Persian Needlepoint Kit Ancora Imparo

This Persian needlepoint kit is now available in my Etsy shop!persian needlepoint kit and pattern ancora imparo

“Ancora Imparo” is a quote attributed to Michelangelo, the Italian architect, painter, poet, and sculptor while he was in his 80’s. Roughly translated, it means “I am still learning,” which, in my opinion, is a darn good philosophy, especially from someone as brilliant as Michelangelo.

Ancora Imparo WIP #1I started sketching my first ideas for this pattern back in 2008. I started with the alphabet pattern which is based on the letters in a William Morris tapestry. I really dove into the detailed design of all the other elements in the summer of 2010, and I finally started stitching in August of 2012 [photo to the right is of my first tiny stitch].

 

I had to take several breaks from Ancora Imparo to work on some other, smaller and simpler projects, but finished the stitching on a very happy day in December 2013.Ancora Imparo Framed Detail

Her details are gorgeous – from tiny three stitch flowers up to the big floral elements. Then the green backstitch pulls all the pieces together. I’m just thrilled with how she turned out.

ancora imparo needlepoint hangingShe hangs gracefully over our front door as a reminder to keep learning.

 

 

 

 

 

For those who like the Persian needlepoint design but may not be so keen on the quote, it is also available as a rug design that features a diamond grid in the center with a few floral elements. Both the “Ancora Imparo” design and the rug design are available as patterns onlypersian needlepoint kit and pattern rug design

To anyone interested in this project, I will say that it is challenging and probably better suited to more experienced needlepointers and cross stitchers. In my previous posts on this project (first update, second update, third update, fourth update) you can see more information on how I tackled my “lovely monster at 22-to-the-inch.” She required a lot of persistence, especially with filling in the backgrounds. However, all that persistence paid off, and she’s just amazing.

Now I look forward to seeing who else appreciates a good challenge like this!

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 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.

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 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 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!.