ACrafty Interview with Arlee Barr – Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of this fascinating ACrafty Interview with Arlee Barr, textile and quilt artist. Arlee’s responses are so engaging that the interview was split into two parts! Here’s a link to Part 1, if you missed it or would like to refresh your memory.

acrafty interview - arlee barr ecoprint triptychs

I took a look at some of your first Flickr uploads from 2005. How would you say that your work has changed over the last eight years? AB: There was a long period where i lost myself, literally and figuratively, in the explosion of “mixed media” where every colour was used, every texture, every technique, every found and bought object with every commercial product imagined. The only thing that held it all together for me, however weakly, was the fabric that was the base i worked from, and the fact that suddenly i was making something that was not wearable, that didn’t have to fit anyone, but that was possibly art. When i discovered natural dyeing and other organic cloth marking methods, my whole approach changed. Initially even with these elemental fabrics, i used a fair bit of machine work, then slowly moved into just hand embroidery, finding that the look while more delicate appearing, was quite strong and unifying. As i continue to “find the image” in the unique marks inherent in the process of staining or dyeing, they are becoming works with an amalgam now of machine and hand. I use a lot of free motion embroidery as it can be very gestural, using those areas as either accent or a base to build on with hand embroidery. When i was first doing hand embroidery in my 20’s, i knew only of satin stitch and french knots, but now i prefer cleaner lines and the effects from simple stitches with a few fancies thrown in along the way for texture. I let the fabric move as it will (i loathe embroidery hoops) and with those basic stitches used experimentally, can control the depth of manipulation and the resulting texture.

I’ve pared down my colour use, and refuse to use “technique driven” response as art. It’s not important to show the kitchen sink in everything you create. As i get older, and ironically, my eyesight poorer, i focus literally and figuratively more on the details.

acrafty interview - arlee barr the difference between a plum

 

acrafty interview - arlee barr wild rose series

Has an art project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? AB: I’m currently working on a large project (“Anno Suturae”, 48×72”) that i initially thought would take a year. As it turns out, it’s evolving into 2 years at least, and will have to be pluralized! All hand worked, it’s incorporating things i’ve learned or are still testing with hand stitch. Because hand work takes a lot of time, trying to divide my attention for work that will be seen and work that is intensely personal, has been hard.

How has art affected your character? AB: I’ve evolved into more of an intuitive maker than a deliberate product artist. I’ve learned patience, perseverance and a more critical eye to what i am expressing and how i utilize needle and thread to externalize that. Patience first and foremost is what you have to have as an artist: patience for the process, the technique and most of all your own satisfaction and soul. Patience is trust, learning to find your own voice and knowing your instincts are right.

Can you share a story about how your art has affected others? AB: When i created “Mother’s Heart”, i received a lot of messages about how heart issues of all sorts had affected people’s lives. From poignant memories of of loved ones and their subsequent death, to a painful revelation from a former nurse, to feelings of revulsion and anger, i had no idea of how it would be perceived by others: i had intended only to show Mother Nature as i saw her, with the use of naturally dyed and ecoprinted fabrics and hand stitch. She’s a force, and one that directs all doings and it was an homage to her, rather than a representation of the body or health issues. A fascinating lesson in interpretation!acrafty interview - arlee barr mother's heart

What do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? AB: The future is now! I’m striving to create a body of work as it gives continuity and purpose to my life, and am hoping to finalize a solo show in the next year. A few years ago i was ready to throw in the towel and never make anything ever again–my dear Greyman was explicit in his words “if you quit being an artist, you will go crazy–and so will i!” It made me realize that having been creative all my life, that there was no stopping at any point for any reason. I can’t imagine not making or planning *something*. Even with the immensely destructive June 2013 flooding in Calgary Alberta that affected me personally in my home based studio and emotionally speaking, causing a bit of a “drought” in my creative process, i have found new hope, new work emerging and a stronger appreciation for Mother Nature and the inspiration i find in her.

Much of my imagery and subtexts relate to what is internal to me; i can only hope that someone else can feel what i am saying. Having dealt with mental health issues all my life, i can only say that it is healing, calming and necessary to express myself as i do in this medium. Cloth is soothing to everyone, from birth to death and all the days in between. I do believe that today’s world with all it’s supposed cosmopolitan and sophisticated attitude yearns for a more personal, grounded approach to art, one without heavy concept, overly political statement or existing for sheer prettiness’s sake.

You just don’t quit on yourself!

acrafty interview - arlee barr work in progress

 

Once again, many thanks to Arlee for her participation in this ACrafty Interview series! As she commented on Part 1 of the interview, Arlee was glad for “the opportunity to ‘explain’ [herself].” I think we are all the beneficiaries of her generous insights into her work.

