Art Center. It’s a very big honor, but also nerve wracking since all eyes will be on me!
acrafty interview with betty busby quilt ojo caliente

Betty, I just can’t thank you enough for your time. Best of luck with all of your future endeavours… 

You can follow Betty on her blog and at her Etsy shop. I also highly suggest you check her Flickr Photostream to see more of her amazing creations. And I have a sneaking suspicion that I will feature more on this blog with Betty in the future. 

Would you like to be a part of this ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with knitter Sabrinacross stitcher WhateverJamesmulti-crafter Diane from CraftyPod, and knitter Apockylypse!

ACrafty Interview with Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod

Welcome to this week’s ACrafty Interview with Diane Gilleland, the multi-craft, multi-talented heart of CraftyPod.

When did you start crafting? DG: Oh, I’ve been at it since I was a tiny kid. My Mom is very creative, and she always had crafty activities for my brother and I to do. It was just a natural part of our family.acrafty interview craftypod spring easter craft mosaic

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? DG: I’ll try anything once! At the moment I’m most besotted with English Paper Piecing and plastic canvas. But just as an example, in the past week I’ve dabbled with: embroidery, machine sewing, hand quilting, making Kanzashi butterflies (that’s a Japanese fabric-folding craft), and building ornaments from thin birch shavings.

acrafty interview craftypod plastic canvas robotsWhat craft project are you most proud of? DG: Hmmm… that’s tough to answer, only because I’m a process-oriented crafter. The minute I finish something, I kind of lose interest in it. But I do love how this project came out – I rescued some vintage quilt blocks by English paper piecing them into tote bags. I also love my little plastic canvas robots.

 

acrafty interview craftypod kanzashi in bloom book coverIf you’re a seller, what is your most popular project? DG: I don’t sell handmade goods, but I did write a craft book about the aforementioned Kanzashi a few years back, and it’s been pretty popular.

 

 

 

 

acrafty interview craftypod quiltblock coastersHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? DG: Oh, definitely! Crafts challenge me every single time. I’m pretty obsessed with finding new ways to combine techniques and materials, and once I learn how to make anything, I start messing around with different ways to do it.

Each craft has its own mechanics, too – bookbinding is an exercise in slowing down and being precise. Plastic canvas is an exercise in thinking in 3D. Needle felting is about tactile sensation and patiently growing forms. Crochet is about understanding structure. I like being in all these different moments with craft.

acrafty interview craftypod plastic canvas minecraft blocksHow has crafting affected your character? DG: I’m a big believer in the idea that creativity is essential to happiness, and that all humans are creative in some domain. (Peyton Manning, my favorite NFL quarterback, is creative as all get-out at the line of scrimmage. Jaime Oliver is incredibly creative about making healthy home cooking accessible to non-cooks.)

I just think that we’re all at our best when we’re creating, whatever form that takes – we’re connected to what’s essential about us, and we’re manifesting that in the world.

For me personally, crafting is a way to connect with people through classes and the online community, but it’s also important as a way to enter my own thoughts, work out problems, and process emotions. It’s almost a form of meditation for me. Simply put, if I go too long without making things, I get quite crabby and difficult.

acrafty interview craftypod quilted hexagon coastersCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? DG: Way back in 2003, I ran across a piece in a magazine about the Church of Craft, which is a worldwide group devoted to crafts as a spiritual idea. I found myself wishing there was a chapter in Portland, where I live. And eventually, it occurred to me that there would be one if I started it!

It was a huge step for me, a shy person, to organize a public craft group for strangers and have to get out there and promote it. I changed a whole lot as a result of the project. But in the six years the group met, I watched people make new friends, share all kinds of helpful resources, and just get a couple hours to relax and make things among like-minded folks. I witnessed the healing power of crafts over and over again.

acrafty interview craftypod quilting happiness book coverWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? DG: I have a new book coming out on August 27! It’s co-authored with Christina Lane, who’s such a talented quilter. The book is called Quilting Happiness, and it works on two levels: it’s a collection of Christina’s beautiful projects, and it’s also filled with creative exercises, quizzes, little vision-building projects, tools, and stories to help you explore all the ways quilting makes you happy. We’re so excited to see this work finally making its way out into the world!

Thanks very much, Diane, for sharing your insights, and best of luck with your new book!

You can follow Diane’s adventures on her CraftyPod blog, Twitter, and Facebook. I was lucky enough to be featured in a CraftyPod interview in March. Her “Image-Only Interview” series is fascinating and addictive – I highly recommend you check it out!

Would you like to be a part of this ACrafty interview series? Just contact me!

You also might like to see the ACrafty Interviews featuring knitter Sabrina Larson and cross stitcher WhateverJames