Bill Hicks Cross Stitch Pattern “Life is Only a Dream…”

This Bill Hicks cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!bill hicks cross stitch life is only a dream and we are the imaginations of ourselves

Bill Hicks was a comedian who died in 1994 of pancreatic cancer. You might not expect such a metaphysical quote from a comedian… only if you’re not familiar with Bill Hicks’ work. He was controversial, biting, and certainly not for those with delicate ears. At the same time, he was often spiritual, philosophical, and personal.

This project is only a part of a longer quotation of Hicks. Although he stopped using drugs in 1988, he still espoused their use, saying ““I’ve had some killer times on drugs.” He railed against the war on drugs and on the media focusing only on negative stories about drugs. Hicks instead hop[ed] for a different perspective:

[As if giving a news cast] “Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration—that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imaginations of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather.”

anchor 1345 variegated flossOn a more superficial note, I filled the stars in border with seven different variegated flosses. The one I had really been wanting to try is Anchor 1345, called “Blue Hawaii,” and it didn’t disappoint. In fact, it’s gorgeous and you can see it in the star in the upper left corner of the pattern.

I stitched some of the stars filling in a serpentine way and some in a spiral way, and it was interesting to see how differently the colors pooled. For example, all three were the same color, Anchor 1345, but the star in the upper left corner was stitched serpentine in horizontal rows, while the fourth one below it and the first one from top right were stitched in a spiral.

This Bill Hicks cross stitch pattern is perfect for everyone who appreciates counter-culture ideas, alternative spiritual philosophies, variegated embroidery floss, and of course, Bill Hicks.

If you’re interested in seeing some of his work, below is a clip from The Late Show with David Letterman. At the taping in 1993, Letterman and CBS decided that his material was too controversial and his performance was not aired. However, in 2009, Bill’s mother was a guest on Letterman and they aired his set in it’s entirety. [Warning: this is not for the easily offended]

Ancora Imparo Needlepoint Framed

My Ancora Imparo needlepoint project is framed and hanging in its place, above the front door!ancora imparo needlepoint hanging

As some of my previous posts will tell you, this lovely monster at 22-to-the-inch was a labor of love. From her initial design in 2008 to the last stitch in December 2013, she was a beautiful challenge.
Ancora Imparo Framed In my last update, I had completed the needlepoint and the green backstitching and was ready to take her to the framers. Now that she is framed, I’m thinking that I would have framed her a little differently. I would have made the green mat thinner by half, and seen if there was a slightly thinner frame. The good news is that she’s gorgeous nonetheless, and she’s hanging proudly. Maybe someday in the future I’ll get her framing modified, but for now I’m very happy.Ancora Imparo Framed Detail

As you can see in the above photo, in general the framers did a good job of keeping the borders straight. No small feat when the margin of error is 0.05 inch (1 mm)!

Like any good Persian-themed project, I made some mistakes. Not on purpose, of course, but they are there. It’s somewhat easy to do when working with a counted (rather than painted) pattern. Usually I found them when it was too late – when I had moved on to a new color or was filling in the background. On a project in this small scale, these mistakes are tough to spot, so I didn’t feel the need to go back and correct them like I would on a project in a bigger scale. Besides, I think they give her a bit of charm

The last update on “AI” has more of the interesting history on her design and execution. She survived two trips across the Atlantic and countless miles of travel.

Imagination and creativity combined with persistence and patience reaps beautiful rewards. I’m immensely proud that I finished this beautiful Ancora Imparo needlepoint project.

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 Tina Puckett of Tina’s Baskets

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Tina Puckett, basket weaver of Tina’s Baskets.

acrafty interview - tinas baskets tina puckett photoWhen did you start crafting? TP: I grew up in South America. We lived as locals, and every week we would go to the open market for the groceries. At the local market there were always local crafts being sold from hats to toys. My parents also decorated our home with local art and crafts. So, I was exposed to crafts at an early age. Being an only child, I found most of my time was spent alone. In those moments, I would build things like tree houses and doll houses. Decorating each from the curtains to the dresses, I was always fascinated by the construction and design. In high school, I spent a lot of time teaching myself how to embroider and took a class in sewing. I studied set design in college with a concentration in construction and design. Then in 1982, I took a course in basket weaving. The first lesson was how to weave an Egg Basket. From that moment on, I have never looked back.

acrafty interview - tinas baskets musical note woven wall hangingWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? TP: I have been weaving for over 30 years now and it is still my favorite craft. I just keep exploring and experimenting with weaving.

