Brookelynn Morris over at Craftzine.com offered up 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 things about her crafty self, and asked for submissions. Here are 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 things about my tattiness.
One Project You Are Particularly Proud Of
1. I tatted this hair cap, overgrown snood thing for a dear friend for Christmas of 2005. It was the largest project that I had finished to date, and included an excessive number of tiny beads which drove me crazy. I got through the project by chanting, I love my friend, I love my friend. I love the cap too, now that it is long finished.
1. Balling all of my thread without writing down the thread colors, names and brands. Sure, it was great for saving room in the suitcase to cross the Atlantic, but now I can’t get more and I need just one more ball of a few colors to finish projects. It makes me want to bawl.
2. Not keeping a photographic record of all my products from the beginning. I’ve managed to reconstruct some of it, but I gave away many pieces without taking a photo, and now cannot remember much of what I made. I wish I had a better record of my progress.
Three Things That Make Your Work Unique
1. I love working within a continuous tradition of tatters, while making pieces that are relevant for a modern audience. I’m likely to make a hanky edging and put it on a picture frame mat, or set a small motif into resign for a necklace, or affix a flower on a handmade card. That connection between tradition and innovation informs how I choose and design patterns, and transforms my relationship with both the process and product.
2. I love learning new techniques and using established techniques in innovative ways. For me, the process of making something, and the process of learning how, are just as important, if not more so, than the finished product. I love trying a new technique and working on it till I master it and produce several quality items before moving on to something else.
3. Rather than shy away from a judge’s scrutiny, I prefer to delight the critical observer. My favorite pieces are ones that at first glance seem straightforward and have a simple elegance, yet on closer inspection offer a wonderful surprise or unexpected characteristic that rewards the careful examiner. For example, all the stitches in this flower are facing up, using a technique called frontside/backside tatting. In regular tatting only about half the stitches face up.
Four Tools You Love to Use
1. A beautiful shuttle. I love the look and feel of a well-made shuttle that fits nicely in my hand and takes care of my thread. Few things in crafting compare the the simple pleasure of skilfully handling a carved ivory, bone or wooden shuttle.
2. High quality European thread. The delicate lacy look of tatting is exemplified in high quality threads, and my favorites are from Germany and France. Spending hours with a rough or uneven thread constantly running over my fingers will wear painful grooves in my fingers, so a high quality, even, finely twisted thread is both essential to work with and for the lacy look.
3. My ivory-handled crochet hook. This piece of ancient mammoth ivory was scrimshawed into a feather design by Dave of Grizzly Mountain Arts, and inset with a size 12 crochet hook stump. It is great for making joins, feels great in my hands, and is beautiful to look at.
1. My mom, who is always game for my crafting challenges. I couldn’t count how many times I’ve asked her to make something from my rambling descriptions, a hand-sketched pattern, or to significantly modify an existing pattern, and then leave her to figure out how to make it happen. She always rises to the challenge!
2. Online crafters. It is so refreshing to go online and find out that there are other people like me! The things I have seen people create are so wonderful and clever and skilfully made, I am inspired to try to do it myself.
3. The kids. I love watching them grow and learn and discover their world. They are constantly reminding me to slow down and enjoy whatever task or activity we are engaged in, that sometimes it is good to make a mess, and to reexamine my narrow adult assumptions of the way things “should” be.
4. Jan Stawasz. A Polish tatter who makes the most intricate and elegant tatted designs, and whose displayed work is always technically perfect. I try to remind myself that he probably takes out even more than I do to get it that way, and that he is only showing us his best stuff. But it is just. so. perfect. Sigh.
5. My grandmothers and great-grandmothers. I feel immensely blessed to come from a line of resourceful and crafty women who have taken care of their families through difficult times and still managed to make their lives beautiful with the work of their hands.