This book is beautiful and thoughtful. There's a really interesting range of projects that incorporate different craft techniques with embroidery. Admittedly, I've been in a major craft funk lately (I know... shameful, but true) but Lisa's book has helped spark some inspiration in me to start pulling out the embroidery floss and get back to crafting.
I asked Lisa a few questions about her new book and her work, and here's what she had to say:
1. Do you have a favorite project in the book? If so, why? Is there a personal history behind it?
You know – I don't have a single favorite… but a project that has a lot of sentimental value to me is the photo I recreated in embroidery of my grandma and me when I was about one. The book is dedicated to that grandma – Shirley – she was definitely a huge influence in my crafting and art making. Completely supportive and incredibly talented she was always knitting and crocheting and embroidering. I love that picture of us – especially because my little girl looks almost exactly like me at the same age.
2. You mention that you came to embroidery later in life, what was your earliest memory of crafting or making, and who was it with?
I did start embroidering late… grad school. But crafting was definitely in my blood. My mom is REALLY good at making things too – I'm thinking in particular about this cat costume she made for me – on the fly – with no pattern… I can't pinpoint a specific early memory, but I do clearly have this image of my mom and I gluing cotton balls together – adding tiny goggly eyes and scarves to make a series of snowmen for some school related gift thing….
I want to really try hardanger too. My grandma was SO good at it. It definitely is intimidating though- all the thread counting.
3.Who do you love to make things for? And what do you make?
I'll make things for anyone – anyone who appreciates it! In particular I like to make things for my daughter now, but I'll happily whip up something for a gift as long as I have time. What do I make? I like making little stuffed animals. Printed T-shirts, totes… jewelry! maybe some cookies now and again… I just bought some modeling clay – I want to try making little planters… I often craft in-between working on art projects. It helps to clear my head. I also can't ever just sit still, so I'm always making and working on something in front of the TV.
4. I really love the variety of projects in this book. Who did you have in mind when you were selecting projects? Who would benefit from it?
Awww thanks… I really wanted to try and have a wide variety – things that would be really good for absolute beginners [pillow cases] - things for intermediate embroiderers who really want to try some new stitches [the fuzzy monograms, tea towels with update phrasing] - things for the more advanced embroider/maker [finger puppets and free machine sewing]. Mostly I wanted to show that you really can use embroidery to enhance anything. I think if you've wanted to explore embroidery but didn't know where to start – this is for you. Or if you want to re-discover embroidery. This book might be of particular interest if you want to test it out with other materials – there are projects with shrink plastic, paper, photo iron-ons, contemporary twists on silhouettes… for me the biggest and most fun premise of the book was that I would present most of the projects with my version and a friend's version side by side. Just to highlight how you can take one idea and run with it in many ways.
5. Besides "Knot Thread Stitch," what are your favorite craft books out right now?
I will never ever ever tire of Japanese craft books. The simplicity and the photography always get to me. I just got Abbey Hendrickson's You are Awesome: 21 Crafts to Make you Happy and they DO make me happy. I'm still a fan of Ellen Lepton's DIY Design it Yourself… and Christine Schmidt/Yellow Owl Workshop's Print Workshop… and of course Amy Karol's books – Bend the Rules Sewing and Bend the Rules with Fabric. And I have to also mention Heather Smith Jones' Water Paper Paint – which really was the template for my book – it was her editor that contacted me. And if I didn't see how gorgeous Heather's book had come out I never would have gone for it.
6. What is the most creative/inspiring movie you've seen in the past few years.
Oh this is hard… I don't get to watch so many movies anymore but.… I recently watched "The Artist is Present" - the documentary on Marina Abramovic and found it incredibly moving and inspiring. I made my students watch it.
I just finished an alligator costume for my kid [her request] for Halloween… I'm always making stuff for my side/craft business MODify/d. We'll be doing 3 fairs this winter, so there are a lot of buttons to be sewn on and elephants to stuff and sew up! I'm also going to try my hand at some adult more cuff like version of friendship bracelets. If they work then some folks will be getting those for the holidays. It's funny but with a kid I'm much more into decorating and making stuff for specific holidays than I ever was before. It's so fun to see her get excited about stuff. Hopefully it will become normal for her to just make stuff all the time too.
To Win a Copy of Knot Thread Stitch: Exploring Creativity through Embroidery and Mixed Media by Lisa Solomon simply leave a comment below with you email address. I will select a winner at random on Saturday morning 9am PST.
UPDATE! THIS GIVE-AWAY IS NOW CLOSED