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.

Review – New DMC Floss Colors

For the first time in nearly 15 years, there are new DMC floss colors! The company has released other products in recent years – variegated flosses, metallic solids and medleys, fluorescents, and a glow in the dark floss (that works great), but these are the first solids in a long time.
DMC Floss New October 2013 At this time, these new flosses can only be purchased in a pack with all 16 colors. I’m hoping that they start selling the individual flosses soon! DMC has a press release with a link to a color card about these new colors that you can read. However, here’s my take (and you can click on the photos below to take a closer look):

DMC 3886First, I think the best additions are the purples. DMC 3886 is called Very Dark Plum, and it comes after 915 (top of photo). It is absolutely gorgeous and a very welcome newcomer.

 

 

 

DMC 3887I’ll say the same for DMC 3887, called Ultra Very Dark Lavender (first from top). These two purples fill some real gaps in the DMC pallette.

 

 

 

DMC 3880DMC 3880 is called Medium Very Dark Shell Pink. According to DMC, the color falls between 3721 and 221 (first from top in photo). I find this color to be nearly identical to 3722 (third from top)

 

 

 

DMC 3880 Suggestion and I’m wondering if this color would work better as in this photo, between 3859 and 3858.

 

 

 

 

 

DMC 3881DMC 3881 is Pale Avocado Green, and it is supposed to fill a gap between 471 and 470 (second from bottom)

 

 

 

 

DMC 3881 Suggestionbut I’m wondering if it may look better in this green color family, between 3348 and 3347.

 

 

 

 

DMC 3882I’m going to sound picky again, but I’m thinking that DMC 3882, Medium Light Cocoa, might go in another spot. According to the color chart, this color should go between 3861 and 3860 (second from top). I find the color to be nearly indistinguishable from 839,

 

 

DMC 3882 Suggestionand may actually look better between 3862 and 3031.

 

 

 

 

 

DMC 3883DMC 3883, Medium Light Copper (second from bottom) is a nice addition to this orange family, although it’s only a very slight variation from it’s neighbors 922 and 921.

 

 

 

DMC 3884DMC 3884 , Medium Light Pewter, falls between 169 and 317, (second from bottom) which is part of a realm of subtle differences in grays. I find it’s also very close to 535.

 

 

 

DMC 3885DMC 3885 is called Medium Very Dark Blue. While I welcome new blues, I find this one to be nearly the same as it’s neighbor 824. Fortunately, they’re both really lovely royal dark blues.

 

 

 

DMC 3888DMC 3888 is Medium Dark Antique Violet. According to DMC, it falls between 3041 and 3740 (first from top). Like the blue 3885 above, it’s a lovely color, but it is incredibly close to it’s neighbor 3041.

 

 

DMC 3889DMC 3889, Medium Light Lemon, (first from bottom) is a good addition to this series of yellows.

 

 

 

 

DMC Bright BluesBeside the purples at the top of this post, the two turquoises DMC 3890 and DMC 3891 (at top and fourth from top) are my favorite new colors. They expand these sets of incredibly bright and vibrant blues that I love.

 

 

DMC 3892DMC 3892 (second from top) is called Medium Light Orange Spice and it fills a gap in this family of orange. However, it is very, very close to the two colors 971 and 970.

 

 

 

DMC 3893DMC 3893, Very Light Mocha Beige, is a subtle step between it’s neighbors 543 and 3864.

 

 

 

 

DMC 3894I’m happy to see this new green, DMC 3894, A.K.A. Very Light Parrot Green (at bottom). This is a perfect newcomer to this nice bright set of greens.

 

 

 

DMC 3895Last, but not least, is DMC 3895, Medium Dark Beaver Gray. It’s a good addition to this range of subtle grays.

 

 

 

 

I have a couple footnotes on this post. First, in order to get the full effect of the differences and similarities of the flosses, you really need to see them for yourself in different types of lighting. I’ve tried my best to capture the subtleties of the color differences, but cameras can’t always do the same job as the human eye.