 

 

 

 

What is the silliest question you’ve ever received about your craft? TP: The center of my gigantic Sunflower is created by wooded beads that are interwoven. But I am constantly asked “Is that blueberries in the center of the flower?”acrafty interview - tinas baskets sunshine sunflower woven wall hanging

What craft project are you most proud of? TP: Probably the craft project that I am most proud of is that I have created my own technique of weaving called “Dimensional Weave”. I have been able to incorporate it in whatever I am creating.

acrafty interview - tinas baskets circle and curves wall hangingWhat is your most popular (or bestselling) project? TP: There is no particular best selling product of mine. I am fortunate to be able to sell a variety of my works, such as my baskets, bowls, wall hangers, sculpture, flowers, landscapes, and furniture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you ever surprised by the form that results from the materials you’ve chosen for a certain project? TP: Yes, I am pleasantly surprised by the form that results from trying different materials to weave with.

Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? TP: When I am creating a woven sculpture piece it is always like a puzzle. That is the fun in being creative. The challenges that constantly “pop-up” as you go along creating and how unexpectedly the solution comes to you in a graceful way. I do have a partial vision on how the woven works will come out when I start and I am always pleasantly surprised with the finished product.acrafty interview - tinas baskets woven table base

How has crafting affected your character? TP: I am…

  • Patient: Basket weaving has made me a “Basket Case”…LOL!!! When weaving, one needs patience because it takes a lot of time to weave.
  • Grateful: I am always grateful when it comes out beautifully.
  • acrafty interview - tinas baskets orange tray weavingOrganized: When one has taken their craft and created it into a business, organization is very important to run the business.
  • Supportive: I get a lot of support from craft shows by the public’s reaction to my woven works.
  • Adventurous: I am adventurous all the time when trying to create something new and different. Also, the business has led me to adventure into travelling all throughout the US doing craft and art shows.
  • Persistent: I think that weaving and running my business for over 30 years is being pretty persistent. I am determined to show the world my woven works and to support myself.
  • acrafty interview - tinas baskets large basketProactive: Proactive you say… Acting in advance to deal with an expected change in the piece I am working on or difficulty in weaving the piece… no, I cannot be proactive, I can only solve the problem when it occurs and sometimes I have to walk away and then when I come back to it, it gets resolved. I never walk away for more than 12 hours, and I only work on one piece at a time.
  • Independent: My independence is the ability to express myself through my woven works.
  • Diverse: I enjoy the ability to be diverse in what I am weaving from a basket to a sculpture.
  • Imaginative: I find it a lot of fun to let my imagination see all the different forms the Bittersweet vines can take.
  • Observant: To be observant to me means to be attentive, careful and accurate in my weaving.
  • Expressive: In my woven works, I try to have it express joy, happiness and love.
  • Consistent: I am always consistent in trying to create new woven products and to achieve a more beautiful woven piece of Art.

Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? TP: From my experience being in my booth at shows I can say that I affect people in a positive way. Because so many people say to me that they like my woven works because it makes them feel happy and they can see how much I enjoy what I create.acrafty interview - tinas baskets woven headboard and end table base

What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? TP: I can’t tell you what crafty goodness is coming in the future, but I do know that I have a lot of interesting pieces of Bittersweet vines shapes that are ready for my imagination… I just have to step into my studio and “let it all flow”… That is what is appealing to me, to let it flow and not force it… and wonders shall never cease in what I can create.

Many thanks to Tina for participating in this ACrafty interview series! As the photos show, her works are vibrant, unique, and beautiful. I hope you’re able to see them in person as she travels to various craft shows and from her Connecticut studio… You can follow Tina’s adventures on her website!

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!, the multi-talented David Tedinneedlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpi, tatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamilton, stone artist Jerry Locke, and potter Nancy Germond.

ACrafty Interview with Mimilove

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

ACrafty Interview with Jeff Hamilton

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Jeff Hamilton, tatter and chainmailler.

When did you start crafting? JH: Awesome! The first question is an easy one. I first started crafting over 20 years ago when I was about seven or eight. I was bored one summer and my mom taught me how to do needlepoint using plastic canvas. She taught me crochet after I had made a few projects with the canvas. From then on, I just had an interest in crafting. My interest in tatting started about 18 years ago when I found a tatting shuttle in a box of crochet patterns. I didn’t know was it was for until I later found a small booklet of tatting patterns in the same box. I just had to learn how to tat.
Bookmark Exchange

Stainless Steel Byzantine Yin Yang Chainmaille PendantWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? JH: Hmm. I’ve tried so many, I hope you’re not looking for an exhaustive list! I’ve done knitting, crochet, tatting, Teneriffe lace, needlepoint using plastic canvas, cross stitch, Temari (Japanese thread balls), chainmaille, polymer clay, painting, felting (wet and needle), and spinning using a spindle. I’m sure there are others; I do like to try new crafts. As to my current favourite, I’m going to have to go with tatting, with crochet and chainmaille close behind.

