Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
I am a tree-hugging, mountain-bike riding, junk-store-obsessed photographer, designer, writer, crafter, and shameless cobbler who grew up in the American West. I have two children who are now just about completely grown up. I live with my husband and my 120 pound white polar-bear of a dog in a round solar house at 7800 feet above sea level in the foothills west of Boulder.
I have always and forever made things. It is a passion, a compulsion, a reason to get up in the morning.
Tell us a bit about the book?
Artful Christmas grew out of my love for things hand-made, heart-felt, and full of beauty as part of the Christmas holiday. Too much of the stuff you see this season is a bit too kitschy and tinsel-toned, too brash and in-your-face, or cute and cloying. I wanted to create projects that were lovely, graceful, giftable. I wanted things that brought luxury, character, and a bit of gleam to your holidays. I wanted the projects to be simple to make, but lovely to keep, and perfect to give away. I wanted them to have character, surprise, and ingenuity---all the things I would wish for in my holiday season. I wanted to make crafts that were art as well. I hope I succeeded.
What was the inspiration behind it?
I’ve always been a Christmas person. I like the beautiful things,I like the shameless decorativeness, the delicious food, my favorite people gathering around, the fun of giving stuff to those I love. It’s just a wonderful invention, Christmas. I like beauty, and grace, with just a dusting of whimsy for my Christmas, so I designed projects that had that spirit to them. I favor things that feel inherently festive and fun, but are also a feast for the eyes. Christmas was meant to forestall the darkness of winter and honor the light at the center of a family circle. So when I can, I add a bit of glimmer, and shimmer and glow, all in an artful, classic way.
Which is your favourite project?
Uh oh, really? I have to pick one? I like the really pretty, ethereal stuff, like the lace bowls made from vintage doilies, and the ornaments made by pressing interesting, textural things into soft clay. I like the silvered glass votives painted with lace silhouettes. But then I also like the more whimsical stuff. I adore the felted Christmas balls, especially the ones that became little Christmas beasts like reindeer and snowy owls. The marbled glass ornaments are amazing. The glass glitter castle is wonderful, it surprised even me when it came to life out of a flat piece of cardboard. I like the humble things that become wonderfully ornamental like the folded book page snowflakes, and the soda cans that become silvery Christmas trees. I love to turn something mundane into something magnificent, because, honestly, isn’t that exactly what magic really is?
What is your craft space like?
I have a glorious craft area/workshop that has windows on all four walls to let in the impossibly bright, wonderfully consistent high-altitude Colorado light. I have an enormous pine table that sits in front of three ceiling-high windows that look out over granite boulders, and tall prairie grass, and blue spruce, with rugged Mt. Pisgah in the distance. Grape vines shade the windows in summer, and in the winter the low sun drenches the interior with warm light. It is an ideal crafting space, and a heavenly space for photography. Though, with all those windows, I am definitely lacking enough wall space to store all my materials, and tools, and project stuff. But what self-respecting crafter doesn’t always have a bit of a storage crisis? Its part of the job description…
Have you always been creative?
I sewed my first pair of pants at 4 years old. Made myself a pair of blue suede clogs when I was in 3rd grade—including carving them out of a redwood fence post. Horribly unwearable of course, but cute to look at. I made a small fortune in high school finishing other people’s sewing projects in home-ec.I have drawn the plans for houses and cabins and guesthouses and helped build them, too. In short, I simply can’t leave things alone. I’m always looking to redesign, rethink, remake, rebuild.
When did you first start crafting?
Who are your crafty heroes?
Well, though we sometimes hesitate to admit it, most modern crafters have a little bit of Martha Stewart DNA. But I also adore just about everything from Lena Corwin, LottaJansdotter, and I just can’t get enoughof all those amazingly clever and cool Japanese craft books. The Renegade Craft Festivals are a miraculous source of inspiration for us all as well.
Where do you find inspiration?
The shower? My morning bike rides? Old, goofy stuff I find at garage sales? I don’t know where ideas come from. Things sometimes pop in my head and then I have to play around with them until they either turn into something amazing, or they turn to dust in my hands. So often, I start with one idea in my head, and then once I start working on it, it transforms into something else entirely. Drives my editors crazy. But I think failure, and redirection, and flexibility, and restarts are some of the most important aspects of creativity. That allows more parts of oneself to get involved in the process. Even allows space for other forces to pitch in like muses, and I don’t know, elves? That way projects have a life, and a heart, and a soul of their own. Almost all of the projects in Artful Christmas will look different when you make them than when I did. They will have your signature on them, and though they will be based on an idea from my book, they will be all yours. Isn’t that why we make stuff ourselves? We want the imprint of our own hands upon them. If we wanted it to look just like the picture, then we’d just order everything from a catalog, right?
What's next for you?
I’m working on another book that is a patternless sewing book and involves making all kinds of wonderfully three dimensional stuff starting with nothing but flat rectangles. No messy patterns or templates to get tangled up with, all you need is a yard stick. Its really quite wonderful and I continue to be astonished by what one can make with a simple tuck, or turn, or pleat, or gather. I am currently making the most amazing bags, and backpacks, and satchels for this project and I can’t wait for this book to make its debut.
Here are a few random and messy images of workshop, studio hound, and intrepid crafter….