ACrafty Interview with Betty Busby – Followup!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

ACrafty Interview with Mimilove

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

ACrafty Interview with Ron Buhler of Gold ‘N Silver

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CraftyPod Image-Only Interview

Great news! Diane at CraftyPod is featuring me in her latest Image-Only Interview. Thanks so much, Diane! It was fun trying to think of ways to answer your questions using only images.

Her website is a treasure trove of valuable resources for crafty bloggers. I encourage you to check out her website as well as more of her series of Image-Only Interviews. It’s a fascinating collection.

Diane is great fun when it comes to football. She was the commissioner of our Fantasy Football league last season. She sure kicked my butt!

P.S. I want to add only one note to the interview: My Kitchen Aid mixer’s name is Bruce. We like to bake occasionally.