Interview Q2Second, you have to account for some differences between the color of skeins. DMC has incredible quality control and they produce amazingly consistent colors. However, I may have skeins that are slightly different in color than DMC’s laboratory conditions or the lighting in your house or workplace. So when you look at 3892 and think “That’s not even close to 971 or 970! Is she on drugs or something?” The answer is “well, maybe a glass of wine,” and please remember that colors will look different in various locations and lighting.

All that being said, what do you think of the new colors? Have you been able to see them in person? Has my review above helped you? Let me know in the comments!

new dmc floss colors patternUpdate February 2015: I now have a project that uses all of the 16 new colors in a fun geometric pattern. Take a look!

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.

Water Themed Crafts Part 4

Welcome to healthy water themed crafts part 4! These are crafts that encourage us to drink more water and that help us appreciate clean rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Parts 1, 2, and 3 covered crafts ranging from crochet to polymer clay, woodworking to scrapbooking, and chainmaille to knitting. Today, in this fourth of six posts, I’m covering needlepoint and cross stitch, baking, glassblowing, basketweaving, and sewing.
The Penny Wishing Well

 [The Penny Wishing Well by Paula Steele via Flickr]

Water Themed Crafts in Needlepoint and Cross Stitch

Let me start with this piece by Diane Herrmann entitled “Walking the Water’s Edge” on BridgesMathArt. This combines two of my favorite things, needlepoint and geekery, into a beautiful result. From the post: “To be mathematically precise, we work with the sum of two trigonometric curves to show the action of water as it sloshes over itself in the push to get on the shore.” Love this!

 

healthy water crafts - dragonfly pillowIn a less mathematical vein is this dragonfly cushion kit available on TheStitchery. The 4.5 to the inch gauge would be a bit large for me, but it does have some very pretty watery effects.

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - water dragon cross stitch patternThen I found this Water Dragon pattern available on Flowers2Flowers. Accompanying the Chinese symbol for water, he’s a rather handsome water beast.

 

 

 

 

Needlepoint piece / WMMW BLUE / for cushion cover top or wall decor etc.Finally is this amazing wave interference pattern by Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpi. This is one of the projects from Cresus-Parpi that first got my jaw-dropping attention. If you would like to read more about her works, I featured an interview with Haruhi in July 2013. The original needlepoint project has been sold, but I wonder if Haruhi would consider selling the pattern?

Water Themed Crafts in Baking

I fully realize that the terms “healthy,” “water,” and “baking” don’t necessarily complement each other. However, when it comes to appreciating clean water, there certainly are many examples of this in baked goods. I’ll start with this amazing water cooler bottle cake by YenersCakes in Australia. How fun is this?

 

 

Next up are these clever water bottle cookies by CristinsCookies, made as part of a massive order of seven different bicycling-themed cookies (sunglasses, jersey, bicycle, etc.) for one of her customers.

 

 

This lush scene from BubbleandSweet is really more of a party planning post, but you won’t find a party more water-themed than this. Here’s additional tutorial information about the pearly cake and macaron tower, and the very cute mermaid cookies.

 

 

 

 

cake wavesCraftsy has this great tutorial on how to make wave ruffles from fondant. On the same post, they have a link to this post full of beach-themed cakes. CreativeCelebrations also has this post featuring, among others, numerous examples of cakes with shell and beach themes. Lots of inspiration out there!

 

 

 

 

Waves & Beachy Heart Cookies | Make Me Cake MeI’ll finish up with some helpful tutorials for some gorgeous wavey and beachy decorated cookies. First up are the instructions for these Summer Lovin’ Beachy Heart Cookies by MakeMeCake. Cute!

 

 

 

Beach cookieNext is a link to a video tutorial by Sweetambs for these beach cookies (love the drawing in the sand),

 

 

 

Wave and Surfboard Cookies - by Glorious Treatsand lastly is this totally gnarly DIY for wave cookies (along with some excellent surfboards and swim trunks) by GloriousTreats. Honestly, I’d feel guilty eating any of these cookies I’ve featured as they’re just too gorgeous (but I bet they’re absolutely delicious)!

 

Water Themed Crafts in Glasswork

Let’s start with this simple and pretty tutorial for this beachy glass gem art by Shannon at MadiganMade. It’s inexpensive, sparkly, and in her own words “…this sucker was HEAVY,” but she loves it!

