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 Katie Kutthroat

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Katie Kutthroat. She’s heavily tattooed, always honest, and an occasionally NSFW cross stitcher and embroiderer. If you watch the Emmy winning HBO series Girls, you may recognize some of her pieces that were used on set.

ACrafty Interview - Katie Kutthroat belly dance embroideryWhen did you start crafting? KK: I grew up around crafting. My mother’s aunts, my great aunts, were big into crafting… painting, quilting, embroidery, cross-stitch, I grew up with these things around me. I guess I really learned and appreciated embroidery and cross-stitch when I was in high school. I definitely gifted friends and boyfriends homemade goods ranging from towels to homemade soap, that was about the time I learned the passion that comes with making things with your hands.



ACrafty Interview - Katie Kutthroat don't make me poison your food cross stitchWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? KK: I have tried knitting, cross-stitch, embroidery, jewelry making, soap making, painting, sewing, cake decorating… my favorites would be cross-stitch, embroidery and jewelry making. But I am in the middle of a break from culinary school, due to finances. Once I am back on the saddle I plan on continuing with a pastry certificate, I really want to decorate cakes for a living. I enjoy making people happy and smile and ultimately that is what I want to do for the rest of my life.


ACrafty Interview - Katie Kutthroat wanna fly cross stitchWhat craft project are you most proud of? KK: I did this 8×10 cross-stitch in the sampler style with a quote from Toni Morrison, “Wanna Fly? You Gotta Give Up The Shit That Weighs You Down.” It really has a positive and healthy message to it, what holds us back we truly must give up to succeed.





ACrafty Interview - Katie Kutthroat anchorman quote cross stitchWhat is your most popular or best selling project? KK: My most popular items would be any Anchorman quote or anything with a Girls reference.





ACrafty Interview - Katie Kutthroat ain't nobody got time for that cross stitchWhat is the silliest question you’ve ever received about your craft (aside from this one)? KK: Probably if I really talk in quotes and slang like my stitching.. and to my family’s dismay the answer is, yes! HA!



ACrafty Interview - Katie Kutthroat your ruin may gain embroideryHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? KK: It is funny cause sometimes the pieces I think will be a simple task I tend to make more complicated. This is more true with embroidery, but I really love bringing depth and texture to them. Sometimes this tends to be a task more challenging than my skill.



ACrafty Interview - Katie Kutthroat 500 days of summer quote cross stitchHow has crafting affected your character? KK: It has definitely brought me a calm… It has made me more patient definitely and in moments of stress or anguish I find it comforting and relaxing. It is sorta my zen.



ACrafty Interview - Katie Kutthroat bless this MF home cross stitchCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? KK: It is truly amazing some of the stories I have heard, from people giving gifts with quotes from relatives past to their family members or just someone learning how to cross-stitch because they wanted to do one of my patterns themselves. It is all more rewarding than I ever thought it would have been when I started my Etsy shop 5 years ago!

What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? KK: I honestly am not sure what my next new thing is, I have lists all over the place (i.e. my cell phone, computer, scraps of paper) with ideas written on them. I tend to just go with what feels right at that moment, it really is like therapy stitching. I do plan on taking more pastry classes as soon as possible though! 🙂

A special thanks to Katie for participating in this ACrafty Interview. She was one of the first people I ever contacted on Twitter (along with WhateverJames). She recently has had some attention with her pieces being featured on the HBO show Girls, and I just couldn’t be happier for her! Best of luck finishing out your culinary degree, Katie – I can’t wait to see your first Anchorman themed pastry…

You can follow Katie’s adventures on Etsy, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook!

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 cross stitcher WhateverJamesmulti-crafter Diane from CraftyPodknitter Apockylypse, and quilter Betty Busby!

Linky Goodness – Embroidery, Fabric, and Knitting x 2

In my ongoing mission to demonstrate how crafts can make us better people, here’s the next installment of linky goodness!

Schindermania at Aviva House

photo-7Sometimes the good isn’t in the crafts you make – the good is in the crafts you help others make. Ellen Schinderman volunteers teaching needlework to girls who are in the justice system. She sums her feelings up well in this post when she says “Not only do I get the selfish joy of giving back – and feeling ‘there but for the grace of God go any of us’ when I see the situations these girls are in and from – but I adore my girls!!” I’m left wondering if the teachers at Fine Cell Work get the same type of buzz from helping their inmates.

“Why Knitting and Yoga are Perfect Bedfellows”

Yoga Wrap and Legwarmers_Page_1The Guardian published this excellent article which shows how knitting and yoga complement each other. Some knitters use yoga to help solve some of their repetitive motion problems. Knitting is also very calming, producing effects similar to yoga and meditation. The article cites some impressive statistics about the benefits of knitting on thought and concentration.

Make Time to Play!

fabric scrap storage I love this post by Melissa at 100BillionStars about the value of play. She always has some fabric scraps around, and for her “this is where the ideas come from, where the sparks of creative fire reside.” She also says that “play has no hard and fast rules, except one….let go… of every negative and critical thought.” A way to tackle this rejection of judgment can be found in this article that I posted previously. This is excellent advice for people working in any craft.

A Free and Powerful Mind

This interview with Annie Modesitt was published when her book, Romantic Hand Knits, was released in 2007. When asked how knitting has brought romance into her life, she answered: “When my mind is free—and powerful—the way it feels when I knit, then my soul soars a little and all of this adds a layer of joy to my life. Not to put too fine a point on it, this makes me love life, and love love, in a much deeper way, which in turn makes me more lovable. Nothing is more attractive than a quiet self confidence, which is what I get from knitting.”