Coral Reef DragonWhat is the silliest question you’ve ever received about your craft? JH: Well, I have to admit, I haven’t been asked any silly questions yet. However, a lot of people confuse tatting with tattoos and that has brought some interesting questions and comments to other tatters.

 

 

 

acrafty interview - jeff hamilton tatted windmills doily

What craft project are you most proud of? JH: I’m proud of every project I manage to finish. A couple projects stand out though. A large doily made using a tatted motif called Windmills, is the largest item I made to date. I am still working on it so it will end up larger than it’s current 15 inch diameter. Another project is a male Betta fish. This is the first design I created myself.

acrafty interview - jeff hamilton tatted betta fish

Tri Metal Serrated Byzantine Chainmaille EarringsDo you ever craft in public? If so, what kind of reactions do you receive from others? JH: I did when I was much younger. I used to go to the local Farmer’s Market with my mom where I would crochet while my mom was busy vending. I’d have a lot of people commenting on how nice it was to see a young boy crocheting. In particular, the older ladies thought it was great.

 

Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? JH: I think every craft project can be challenging in many ways. I, like a lot of tatters, make many of our items from other people’s patterns online and from books. Lately, many foreign language books have become readily available to us. The patterns themselves are often just diagrammed, but sometimes that’s just not enough. I know I’ve tried a pattern from one of these books and sometimes, something doesn’t work. I’m sure that the key to the pattern is in the text, if only I could read it.
Chinese Dragon

acrafty interview - jeff hamilton tatted canadian flagHow has crafting affected your character? JH: I definitely think crafting has affected my character. I know it has made me much more patient. I’ve always had a imaginative/creative side and have been able to express it when I design my own tatting patterns. Any crafting I do has a calming effect on me, which is nice if I have a tough day at work and need to relax.

Spinning Wheel Glass MatCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? JH: I know that my Grandmother was particularly fond of my tatting. She was often very interested in what I was working on. And she did often tell her friends about me and my crafting. I know my Mom greatly enjoys my crafting. She is particularly proud of the crafts that I learned on my own, ones that she never learned herself.

 

Beaded Byzantine Chainmaille BraceletWhat is the one question you’ve never been asked about your craft that you’ve always wanted to answer? JH: Since I haven’t had anyone ask, I kinda want to have to explain that tatting has nothing to do with tattoos. I’d like to be able to explain to this person what tatting actually is, and perhaps even offer to teach them.

 

Gecko for ShirtWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? JH: I’ve got many ideas right now. Being a male tatter, I have always felt a need to create guy friendly tatting patterns. I started a tatted tie a few years ago, and I do hope to finish it. My most recent project is creating a tatted tattoo arm band. I figured instead of trying to separate ourselves from tattoos, I could replicate the look of a tattoo without the pain and permanence.

Many thanks to Jeff for giving this interview! After I discovered MrXStitch, I’m always happy to find the work of other men who work in thread, textile, and needle crafts (check out my ACrafty Interview with cross stitcher WhateverJames).

You can follow Jeff’s adventures on his blogFlickr, and Etsy.

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?jeweler Ron Buhlerembroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!, the multi-talented David Tedin, and needlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpi.

ACrafty Interview with Cresus Parpi

Welcome to this ACrafty Interview with Cresus Parpi! Haruhi Okubo is the creative mind behind the creative and intricate needlepoint of Cresus-Parpi.

acrafty interview - cresus-parpi - hanabana floral needlepointWhen did you start crafting? HO: I started that when I was an elementary school student. I was taught art by my father and handcraft by my mother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? HO: I have tried embroidery, knitting and crochet, patchwork quilt, hand weaving, dressmaking, and hooked rug. My current favorite is needlepoint.acrafty interview - cresus-parpi - mwwm bright yellow wave interference needlepoint project

acrafty interview - cresus-parpi - impromptu coaster set 16 needlepointWhat is your most popular (or bestselling) project? HO: The impromptu coaster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

acrafty interview - cresus-parpi - gaso needlepoint clutchHave you ever started a project without a pattern or plan? HO: The pattern is usually drawn on the canvas by freehand, after having drawn some ideas in a sketchbook.