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - lampwork bead with wave patternThere is an ebook tutorial for this gorgeous lampwork ocean scene bead from BeadsandBotanicals via ArtFire.

 

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - lampwork bead with wave pattern tutorialFrom Victoria’sGlassworks on the LampworkEtc site is a DIY on how to create this type of beautiful wavey beads.

 

 

 

Making-Waves-with-Glass-image2BeingBesidetheSeaside shares some information on how to make waves and bubbles in fused glass,

 

 

 

kim merriman fused glass waveand KimMerrimanArt has these examples of colorful waves in fused glass for some inspiration.

 

 

 

Here’s a quick video on YouTube from ExpertVillage on how to create waves in blown glass, and there are numerous sources of inspiration for wave shapes and patterns in blown glass. First is this example by NewHopeStainedGlass on their Etsy store.

 

 

 

 

 

Next is this beautiful “Coastal Bowl” by Wind’sEdgeStudio.

 

 

 

 

Iridescent Hand Blown Glass Bottle VaseThen there is this iridescent wave pattern vase by Josh Fradis in his Etsy store,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and also this amber wave vase by Carl Radke via ArtfulHome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glass wave sculpture by Mario CeroliThis glass wave piece (via CluboftheWaves) by Mario Ceroli is unique and beautiful,

 

 

Chihulybut when it comes to the expression of water and wave forms in blown glass, the ultimate artist may be Dale Chihuly. A Flickr search on “Chihuly” produces some beautiful photos, and his website has all his details, including his exhibition schedule. If you’ve ever been to the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas or seen the movie Ocean’s 11, his enormous work “Fiori di Como” adorns the ceiling of the lobby.

Water Themed Crafts in Basketweaving

healthy water crafts - chumash native american water basketI was curious about the existence of watertight baskets and I found this conversation on the topic on Yuku. Not surprisingly, it seems they’re difficult to weave, and require maintenance to keep their water-tightness, if not pitch and/or seeds to effectively plug all of the tiny holes. The book Survival Skills of Native California seems to have more definitive information on the topic

 

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - large wave basket lampshadesI’m happy to say there are some beautiful examples of waves in basket weaving. First are these large scale pieces made by Lin Lovekin as lampshades for a restaurant.

 

 

Wave basketNext is this amazing wave basket piece featured on SmithsonianMag.com.  It was part of an exhibit featuring the basket weaving art of African slaves who were brought to the American South.

 

healthy water crafts - pakistan wave basketThis simple but elegant wave basket is from Pakistan and available on RedPeacockImports,

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - wave basketand among other of her wavey designs is this fun piece by Sheila Wray on her site, BeyondtheBasicBasket.

Water Themed Crafts in Sewing

healthy water crafts - sewn water bottle carrierTo encourage us to drink more water, Jennifer Stern at CraftStylish has this detailed tutorial to sew an embroidered water bottle carrier. I like this tutorial as she describes how to size the carrier for a bottle you already own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - sewn layered wave skirtThen what girl wouldn’t want this very cool skirt! This great tutorial by Julie Martin of ZozoBugBaby via PetitePurls has measurements for different sizes and ways to reuse fabrics into this pretty project.

 

 

SewMamaSew featured a DIY by Alisa Burke from her book Sew Wild for this water inspired mobile for a baby’s room. I love the unstructured nature of the project, and how it is so bright and colorful while being different from most of the super-cutesy things made for new babies.

 

 

 

 

 

This lovely sea waves pillow is a tutorial from Amy Friend on the SizzixBlog. They share the colors of the gorgeous Kona Cottons they used, and although they used the Sizzix die cutter, I’m sure similar shapes could be achieved other ways (and how did she get her points to match up so perfectly?).

 

Pin cushion tutorialI adore this larger scale “pin pillow” by Lori at TheInboxJaunt. It’s a great way to use up tiny scraps and make a colorful and very functional pincushion. I’d love to make one someday!

 

 

I’ve found two tutorials for wavey bags. The first is the (depressingly named but very pretty) Wave Goodbye tote on WeddingDressBlue. A nice touch is at the bottom of the post – there are photos of completed projects by her readers.