She goes on to say some great things about brilliance being in all of us, and also shares some constructive thoughts on women’s body image issues. An outstanding, positive interview!

What do you think of the links above? Do you know of any inspirational craft blogs or posts that you would like to see in a future edition of linky goodness?

ACrafty Interview with WhateverJames

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with WhateverJames – father, Star Wars geek, and cross stitcher!

acrafty interview whateverjames cross stitch emotionally exhausted and morally bankruptWhen did you start crafting? WJ: I don’t remember. I’ve always crafted and made something. When I was really young (6-10) I had a big toy box of He-Man action figures and several compartment boxes of beads and jewels and everything I needed to make necklaces.

I was in the Boy Scouts from age 11-18 and I am an Eagle Scout so I have always been making something and did plenty of crafts at camp!

I started my main craft, cross stitch, late 2004 or early 2005. My oldest daughter, Mara Jade, was born in July 2005 and her birth announcement was my first unfinished project! Her mom worked part time at a craft store and also taught crochet. I didn’t want to jump right in on her thing but thought it would be cool to ask her to teach me something so I found a stitch kit at the store and I have not stopped.

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? WJ: Cross stitch is without a doubt my favorite. Or at least my favorite that I can do. I wish I could paint or draw well, just because of the time, but cross stitch is my favorite. I have done a lot of crafts in the past but I don’t think there is a lot that I can say I actually tried to do well. I’ve put a few chains together to “try” crochet and done similar for other crafts but nothing serious.

acrafty interview whateverjames cross stitch bad religion how could hell be any worseWhat craft project are you most proud of? WJ: My current favorites are my Bad Religion and Luke Skywalker pieces. I just did a cool Elvis for a friend that was completely out of my style. I won’t say that each stitch piece is like a child but they are each different. They appeal to me for different reasons. I chose the subjects for different reasons. The bigger pieces, aside from being display pieces, take so much time that they have their own memories. I have been working on my Vader piece for about three years. I remember doing sections the week I was in Arizona. I remember the job I was at when I started it and where I was at on the piece when I left that job. They become individual in the memories I create when I create them.

Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? WJ: Yes. I rarely stitch the first design I had in my head. I have to edit. For time, for size, for sanity. I am a horrible self-editor. I think a lot of my pride in my stitching comes from being able to pull off what I feel are just versions of my original design after it’s been edited to within an inch of it’s life.

How has crafting affected your character? WJ: It keeps me sane. It gives me something to do. I would like to run an online store with my designs and [completed stitching projects] but I don’t. I had a bit of a mental break down and stopped writing and blogging and taking an active part in the stitch/craft community but I never stopped stitching.

acrafty interview whateverjames cross stitch you are the reason I drinkI used to have a better answer about stitching appealing to the creative and rational sides of my brain and a lot of what I thought was deep meaningful crap. After my break down stitching is how I deal with what I consider the outside world (not the people I live with). I almost always have something to stitch with me. If I get nervous or fear I am going to act out and I don’t have someone like my wife or my daughter to anchor me, then I just stitch. I can retreat and disappear and be safe. In my real life away from the internet I really only socialize with three or four people. Two of them I do a podcast with and it is a very controlled environment for me. It’s probably the only place I truly feel safe outside of my home but every once in a while if we have a guest or maybe the feel of the room changes in my mind I just take out a needle and thread and stitch while recording. It helps get me through a lot.

acrafty interview whateverjames cross stitch elvis Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? WJ: Not really. I mean people have told me that they like some of my stuff but I don’t know if anything has ever really affected anyone. I can tell you that the fact that anyone likes anything that comes out of my head is still pretty amazing to me. Actually a couple of years ago I met a friend online. I was going through one of my “I want to have a store” phases and Etsy was having a meet-up day where sellers would meet up with other sellers in their area. I received an email from Jenny K in Florida and she asked if she could print some pictures of some of my pieces to display since I was an Etsy seller. I didn’t know why she wanted to but I feel safe to say it was positive. They affected her in some way and she wanted to either experience it again or share it with others…or both! I have always held on to that as one of the true highlights of my stitching but never really thought about it as my work affecting someone else, only what it has always meant to me that I was asked. So I think it actually became to mean even more to me just now!

acrafty interview whateverjames cross stitch jedi of christmas pastWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? WJ: VADER. I have been working on the same Darth Vader piece for a few years now and I really think “third year’s the charm”. I do a lot of the smaller sampler-type pieces when I take a break from Vader so I don’t know. I don’t want to say I will never do a piece this size again but it will be a long while.

I found out about 3D stitching a little over a year ago. Cross stitching buildings and things. The book I found had gorgeous pictures of little cottages and Colonial-era homes. I REALLY want a cross stitched Planet Express Building and wasn’t able to find one online so I will probably have to make it myself. I love miniatures, statues, busts, action figures and everything that lets you have fictional worlds in the palm of your hand or on your desk. I am actually pretty horrible about getting excited about an idea and talking it up a lot and then never following through so I should probably not mention it again unless I actually start it!

Thanks so much, James for your candor and insights into your creative life!

You can follow WhateverJames’ adventures on Twitter, blog Visual Gags in the Dark, Facebook, Flickr, and Podcast The Porkchop Express.

Would you like to be a part of this ACrafty Interview series? Just contact me! You also might like to see the ACrafty Interview with knitter Sabrina Larson