Also once again, thanks to fellow ACrafty Interview subject Betty Busby (original interview and followup) for suggesting that I approach Arlee for the series.

You can follow Arlee’s adventures on her blog, her FacebookFlickr, and her shop

Please note that Arlee does not want any of the images that she provided above copied, Pinned, or used in any way without her permission. An excerpt from her Flickr profile: “Please do not add my photos to your Pinterest without asking me–this violates the copyright clause that say *I* have exclusive right to decide where my work is distributed–my photos are ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.”

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 Hamiltonpotter Nancy Germondbasketweaver Tina Puckettquilter and pursemaker Linda Martin, and cross stitcher Meredith Cait.

ACrafty Interview with Arlee Barr – Part 1

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Arlee Barr, textile artist. Arlee’s responses are so thorough and engaging that the interview has been split into two parts!

Here’s Part 1 to start your fascinating look at her art and process: acrafty interview - arlee barr embroidery for vest from original pen and ink drawing

When did you start making art? AB: I’ve always considered myself an artist, whether it was my first realistic renderings of an airplane (the family having lived several years above a hanger when i was quite young!), drawings of plants and animals, writing poetry and critiques for a Canadian literary magazine when i was 16, moving onto pen and ink renderings of fantasy elements in my late teens and then in my 20’s, with a child added to the mix, translating my drawings into embroidery and making clothing for myself and my son that were way past the considered norm of the time. ( I could find that boy in *any* crowd 🙂 )

I come from a long matriarchal line of women who Did simply because they had to, and knowing that it was the way of their lives. I credit my mother first and foremost. She taught me to break the rules, to think as an individual and to re-invent the wheel, teaching me to sew by hand when i was five: i created a series of Barbie type dolls with all of their clothes sewn on, seams visible and impossible to take off unless i cut them! When i was seven, i had lessons on a sewing machine and by the time i was nine, was making all of my own clothes. When i was 13, my grade 8 home ec teacher was bothered by the fact that while everyone else was busy figuring out the intricacies of an apron or pyjama pants, i was already making more complicated gusseted and gored mid Eastern styled dresses.

My mother was widely read, immersed herself in museum and gallery visits, bringing home a new sensibility about world apparel and style, almost a hippie in her wanderings through those respectable findings. Because of her, i see things differently, and she encouraged me to experiment and explore what could be done with a needle and thread. It wasn’t until my teens though, that i realized that what i was doing could be art rather than craft. I was also lucky enough to be hanging around with a bunch of students who were taken under the wing of an incredibly talented art teacher would take us to Hamilton and Toronto to the galleries and art colleges, on his own dime.

acrafty interview - arlee barr street pretty

What mediums have you tried and what is your current favorite? AB: I painted, i wrote poetry (still do), i created mixed media collages and shrines, i dabbled in everything i could but nothing really held my interest unless i went back to a needle and thread, whether on a machine or by hand. In my 30’s i started selling my wearable art and with the encouragement of friends and a helpful counsellor, entered a 2 year Textile Arts programs at North Vancouver’s Capilano College (BC), 1993-95. (Now known as Capilano University and with the program cut and gone, sadly…) I joked for years after that all i learned was how to better my machine applique from that 2 year period, not knowing how much of the art history and design ethic actually sank in. I’m grateful that it did, finally seeping up from the depths to colour what i am and how i do things almost 20 years later.

acrafty interview - arlee barr tawdry rose 3

acrafty interview - arlee barr hand of the fatherWhat project are you most proud of? AB: All of my work is full of pride and satisfaction. It’s as simple as if it didn’t work and i don’t like it, it never gets shown, or even finished! If i had to choose a favourite piece, it would be like saying i loved one child more than another, but i have a special fondness and memories for “Beautiful Bones” (2009), “Hand of the Father” (2010), “Raggedy Black Heart” (2011) and and my most recent completed piece, “Mother’s Heart”. All of them relate to certain emotional issues i have dealt with: the ubiquitous feelings of mortality and the sense that we are all beautiful and the same under the skin, my father’s death, a friend’s very confused and sad life ending and a response to Mother Nature (and indirectly to my own mother).

acrafty interview - arlee barr beautiful bones

What is the silliest question you’ve received regarding your work? AB: I was working on a complex, cloth woven and hand and machine embroidered piece while waiting in a doctor’s office, and a woman asked me if there was a pattern for it. When i said no, she sniffed and walked away—i think there are people who believe patterns, kits and someone else telling you this MUST be the way to do it and that it’s the ONLY way, is a very sad approach to “creativity” and being either artist or craftsperson. I also get tired of someone scanning over a piece i’ve spent months on by hand, and then asking me if i could make placemats for them. Nope.