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - wave tucked preppy handbagThe next tutorial is this bright Wave Tucked Preppy Handbag at Sew4Home. The fabrics used in this project are great and I bet there are some other combinations that would be equally fabulous.

 

 

 

 

OCEAN BUTTONS... 5 beach stone button tagsFor the details, these Ocean Buttons by MadeforFun on their Etsy shop would be a perfect way to finish off a water-themed project. Each button is roughly one inch in diameter – making it perfect for a bag or an ocean inspired sweater.

 

 

hd-mosaic_wave_col_3Finally, I had the good luck to find this fun ribbon, based on a mosaic tile wave pattern, on BelloModo. This could be used to beautiful effect in so many projects!

 

 

 

That completes this fourth post on healthy water crafts, covering needlepoint and cross stitch, baking, glass work, basket weaving, and sewing. Is there anything in these crafty categories that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you have checked out the previous posts of this series! Part 1 featured crochet, woodworking, quilling, lace and tatting, weaving and tapestry, and mosaic tilePart 2 featured polymer clay, embroidery, scrapbooking, metalworking, ceramics, and stained glassPart 3 covered healthy water crafts in knitting, paint, beadwork, chainmaille, leatherwork, and gardening.

And stay tuned for the next TWO installments, featuring quilting, felt, jewelry, soapmaking, and a whole lot more!

[Update: Here are Part 5 and Part 6 in the series!]

ACrafty Interview with Meredith Cait

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Meredith Cait, embroiderer of Hardcore StitchCorps.

When did you start crafting? Did anyone help get you started or did you find your own way? MC: We were always an artistic family in general, but I wouldn’t say I started seriously crafting until I was 17. I’ve pretty much always found my own way with craft. My mom taught me to thread a needle and make a stitch when I was a kid, a friend showed me how to cast on, knit, and purl, and after that I work out the rest for myself. With cross-stitch and free embroidery it was very much on my own. A felted knitting pattern I did involved embroidery, and the book showed you how to do stem stitch. After that I just tried to mimic embroidery I’d seen before. When I found a piece of Aida floating in my craft supplies I decided to give that a go.

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? MC: In high school I did a lot of collage with found objects (I eventually ran out of small, interesting trinkets) and had a stint making earrings. I used to be an extremely prolific knitter, and had a recent period carving linoleum stamps. Embroidery probably is my favorite though, in part for the ease of creativity. You can do SO much with counted and non-counted embroidery. People are also really easily impressed with embroidery!

Unlikely Small AdsWhat is the silliest question you’ve ever received about your craft? MC: Other than “How do you get the back so neat?” I don’t really know that I’ve received any! I don’t talk to many people about my crafts, and never have much opportunity to do it in public. I’m also sort of rubbish at making friends online (especially for someone who grew up using the internet), so I’m still in that “How do I befriend these other crafty folks, oh no I’m sure I’m annoying them, run away” stage.

 photo embr_zps514cdfdd.jpgWhat craft project are you most proud of? MC: It’s a pretty old piece, but I’m so proud of the Mercer Mayer illustration I did on a onesie. I didn’t have any transfer materials back then, so I just looked at the illustration, penciled it on the fabric, and free-handed most of the details. I’m also proud of my Roman mosaic, since it’s the first pattern I made from an image (granting that image was a mosaic…).

 

 

 

 

It Gets BetterWhat’s the largest craft project you’ve ever tackled? MC: I haven’t done much that’s very large. As far as most stitches my Roman mosaic had 12,000. Because I’m disabled and not able to work, I tend to use crafts as my sense of being productive. This makes me focus a little more on the number of pieces I can finish, since that generally lifts my mood when I’m down. I’ve got the most immense pile of finished pieces just sitting around.

What is your most popular (or bestselling) project? MC: Bestselling is definitely my Dalek pattern. It was one of the first in my shop. My most viewed on Flickr is the Robert Frost piece “Never be bullied into silence” with a rainbow border, which makes me quite happy.