As for the GASO series and some others, the pattern is made with a PC.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s the biggest craft project you have ever attempted? HO: The (90 cm square [35 in. square]) zigzag drive rag rug.acrafty interview - cresus-parpi - zigzag drive rag rug

acrafty interview - cresus-parpi - impromptu coaster set 5 needlepointWhat craft project are you most proud of? HO: The coaster series. I made a plan to make 100 pieces of them. And I achieved it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? HO: My eyesight failed rapidly by this work. I thought that I should have made it with more low count canvas (this project used 40 H.P.I. [holes per inch] silk gauze). [Note: Haruhi typically uses 10 H.P.I. canvas]acrafty interview - cresus-parpi - hina dolls tiny needlepoint

acrafty interview - cresus-parpi - impressionist sweater knittingHow has crafting affected your character? Has it made you more patient, grateful, organized, supportive, adventurous, persistent, proactive, independent, diverse, imaginative, observant, expressive, consistent, brave, calm, etc.? HO: All of those, and taking good care of things (recycling, ecology). Even the scrap of thread and cloth can become the necessary materials. Like [a] patchwork quilt or hooked rug or embroidery for strengthen[ing] cloth (sashiko), etc… The number of times to throw away my old clothes decreased.

 

 

Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? HO: There was the person who dropped tears to see my works. They seemed to be impressed… arigato…acrafty interview - cresus-parpi - shikaku colorful squares needlepoint cushion

What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? HO: I want to challenge a work of large size, because I made many works of small size. I think that it will be the tapestry by the needlepoint.

Many thanks to Haruhi for giving us a glimpse into her craft. Being a needlepointer myself, I am an enormous fan of her work. The creativity, the quality, and the speed at which she creates these pieces always impresses me. In fact, the first time I saw her stunning MWWM Bright Yellow work (second picture down in this post), I’m sure I caught my breath. I highly encourage everyone to look at the Cresus-Parpi Flickr Photostream and see all the pieces that I couldn’t include in this post.

You can follow the adventures of Cresus-Parpi on her websiteFlickr, and Etsy. She also sells some of her pieces through the TakeHeartShop in Austin, Texas, and you can read more about her clutch bags and her history at the ShopFloorProject.

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 CraftyPodcross stitcher Katie Kutthroatembroiderer Sasha of What! No Mints?quilter Betty Busby, embroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!, and the multi-talented David Tedin.

ACrafty Interview with David Tedin

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with David Tedin: carpenter, baker, basket weaver, woodworker, cook, and gardener. He is of Scandinavian heritage but has the soul of a Tuscan chef, and his biscotti is so good that he brings it to Italy (seriously!).

acrafty interview with david tedin basket collectionWhen did you start crafting? DT: To answer that, I would have to decide what is crafting and what is just making stuff. I can remember, before I even started school, nailing two pieces of wood together and nailing a sardine can on the back to make a truck. That would be making stuff. Because you needed something or thought it would be neat.

My family made gifts for Christmas, birthdays, and other gift-giving occasions.  So I guess it started at home at an early age.

seashell jewelry collectionWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? DT: Stenciling designs on towels and pillowcases, and making shell jewelry. This was something I enjoyed doing. There were kits, with packets of different shapes and colors of seashells along with instructions. You could make earrings, pendants, pins, and brooches. I haven’t seen these kits in over 50 years.

I’ve also tried whittling, carving, hide tanning and leatherwork, model making (many of these were kits, but some went with whittling and carving), drawing, pottery, basket weaving, gardening, cooking, baking, and woodworking.

acrafty interview with david tedin tableWoodworking is probably my current favorite since I now have the time, place, tools and equipment to do what I want. My woodworking now is mostly small furniture, tables, jewelry boxes, cutting boards, toys, and small projects that other people come up with for me to do.

 

 

Have you ever started a project without a pattern or plan? DT: Many times. It is part of the learning process. At times the results are amazing. Other times it comes out; what is that? Or I don’t want to do that again.

What craft project are you most proud of? DT: Here again, what is crafting?  I am a retired carpenter and a craftsman by trade.