acrafty interview - arlee barr haystack

What is your most popular (or bestselling) project? AB: I’m very grateful to have discovered the wonders and mysteries of natural dyeing and ecoprinting. I rarely use any commercial fabrics now, unless they are bits of scrounged or thrift shopped articles. This means that anything i create now is really built from as close to scratch as one can get without actually weaving the cloth first! I “share the wealth” by selling one of a kind fabrics for other artists who incorporate it into their own work.acrafty interview - arlee barr original fabrics

Do you sketch most of your work before you begin, or do you work without a pattern or plan? AB: Yes and no! My sketchbooks are full of very rudimentary scribbles and notes. Words are more important to me as inspiration: bits of poetry, a strange turn of phrase, an overheard bit of conversation. I then audition my fabrics and the one that speaks most emotionally to me is the one i start with. I’d rather have the actual art made than make art of the notes themselves. I’ve seen wonderful sketchbooks from other artists, but for me personally they are a waste of time, a waste of resources, and leave me no energy or inclination for the actual art! I’d rather be making it than planning it. I do lightly audition certain bits in a loose way on some paper, but that’s not always the case or a comfortable way for me to develop what i want to say. The only “serious” sketchbook work i do, is to sometimes do a print out of the base fabric with a few ideas and then overdraw on it where i might use certain stitches or motifs. I keep all of these print outs in a workbook divided into either dates worked on or thematically. I can then look back for ideas for future work, or see how things are evolving, and building a library of personal iconography.

The most important tool i have in the documentation process is my notebook of thread ends with the company, colourway and number recorded: since i do a lot of projects at once, i need to be able to refer back to which threads i have used in each one.acrafty interview - arlee barr imperfect world

 

– End of Part 1

Many thanks to Arlee for her participation in this ACrafty Interview series! Part 2 of her interview will be posted next Thursday, October 17, so stay tuned for the rest of this glimpse into her work. Also thanks to fellow ACrafty Interview subject Betty Busby (original interview and followup) for suggesting that I approach Arlee for the series.

In the meantime, you can follow Arlee’s adventures on her blog, her FacebookFlickr, and her shop

Update: Link to Part 2

Please note that Arlee does not want any of the images that she provided above copied, Pinned, or used in any way without her permission. An excerpt from her Flickr profile: “Please do not add my photos to your Pinterest without asking me–this violates the copyright clause that say *I* have exclusive right to decide where my work is distributed–my photos are ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.”

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 Hamiltonpotter Nancy Germond, basketweaver Tina Puckettquilter and pursemaker Linda Martin, and cross stitcher Meredith Cait.

ACrafty Interview with Linda Martin

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Linda Martin, quilter and pursemaker!

acrafty interview - linda martin bargello quiltWhen did you start crafting? LM: I think I have always worked on craft type projects. I remember as a child getting craft kits as gifts. Making collages, animals, painting, knitting, sewing, and crochet were always something I did. My Mom and Grandma always worked with me on them and taught me many useful skills along the way.

acrafty interview - linda martin painting of son jasonWhat crafts have you tried and what’s your favorite now? LM: I probably have tried most every kind of craft. In addition to those I already mentioned I have made many clothes, curtains, tablecloths and pillows. For many years I painted with oils and acrylics. I made many landscapes, portraits and animal paintings. Working with color and design was always part of my life. My favorite now is quilting. It’s been a natural progression of my interest in color and design projects.

 

 

acrafty interview - linda martin musical quiltWhat project are you most proud of? LM: Right now I’m very proud of a project I created this summer. I was asked by a friend to make a “music” quilt. I thought a lot about it and came up with a very free form kind of create as you go project. Of course I had the help of a friend as we brainstormed ideas back and forth. The quilt took me outside my normal comfort zone of making quilt blocks and putting them together.

acrafty interview - linda martin purse 2Have you ever started a project without a pattern or a plan? LM: I can’t think of a time when I didn’t have some kind of a plan, pattern or design in my head. Sometimes things change along the way, but I have a picture in my head.

 

 

 

 

 

acrafty interview - linda martin seaside quiltHas a project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? LM: Some projects have challenged me for sure, but I have always found a way to complete them. Sometimes I will put a quilt away for a while and let it rest! Really my head usually needs a “vacation” from it while I figure out a way to make it work.