 

 

frida photo frida.jpgHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? MC: I’m the first to admit that I’m a lazy crafter. Since my focus is generally keeping occupied and finishing things, if something’s hard I often don’t attempt it. I have a piece of non-counted embroidery that’s a portrait of Frida Kahlo. I started it after learning more about her, and feeling like after one of her surgeries she might have developed the same nerve pain disease that I have, given the descriptions. My usual reluctance to tackle more involved stitches or designs was forced to take a backseat because I felt so strongly about working on a Kahlo piece, and had such a strong vision of how it should look. Of course it’s still unfinished, but I’m getting there.

DMC color project finished!How has crafting affected your character? MC: People think that embroidery must require patience, and if I weren’t disabled maybe it would have made me patient, but I do literally have all the time in the world. For me I think it’s helped me calm down or slow down a little. I put on an audiobook, start stitching, and that’s meditation for me and it’s very much a way to help control the pain. I think maybe it’s made me more sharing as well. I want other people to feel the joy of creating their own patterns, even when it means less business for me.

May Cthulhu Devour This House LastCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? MC: I have a niece and nephew who live in the same town I do. I mostly give them homemade gifts, and my sister emphasizes it to the kids when something was handmade. When they come to my house they see even more handmade things. The last few times they were here they asked if I’d made pretty much everything they touched. I love that this is their first thought, versus “where did you get/buy this.” Long before kids know how much work goes into something, they do value the handmade, and I’m hoping to start knitting or stitching on canvas with my nephew this winter.

Rice pudding...What is the one question you’ve never been asked about your craft that you’ve always wanted to answer? MC: I suppose it’s maybe WHY I craft. Crafting really has saved my life over and over since I got sick, in a lot of ways. When I had literally no disposable income, opening an Etsy shop meant I could still buy new socks and underwear, afford cleaning supplies and Christmas presents. Having something to keep my hands and brain busy helps cope with the day-to-day tedium and pain. I can’t draw anymore really, and embroidery helps me let out creative energy. Making things lets me feel productive and that’s really important to me.

 photo blackworkquiltfini01.jpgWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? MC: I have the start of a series of traditional quilt block designs worked in blackwork going, and I’m hoping to expand on that again soon. I’d love to eventually make a proper quilt out of them. I’ll never be able to become a quilter, as you really do need a lot of sitting up for that (and precision is not my strong suit), so I keep thinking of ways to cheat that. I have plans for a patchwork piece, made of scraps of evenweave fabrics of different counts, colors, and sizes as well.

Thanks so much to Meredith for participating in this ACrafty Interview series! I’ve admired Meredith’s work for a while now through her Flickr Photostream. Her pieces are definitely the kind of pieces I would stitch! She beat me to the punch on the DMC sampler (8th photo down), and I was also inspired by her hilarious “Unlikely Small Ads” (third photo down). That project, based on a segment from the UK TV show “Mock the Week” was one of the reasons I tackled my recently completed “Blazing Saddles” project. I always look forward to seeing what beauty and/or snark she will stitch next!

You can follow Meredith’s adventures on her blog and on 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 CraftyPodembroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!needlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamiltonpotter Nancy Germond, Tina Puckett of Tina’s Baskets, and quilter and pursemaker Linda Martin.

Water Themed Crafts Part 2

Welcome to healthy water themed crafts part 2! This series is all about crafts that encourage us to drink more water and that help us appreciate clean rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Part 1 covered crochet, woodworking, quilling, lace and tatting, weaving and tapestry, and mosaic tile. Today is the second of my six posts covering everything from leatherwork to baking, beadwork to soapmaking and everything in between…
Grand Opening: new "water drop bouquet" grow, harvest and delivery service

Water Themed Crafts in Polymer Clay

healthy water themed crafts part 2 - mermaid trinket boxFirst up is a tutorial by ClayLessons on how to make this pretty mermaid trinket box. As the interest here is more on the lovely polymer clay technique, I think this box would look great either with or without the mermaid charm.

 

 

 

Here is another example from MandarinMoonArt of a water scene, this time done as a tile. Once again, this would be pretty with or without the metal trinkets embedded in the clay.

 

 

 

This switch plate cover reminds me of reflections in water waves. The tutorial by Johnnie at SavedbyLoveCreations is more about how to cover the switch plate, however there is a link within this post to further instructions on the striking “mokume gane” technique it uses.