With the help of my wife Rita, we designed and built a 7,000 sq. ft. two story, solar heated home. The only things that were contracted were excavation, concrete delivery, renting a crane to set trusses, hooking up the electrical panel, and installing cable TV. Along with some help from friends pouring concrete and setting trusses, we did the rest. It took 8 years. but it was a great way to retire. Even though I had been in construction for over 20 years I learned a lot. One benefit of many years of crafting, it teaches you how to pay attention to detail.

acrafty interview with david tedin basket from fishing suppliesHas a craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? DT: Yes. After watching a lady weaving baskets I thought that would be fun to try. After finally finding a book with instructions on basket weaving, finding the material (reed) in Southeast Alaska was not going to be easy. The basket I chose was coil with a rod core and interlocking stitches. I was a long way from the Southwest where this type of basket is made, so I went to the fishing supply store and bought rope for the core and fishing line (the type used for halibut hooks). I use this basket today when I do weaving demonstrations. It is so strong you can stand on it.

How has crafting affected your character? DT: It has made me more…

  • Patient. When you are working with small pieces, messing up one part can ruin the whole project. This has carried over in my work. When you have to concentrate on getting the small pieces right, then paying attention to detail becomes much easier when working with big pieces in construction. I do not like to do the same job over because I didn’t pay attention.
  • acrafty interview with david tedin kneelerGrateful. For those people who have put up with the mess that I am sure to make with a project, and for the ability to do whatever I may choose.
  • Organized. With any project, I like to have the materials ready ahead of time. It is easy to lose interest if you have to go searching for what you need next.
  • Supportive. If someone shows an interest in something you are doing it is nice to be able to teach another how it is done or just talk about what you are doing. It is also enjoyable to work along side someone who is doing the same thing you are, sharing ideas and methods.
  • Adventurous. Sometimes trying something new may make the stomach a little queasy. It is not only can I do this but can I do it right. It is rather exciting to try something new, but you have to want to do it. I often times had that feeling when I would start a new project in my work.
  • Persistent. This is something I am still working on. Some projects have taken a long time to complete. I suppose it depends on my interest level, sometimes I can get distracted with something that looks more interesting.
  • Proactive. This for me goes with being organized. Anticipating what will be needed and how it should be done. It also worked very well for me in my work.
  • Independent.  At times it is fun to work with others, sharing ideas and different ways to do things; at other times it is nice to be able to work alone. I find it easier to concentrate and things tend to go more smoothly. Most of all the rest of the world goes away.
  • acrafty interview with david tedin basket with pink and purpleDiverse.  Many different things interest me. Seeing something and wanting to try it without the fear of not being able to is great. If I mess it up or quickly lose interest I don’t do it again. The best part is finding things you like and continue doing it.
  • Imaginative. After working with other people’s plans, designs, recipes, etc. and learning the basics I find it easier to adapt or do it my way with good results.
  • Observant. Hopefully I have learned to see what others like and dislike; and how others accomplish some of the same things I am doing.
  • Consistent. I do some things over and over the same way because other ways I’ve tried just aren’t as good. Baking biscotti is one example. With woodworking there is always something new to learn; even though you are making the same initial design. Basket making, and pottery take years of doing to make each one the same.
  • Brave. Just do it.
  • Calm. I’ve found that if I lose my cool or try to hurry what I am doing I usually mess it up.

acrafty interview with david tedin basketCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? DT: I’ve taught and encouraged others who have shown an interest in what I am doing to go ahead and try it. I also have taught classes and done demonstrations to the public. I hope that when our kids were growing up my crafts made an impression on them.

 

 

 

acrafty interview with david tedin storage bench

What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? DT: Harvesting and selling the garlic we have raised, canning produce for the coming year. Making spice cabinets for the church bazaar; I’ve never made one before and a friend of ours wanted one modified to fit her spice jars. A half round table, because the plan I have looks interesting. A drop leaf table, a challenge to me because I have never done rule hinges. Basket weaving and baking comes with the winter months.

A special thanks to David for taking the time to do this interview. When he sent his responses back to me he said “I found out more about myself than I thought I would. Things I hadn’t thought about in years and things that I take for granted in daily life.” I always learn something from these interviews and it’s even more special when the interviewee gains from the process as well.

Dave happens to be my uncle (his wife Rita is my aunt), and their son, Chris Tedin, was featured in a previous ACrafty Interview. Another of their sons, Mark Tedin, is an artist probably best known for his continued work on Magic: The Gathering and other fantasy projects.

If you would like to contact David with questions about his crafts (or his outstanding biscotti), please contact me and I’ll be happy to relay the message…

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 CraftyPodquilter Betty Busbycross stitcher Katie Kutthroatembroiderer Sasha of What. No Mints?, jeweler Ron Buhler, and embroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!.

ACrafty Interview with Ron Buhler of Gold ‘N Silver

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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