 

How has crafting affected your character? LM: Since I have been making some kind of creative projects most of my life, it’s hard to tell if my character has developed because of my life experiences or creative experiences. I suspect it’s both.

acrafty interview - linda martin purse 1Since I was an elementary school teacher for over 30 years my organizational skills from teaching have certainly help me be better at my creative projects. When I began teaching we had to create our own classroom environment. That gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to draw and paint. I had always been too reticent to to take art classes because of fear of criticism. But as I got compliments and “oh wows” on my work from fellow teachers, my confidence grew. I gradually began painting. This taught me lots of perseverance because painting is very much a developmental process. Observing details is also important to a successful product. (whether it’s painting or quilting). Color and patterns in nature transfer to the finished painting or quilt.

acrafty interview - linda martin regatta quiltEven though I’m no longer painting, many of these skills apply to my sewing and quilting. The balance of color and design elements are also very important. This is often the most important part of the quilt. Without the right balance the quilt will not work. When I finish a project whether it’s a purse or a quilt I’m really proud of it. Sometimes I look at the result and say wow, I did it!

As I’ve gained confidence in my work, I’ve definitely become more adventurous to try new things. This summer I made a landscape and a portrait quilt (wall hangings really)! I guess I was brave to try those things.

acrafty interview - linda martin quiltCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? LM: Some of my friends who are not quilters have been curious about what I do. I have shared my skills with them as well as the process of creating a quilt. I helped and encouraged one to make a purse and a pillow! I have also given many quilts and purses as gifts.

acrafty interview - linda martin purse 3What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? LM: I’d like to continue with making purses and quilts, trying to expand my horizons with new kinds of projects. Another goal of mine is to do more free hand quilting on my long arm quilting machine. That’s a whole other learning curve!

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Linda for taking the time to participate in this ACrafty interview series, and thanks to previous interviewee, jeweler Ron Buhler, for recommending her for the series! Best of luck with the free hand quilting…

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 Ellen of Schindermania!, needlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamilton, stone artist Jerry Locke, potter Nancy Germond, and Tina Puckett of Tina’s Baskets.

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 Jerry Locke of Walls That Rock

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Jerry Locke, stone artist of Walls that Rock.

When did you start crafting? JL: I have and odd theory about that. I believe that crafters, artists, entertainers, lead guitarists, stand up comedians, etc. are all usually first borns, and though many of us don’t want to admit it, we have a need for applause and acceptance that comes from competing for parental attention. For example “Mama has that baby in her arms all the time! I’m gonna have to do something really cool just to get a smile.”

acrafty interview - jerry locke stone mountainscape 1

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? JL: Wow, that’s a long list. Let’s just say that I’ve worked in every medium most people can think of, including glass, fabric, and photography. I am a life long musician with a degree in poetry writing and I currently make a living with stone. I’m that weird guy. My current favorite is always the one I’m working on now.

Do you currently do other crafts outside of your commercial pieces? JL: Not frequently, but sometimes. What I do with my hands has to pay my bills. Time for other fun stuff is hard to come by.

What is the largest project or piece you have created? JL: Physically, the largest piece I have done is a 14 ft wall hanging mountainscape for a client/friend.

acrafty interview - jerry locke stone mountainscape 5
From your question let’s replace “largest” with “most challenging”. The most challenging pieces I do are always commissions. With commissions I am always trying to meet the expectations of an individual or small group. I would much rather be selfish and just do what I want to do.

Is the stone you use from local sources or from a variety of locations? JL: The stone I use comes from all over the world. I can get most of it nearby because I live in Tucson. Tucson has the largest gem and mineral show in the world.

I buy stone much like a quilter would buy fabric. Although some of the history of some of the stone would be fascinating, there would also be sad stories of cruelty and poverty and I don’t want my worked to get bogged down by that. I try to keep a clear head surrounded by an incredible geology and human history that surrounds me.

acrafty interview - jerry locke stone mountainscape 2

Are you ever surprised by what you find inside a stone once you cut or polish it? JL: Of course. My work is a collaboration with nature and she does not let me forget that she is the master and I am the apprentice.

How has crafting affected your character? JL: Well I think first off it’s made me less patient with difficult questions (kidding). But Catherine, THAT’S A HUGE QUESTION.

I think this goes back to your first question and basically to do what I do and make a living at it, I have to be a tireless self-motivated, self-starter with an insane need for smiles and the good sense to know that other people have to live with me and I have to live with myself.

acrafty interview - jerry locke stone mountainscape 3

Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? JL: I don’t know that it has, and I’m really not out to change anyone’s life. I just hope that when people look at my work that it makes them feel good and perhaps takes them out of their life just a little bit. I’m happy with that.