 

This pendant by Lorraine Vogel via JewleryMakingJournal is another beautiful use of the mokume gane technique.

 

 

 

Ocean 48 inch - detailThese amazing beads by Laura Timmins could represent the sea, the shore, and even some of the stars of a night ocean scene. Her website has information about her process, and her Flickr photostream has more images of her other beautiful creations with the same technique.

 

healthy water themed crafts part 2 - credenza with doors covered in polymer clayThen there is this stunning credenza with doors covered in this wave pattern made completely from polymer clay as seen on RainyDayDestinations. I only wish there were some better close-ups to see the technique used on the clay!

Water Themed Crafts in Embroidery

If you're fond of sand dunes - PDF digital download embroidery patternHere’s a cute wave pattern available on StitchetyStich’s Etsy shop,

 

 

 

 

 

and there is actually an embroidery stitch called a wave stitch. The fourth item down on this page on ArtsandDesigns has lots of info on this stitch.

 

 

 

Your Favorite Kanye West Tweet - Hand-stitched and Framed - Made to OrderThis hilarious embroidered tweet from Kanye West by supervelma could be used as a funny reminder to drink more water. This article on GeekOSystem has more info on this series of embroideries.

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 2 - embroidered Chinese silk jifu robeMuseumTextiles has info on some of the symbols embroidered on this Chinese silk jifu robe. The waves alone are incredible,

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 2  - modern wave embroidery by su embroideryas is this modern commercial hand embroidery by SuEmbroidery. Stunning!

 

 

 

 

I enjoy the colors and the use of couching in this piece entitled “Night Wave” by Shirley at StitchesandLife.

 

 

 

Water Themed Crafts in Scrapbooking

There are a million wave, water, ocean, sea, beach, lake, and river themed scrapbook layouts – it’s just overwhelming. Instead of featuring just a few, I’ll share this beautifully curated Pinterest page by Melanie Walker full of watery scrapbooking inspiration:healthy water themed crafts part 2 - pinterest water scrapbooking ideas

healthy water themed crafts part 2 - wavy templates for scrapbookingOne product I did find attractive and interesting is this set of wavy scrapbook templates by Libby Pritchett via SweetShoppeDesigns.

 

 

Water Themed Crafts in Metalwork

Metal Art Wall Art Decor Abstract Contemporary Modern Sculpture Hanging Zen Textured Nature Water- Wave 1There’s some beautiful inspiration with water and wave forms in metal crafts. This is a piece offered by InspiringArt in their Etsy shop,

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 2 - metal ripple wall artand here’s another piece of similar construction, this time by Jon Allen via Ebay.

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 2 - colorful metal wave wall artThis wave piece by Loren Senge via Sculptor.org is colorful and unique,

 

 

 

 

and this fire screen from FunktionalSteelArt would be lovely in a house with beach or water décor.

Water Themed Crafts in Ceramics and Pottery

healthy water themed crafts part 2 - filterpure non profit water filtersWhen it comes to healthy water a simple Google search on “ceramic water filters” brings up extensive results. However for third world countries, these FilterPure ceramic filters are an intriguing solution. This non-profit organization is working to train potters to build these water filtration systems worldwide. According to their website, adding some colloidal silver to the clay improves the anti-bacterial properties of the filters.

 

 

Ceramic Wave Vase.As for decorative ceramics, many pieces seem to follow Japanese and other classic Asian art forms such as these two pieces by Bonnie Belt. The first is this dramatic wave vase via InvestintheArts,

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - wave rim bowl by bonnie beltand the second is this wave rim bowl on Gallery4Collectors.

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - wave ceramic work by betul aydinerThis is a more modern piece by Betul Aydiner,

 

 

 

and these tiles from EarthSongTiles would look lovely as a border in a kitchen or around a mirror.

Water Themed Crafts in Stained Glass

There is so much beautiful inspiration for water forms in stained glass! A simple Google image search on “stained glass wave” brings up beautiful results:

healthy water themed crafts part 2 - google result on stained glass wave

 

Stained Glass Mosaic Mandala Water Planet by David ChidgeyA few favorites include this mosaic mandala by David Chidgey via ArtGlassMosaics,

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 2 - modern stained glass wave by atmospheric glassthis striking and modern piece at AtmosphericGlass,

 

 

 

 

 

and this stunning and almost photorealistic piece by Graham Mace via HangsUponNothing. This one made my jaw drop.

