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Delicate Stitches
Jeni I.

Meet the Author

Hey there, can you introduce yourself?

I am 24 years old and living in London. I studied illustration at university and since then I’ve been freelancing, working with great clients on exciting projects. I’m also the artist in residence at a school, where I have a wonderful studio space to work from when I’m not running workshops. I love being busy, but when I’m not working I’ll be out and about with friends and family. I love running, reading and good food. I am particularly enjoying and embracing the opportunity to travel and would love to explore more new places, as well as revisit some of the amazing cities I’ve been to recently!

Tell us a bit about the book?

Collage and Keep is a visual diary which encourages the reader to reflect upon their own life, and respond to different activities using the ever popular medium of collage. The book has 52 projects or ‘prompts’ which provide opportunity for people to explore their own experiences and perspectives using personal photos or things they’ve collected over time. For example, ‘Create footprints using photos of places that you’ve been’, thus creating a visual journey of significant events and locations in your life.

What was the inspiration behind it?

As you may have noticed, adult activity books, particularly colouring books are increasingly popular. You’d be hard pressed to walk into a bookshop and not see a stand dedicated to this type of book. Many people are inherently creative but often don’t have the time to exercise their imagination. Collage and Keep provides a space in which people can do exactly that but in a thoughtful, reflective way using things that are personal to them.

Which is your favourite project?

I have a few favourites! I think the one that holds most significance to me is the spread which asks ‘Who or what do you wish was closer to you?’, with a pair of binoculars for you to collage into. My brother moved to New York two years ago and I frequently wish he was nearer. I also love the sentiment of ‘bottling a moment’, and it’s a concept which I think can help us appreciate certain situations as we experience them.

What is your craft space like?

I actually have two, one at home and my studio at the school where I work. I find it very difficult to work in a messy space, and so both are always spotless before I begin work. I have a cutting mat at the ready, and I’m surrounded by books to inspire me if necessary, as well as plants and the obligatory cup of tea.

Have you always been creative?

Always. I’m from a family of creatives, be it musicians, artists, writers, web developers… Ever since I was little I can remember spending rainy Saturdays making some kind of sculpture out of recycling with my siblings. I drew all the time and I used to love writing, copying out whole poems and fables into notebooks simply because I enjoyed the process. My hand drawn type is a really big part of my work now, so it’s interesting to make those connections.

When did you first start crafting?

I remember receiving a loom kit for Christmas one year when I was about 7. I think I made a quarter of what would have been a very small scarf before moving on to something else. I did a lot of card making as a child too. More recently I’ve taken up quilting which I thoroughly enjoy, although I’m certainly not the neatest or most accurate quilter in the world.

Who are your crafty heroes?

Yann Martel, the author of Life of Pi captured my imagination unlike any other writer. I have deliberately avoided ever seeing the film due to the intensely clear image I have of the narrative in my head - I’d love to illustrate it one day. There are so many other writers that have inspired me: Ian McEwan, Khaled Hosseini, Gabriel Garcia Marquez to name a few. There are lots of illustrators who have created wonderful activity books and I admire all who wish to cultivate people’s inner artist.

Where do you find inspiration?

I think travel is a big one for me. I try to carry with me my beat up old 35mm SLR camera and a sketchbook to capture as much as possible. I look to current commercial illustrators as well as visiting art galleries. I love film, and directors like Wes Anderson continue to affect my colour pallet and composition. There are also definite parallels to be drawn between my work and the colours, textures and patterns found in my parents house. It’s funny where we find our inspiration.

What's next for you?

I have a few other book projects in the pipeline, and will continue working on editorial commissions as well as running workshops. I’m really excited about the future and what comes next, so watch this space!

Publisher's Description

This is a book to make your own. Fill the pages with your thoughts, dreams, memories and ambitions. Explore your world and make your mark by reflecting on your experiences. Cut and paste, create and play, collage and keep. Collage and Keep is a visual journal and keepsake where the reader is encouraged to participate in collage based activities that explore and reflect on their own experience and perspective of life. Whilst some pages seek a more personal engagement, for example relating to memory or desire, others simply provide a space to 'recreate your favourite book cover' or produce a 'collage quilt' using collected ephemera from friends and family. Including helpful tips and basic principles of collage, the reader is guided to source materials from their everyday world and to look for what is beautiful, inspiring or unusual to them. * Collage your three greatest achievements * Create your perfect view * Tell the story of your favourite record * Fill a page with bright ideas * What make you hot? What makes you cold? * Make a paperchain of people you connect with * Collage a home video of your happiest memories * Fill the cabinet full of things that you are curious about * Create footprints using photos of places you've been