What projects do you have coming up in the future?  Why are they appealing to you? JL: I don’t really have any big projects in my sights. I have a Fall tour, and a Spring tour, etc. I would really just like to get normal for a change.

Many thanks to Jerry for taking the time for this interview. He spends a lot of time on the road traveling to various craft shows, and this can make communication challenging sometimes. I hope you get the opportunity to see his unique and beautiful works in person!

You can follow Jerry’s adventures on his website and Facebook.

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?, the multi-talented David Tedinneedlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpi, tatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamilton, and painter and embroiderer Karen of Mimilove.

ACrafty Interview with Chris Tedin

Welcome to this week’s ACrafty Interview with Chris Tedin. Chris is a potter, and he is also a talented artist in the areas of drawing, painting, and sculpture. He’s a Faculty member of the Animation & Visual Effects Department of the Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy in Chicago. He can create works in three dimensions in the physical world, four dimensions in cyberspace, and he lives and works around some of the best art and architecture in the world. I have to admit I’m a little envious of his abilities and location (but only in the best ways!).

ACrafty Interview - Chris Tedin pottery teapot 3When did you start crafting? CT: I began to pursue the craft of clay during my senior year as an undergraduate. I was fascinated by the process of building pottery, and the endless possibilities that it afforded me as an artist. I was fascinated by the firing process, and building my own kilns to fire the clay with wood was an incredible experience.

 

 

 

 

ACrafty Interview - Chris Tedin pottery tall vase 1What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? CT: I think that clay provides me with the most flexibility in terms of form, and allows me the ability to make functional as well as large scale sculptural works.

 

 

 

 

 

ACrafty Interview - Chris Tedin pottery cup 1What craft project are you most proud of? CT: I think the pieces that are used every day seem to satisfy me the most. The large scale sculptural pieces are satisfying in a totally different way. They are primarily symbolic and aesthetic. Although they are carefully “crafted” in the same way a good coffee cup might be, or a teapot, the large pieces speak to another kind of expression, and therefore are more abstract. A bowl is used every day, and is simple and direct, and easily accepted. Neither is “better” than the other, just serve different purposes. I like to see my work used in an everyday context. When someone enjoys a cup of coffee, I am with them every morning, enjoying it with them. I find a great deal of satisfaction in that.

ACrafty Interview - Chris Tedin pottery teapot 1What’s the biggest craft project you’ve ever tackled? CT: I tend to use my craft projects to “keep it simple” and try not to be too ambitious. My work is direct and quick, for the most part. My sculptures tend to be more time consuming, so I use the crafts I learn in pottery to execute them. I have made works that are over 9 feet tall, and weigh over 500 pounds. But my pottery is much lighter and more manageable. My teapots can be time consuming to execute, requiring me to throw a half a dozen parts, and assembling them together before firing them.

 

ACrafty Interview - Chris Tedin pottery medium vaseHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? CT: Each piece has a unique challenge, but as I find myself becoming more familiar with the fundamental forms, they are a natural part of me. The only surprises now are in the glaze firings, when I’m testing out new glazes or firing using different “atmospheres.”

 

 

 

ACrafty Interview - Chris Tedin pottery bowl on wheelHow has crafting affected your character? CT: Working in craft, especially pottery, gives me a strong sense of “center.” I know that, no matter how challenging my day has been, that the clay is always ready for me, and since I know its language, I am always ready for it. I am more patient by using clay, and much more willing to take risks with forms, glazes and allowing for accidents to occur in the work. My imagination is always sparked by things in nature, and I love exploring those forms in my work on the wheel.

ACrafty Interview - Chris Tedin pottery tall vase in progressCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? CT: My friend, Joe Crossetto, is a sculptor and painter. After working in clay around him, he got the “bug,” and began using clay as his primary medium for the last 5 years. He purchased a large gas kiln, has executed a dozen sculptures, and throws on the wheel regularly. He loves to experiment with glazes, and it is something that has brought us closer together as friends.

 

 

ACrafty Interview - Chris Tedin pottery bowlWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? CT: I have been sketching some ideas for sculpture and pottery, but I will be throwing a lot of large and medium sized bowls in the next few months. It seems that bowls are popular, and I would love to see more of my pieces being used by my friends. I also love throwing bowls because it’s simple, but there are a surprising number of variations that are possible.

Thanks so much, Chris, for sharing your valuable time with us! 

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 CraftyPodknitter Apockylypsequilter Betty Busby, and cross stitcher Katie Kutthroat!

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!