Amanda Fletcher

Why this particular craft? I’ve fallen in love with English paper piecing because it allows me to combine my love of fabrics and hand sewing.

Have you tried plenty of others? Yes, over the years I’ve tried cross stitch, hand embroidery, tapestry, crazy quilting, machine embroidery, machine sewing, crochet, beading, upcycling, felting and many others. Many friends call me a ‘multi-crafter’ due to my diverse range of skills and craft passions.

If you weren’t doing this, what else would you be doing? Travelling around Australia in our lovely caravan. My craft will always go with me, no matter where I go or how little room I have to stash it.

Who taught you your crafting skills? Did you learn ‘at your mother’s knee’ or master them as an adult...formal training or personal learning? I didn’t learn at my mother’s knee as crafting skipped a generation in my family. Mum is learning to crochet now though. Both my grandmothers were skilled crafters. One was a seamstress and the other was a very skilled hand embroiderer and knitter, but unfortunately, both passed away before they could teach me their skills. So some of my skills are self-taught and others I’ve gone to retreats and classes to learn. I still go fortnightly to classes at a local quilting shop and crochet classes when I get time.

What does this craft mean to you? All textile craft means a lot to me. I can’t go too long without a needle, crochet hook or sewing machine in my hands or I get ‘itchy fingers’. My craft is what keeps me sane in my busy (sometimes insane) routine and work life. I’m a very creative person and I need that outlet to create something beautiful or useful. I can’t see myself ever wanting to stop crafting, but I sometimes need to rein in how much I can learn and do.

Is it hard to find time to do it or is it a profession? I have a professional job as a radiographer, so my craft is my creative outlet and de-stress tool that I squeeze in around work whenever I can. I usually take a small travel bag in the car with me so I can use any spare time wisely. There is never enough time and I always wish I had more - maybe when I retire!

From where do you draw inspiration? Mostly from nature, but also the fabrics sometimes inspire me to create a particular design. I also use Pinterest and magazines to research a theme, for inspiration and what is ‘trending’ at the time. Two particular sewing teachers over the years have truly inspired me and encouraged me to believe in myself enough to create my own designs for publishing. (I thank them from the bottom of my heart.)

Do you ever see yourself stopping or diversifying? I don’t ever see myself stopping but I hope I get more time for it down the track. My craft is a part of me, my personality and life.

Tell us something about your family life – partner, pets, children? I live on a rural property of just over four acres with my husband and two children: a 16-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son who. My husband is very gracious in putting up with my craft everywhere around the house and understands my need to craft. My daughter has been crafting since she was very little, starting with beading at six years of age! She has her own sewing machine and comes to classes with me once a fortnight. She’s inherited the crafting genes!

What is your advice for beginners? Don’t give up when trying a new craft. Go to lessons if you have the time as this helps your speed of learning and you pick up hints and tips from other seasoned crafters around you. Don’t narrow yourself down to one type of crafting. Broaden your mind and try new ones that can be combined with other old ones. Remember that we are all constantly learning and adding to our skill set. Everyone still has something to learn!

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