 

 

 

Also beautiful is a Google Image Search on “stained glass river.”

healthy water themed crafts part 2 - google result on stained glass river

 

healthy water crafts - stained glass river by jiniHighlights include this gorgeous river landscape from StainedGlassbyJini,

 

 

 

 

 

and some of the pieces from the PandyMillGallery. This one is called “River Flow.”healthy water themed crafts part 2 - stained glass river by pandy mill

As for available patterns, PanedExpressions has some great water scenes available through their Nature’s Bounty – I collection. Of the water-related scenes, I must say I’m partial to their Big Wave and their Four Seasons.

That lovely note finishes this healthy water themed crafts part 2, covering polymer clay, embroidery, scrapbooking, metalworking, ceramics, and stained glass. Is there anything in these crafty categories that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you have checked out Part 1 of this series which featured crochet, woodworking, quilling, lace and tatting, weaving and tapestry, and mosaic tile. Stay tuned for the next FOUR installments in this series, featuring knitting, jewelry, gardening, glass work, candlemaking, chainmaille, basket weaving, and a whole lot more!

[Update: Here are Part 3Part 4Part 5, and Part 6 in the series!]

My Top 5 Posts of 2013 Thus Far

I’m following the lead of Diane (of CraftyPod fame) today and posting my top 5 posts of 2013 thus far.

#1 Most Popular: Part two of my series on hexagons (HEXIE MADNESS, really), that covered crochet, felt, lace and tatting, polymer clay, origami, and last but not least, popsicle sticks. The hexie origami boxes are proving to be the most popular outgoing links, but my sentimental favorite has to be this colorful and fun popsicle stick hexagonal basket.

ACrafty Interview - Katie Kutthroat ain't nobody got time for that cross stitch#2 Most Popular: The ACrafty Interview with Katie Kutthroat. Katie was one of the first people I ever contacted on Twitter. Katie’s cross stitch has always cracked me up, and it has been seen on the set of the HBO show Girls. It was very interesting to get a glimpse into her crafty process and to see how she benefits from stitching.

#3 Most Popular: My book review of Crochet Saved My Life by Kathryn Vercillo of CrochetConcupiscience. Her book explains the benefits of crochet for a variety mental conditions including depression, anxiety, OCD and addiction, for physical conditions such as chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis, and as a tool in occupational therapy.

Her book also has a curious physical effect! Read the review for more info about Kathryn’s fantastic world of crochet.

 

Nicey Jane hexies#4 Most Popular: Part one of my hexagon series, this one covering quilting (featuring a link or two to CraftyPod), leatherwork, scrapbooking, weaving, and jewelry. Of all the links, I think the most popular is probably these bordered hexies, although the Diane von Furstenburg box clutch gets a lot of attention as well.

acrafty interview craftypod quilting happiness book cover#5 Most Popular: I’m very pleased to say that it’s my ACrafty Interview with Diane of CraftyPod! Diane was so gracious to give some of her valuable time to my fledgling blog. I have to say that CraftyPod is a wonderful resource of crafts and craft blog information, and I highly recommend anyone in a creative field to follow her adventures (and best of luck with the new book launch this week, Diane!).

 

 

Hexagon Crafts Part 4

Welcome to Hexagon Crafts Part 4! This series on hexagon crafts should really be titled HEXIE MADNESS! Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the series covered all kids of crafts: from quilting to quilling, jewelry to crochet, origami to leatherwork and everything in between. Today we’re covering hexagon crafts ranging from needlework to making a pendant lamp and lots more!

Hexagon sewing machine

 [Hexagon Sewing Machine by Crafty Dogma via Flickr – (what a beautiful machine!)] 

Hexagon Crafts in Cross Stitch, Needlepoint, and Embroidery

StitchyPuff - Cross Stitch Chart PDFDragonflylotus Designs offers this cheerful hexipuff pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

hexagon crafts part 4 - hexagon shaped plastic canvas boxThis pattern for a hexagonal sewing box (or anything box, really) made from plastic canvas is interesting. While this is particular example is pretty, the colors and accents used here don’t intrigue me much. I’m sure that with the right colors this could be made into something really gorgeous!

