I have never done much work in the field of embroidery, but I do remember being 10 and collecting a pile of embroidery floss to make friendship bracelets for all of my grade school friends. Those pretty strings of colour, still make my heart flutter, so it’s no secret that I first fell in love with Jenny Hart‘s work which has opened the door to the embroidery world for me.
Flipping through the book, Leanne’s writing is simple and easy to follow. Her book is divided into nicely presented sections ranging from interviews, the history of embroidery, projects and tools and techniques. There’s nothing snobbish or high brow about it either. Whether you have been embroidering for years or just a beginner, Leanne has you covered; teaching you all the basic skills that you can build on.
One of my favourite interviews in the book is with Aubrey Longley-Cook, a mixed media artist that combines the art of embroidery and animation creating images that look like moving objects. Titled, a Manbroiderer, he writes a blog called Spool Spectrum, whose tagline is “Give us this day our daily thread, and lead us knot into temptation”. I also have to give mention to friends Siobhan Long from magpie and cake and Rebekah Nathan from bliss in a teacup who both have projects featured in the book. Oh, and what a surprise when I discovered a pincushion handmade by yours truly on page 112 – hooray!
Want to win your own copy? Leave a comment below and a winner will be randomly chosen on Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 at noon (PST). Winners will be notified by email and their prize will be sent by post.
Contest opened to residents of North America only. UK residents stay tuned for your own giveaway soon!
name: Rebekah & Richard company: bliss in a teacup links: shop | blog
What do you make?
We make chalkboards, inspiration hoops, writing slates magnets from vintage playing cards and maps, trinket boxes, blossom earrings and more! It may change depending on what we find on our latest thrifting expedition…you never know!
What or who inspires you?
Old school supplies, Modernist design, cottages, thrift stores, stationary, outsider art, William Morris (handprinted wallpaper, swoon), folk music, Max Ernst, ee cummings, Spring and Fall.
How did you get started?
Necessity is the mother of invention. We both really love working together creatively, and we’ve both always been interested in art, craft and DIY. In fact, the majority of our furniture comes from alleyway finds that we refurbish or repurpose.
Richard is a trained cabinet maker and printer, I grew up sewing, knitting and taking photos, and we are both art school drop outs. I had been selling my knitted items at Lucky Rooster (on Commercial Drive) and was trying to think up a product line to head into Spring and Summer, so we decided to put our love of vintage, beauty/function and repurposing together and that’s what you’ll now find in our store!
What are your favourite materials to work with?
Wood, paper, ink, thrifted (and usually floral) fabric, chalkboard paint, blender pens, ephemera.
What is the hardest and most favourite part of crafting?
Hmm, hardest…time management for sure. Both in terms of finding the time, managing our time effectively (tearing ourselves away from blog reading, guitar pedal building and youtube guilty pleasures) and overcoming our crafting ADD. The rest is our favourite. Getting to work together and from home, sourcing materials (really just going shopping and exploring thrift stores), and how we are able to compliment each others skills and work as a team. Oh, and looking at pretty fabric. Love!
List 2 of your favourite links and why you like them
Meet Me At Mikes: I read Pips blog daily, and dream about one day being able to visit her Melbourne store. She is so inspiring, so so funny and always has the best memes. I love how she fosters this amazing online crafting community, and is so incredibly encouraging to all of us readers.
The Book Cover Archive: We are both absolute bibliophiles, and I will admit that I have definitely picked a book up based on the cover. There are so many beautiful covers on this site, I want all of them!
Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
I know this sounds cheesy, and I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but our biggest tip is to do what you love. Whether this means crochet coasters, pet portraits or designing your own fashion line. If you don’t truly love or feel passionate about what you’re doing then it will show through.
It is definitely important and totally natural to get inspiration from other places, there have been times when I’ve seen someone else come out with a product very similar to what I’d been thinking of before I got the chance, and you know, the online crafting world while large is also very tight knit so I think a bit of crossover is normal, but I think that it is really important to find and settle on something that you really love to do.
If you’re just following trends for the sake of it, not only will you not produce your best work, but you won’t be happy in what you’re doing. In the same vein, trust yourself! Trust that you are talented and skillful, and an expert in your field even if you don’t feel like it. Nobody can make or create exactly what you can, and that is what is important.
Art vs. Craft – Are these terms different? Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
I don’t see a difference, do you see a difference? Haha, that is a direct quote from Richard. While I don’t know that the two words would be accepted as interchangeable, I think that they are both creative outpourings. In saying all that, I think there is a difference in that it is much easier to call yourself a crafter than an artist because of the way society views art as an almost elite endeavour.
I’m so excited that the recent resurgence of the DIY and craft movement, and places like Etsy and design blogs have started to challenge and blur the lines on this because I think its really important for crafters to feel confident to adopt the artist label. There are people I know who would never call themselves artists because maybe they can’t draw or paint, but who make the most exquisite quilts or who develop delicious sounding soap flavours or create a divine range of wines. All of this to me is art.
You are all artists!
(photo images courtesy of bliss in a teacup)
If you are interested in being featured, please send us an email at info(at)gotcraft(dot)com.
Hello! We are a husband and wife team that share a love for a good cup of coffee and a slice of Victoria sponge. This is where we share our work, our travels, snippets of our everyday life, and most important, the things we ♥.