 

 

Hexagon Stitch ArtMollie of WildOlive created this project which combines fabric hexies with colorful and freeform stitching for a fantastic decorative result.

 

 

embroidery samplerOn FeatheredNestStudio, Jennet posted about her very pretty hexagon embroidery sampler. I like the simplicity and her use of colors and fun stitches!

 

 

Embroidery Pattern Aqua Snowflake Christmas Winter PDFOf course, snowflakes ARE hexagons. I just love these colorful and beautiful embroidery snowflake patterns by Carina at PolkaandBloom.

 

 

 

 

Just two weeks ago, Becca at Ladyface Blog posted this tutorial for embroidering hexagons on tea towels. Very cute!

 

 

Hexagon Crafts in Gardening

hexagon crafts part 4 - hexagon raised bed gardenI wish I had the space for this compact hexagonal raised bed garden! This post by Alexdlp at the Instructables site gives layout suggestions and construction details. The keyhole element to facilitate maintenance is both practical and attractive.

 

 

Quilted Kitchen Garden 01This article at PhoenixPermaCulture doesn’t contain construction instructions, but you can see how they used “salvaged and scrap 2×4 and 4×4 lumber pieced together to form 4 1/2′ across hexagons.” And when you’re gardening for sustenance these hexies are surely a great way to go.

 

Hexagon Crafts in Baking and Cake Decorating

hexagon crafts part 4 - hexagon chocolate wedding cake with flowersOf course, there are many, many hexagonal shaped wedding cakes. Here are two beautiful decorated examples: This Chocolate Garden Wedding Cake by MaisieFantaisie,

 

 

 

 

 

and this henna-themed cake by Natalie at ChandelierCakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I found this cake, decorated with colorful fondant hexies, by Maggie at VibranceandChaos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainbow hexagon cookies inspired by crocheted afghans!My jaw dropped when I saw these amazing cookies, inspired by crocheted afghans, by Zoe at WhippedBakeshop. WANT. I wonder what flavors are available…

 

 

 

 

Next up are these decorated cookies by EmmyJeanCookieMachine, based on the hexie shaped board game “The Settlers of Catan.” Fun!

 

 

 

 

Bee CookiesI found this recipe for honeycomb stained glass cookies at FancyFlours, with their adorable sugar bees. I’d like to see these cookies made with other flavors and colors of sugar candy as well!

 

Hexagon Crafts Pendant Lamp

PVC-Pendant-Black-After-2This tutorial for a DIY pendant lamp by Amanda at OurHumbleAbode is pretty good! It’s not perfect, but for a first attempt and at the inexpensive price it’s hard to beat. I wonder how it’s held up over time…

 

Hexagon Crafts in Paint

SolidWoodBench has this great tutorial for making a cute hexie stenciled door mat,

 

 

 

 

and Morgan at PepperDesignBlog, as part of a Pinterest challenge, made this planter box with fabu painted hexie accents!

 

 

 

This tutorial from Jesse at NineRed not only shows how to paint some awesome hexies, it also has great information about refinishing any piece of furniture, even if it’s ugly 70’s plastic!

 

 

 

Honeycomb Hexagon Wall @ Vintage Revivals-2This photo and DIY from VintageRevivals left me nearly speechless. HOW COOL IS THIS WALL? Actually, the whole room is very cool, but the hexies and the graduating shades of color – stunning! I imagine that the biggest pain was building the hexagonal wood latticework. Do you think an equally cool latticework could be accomplished using washi tape?

That gorgeous wall wraps Hexagon Crafts Part 4. Is there anything else in these crafty categories (paint, cross stitch, embroidery, baking, lamp making, and gardening) that you would like to add in the comments?

Make sure you’ve checked out the quilting, leatherwork, scrapbooking, weaving, and jewelry featured in Part 1, the crochet, felt, lace and tatting, polymer clay, origami, and popsicle sticks in Part 2, and the sewing, pottery, knitting, quilling, woodworking, plastic, and stained glass in Part 3!