Have you been stitching since you were very young? I didn’t start stitching until I was in my late 20s. I took up a beginners’ evening class when I lived in England, to learn the basics, and it led to a City & Guild certificate in embroidery, which was really interesting to study for. The major project was to seek out a visually pleasing structure of some kind (I chose a cabbage leaf), and to interpret the design in embroidery.
How did you feel when you first started stitching? I wished that I’d taken it up years ago. I had previously been interested in glass-painting and mixed-media, but I didn’t have a place to leave things safely unattended from my young son, so I wasn’t crafting as much as I would have liked. But sewing is so portable. You don’t need many supplies to stitch and embroider, so I loved the freedom it offered me to ‘sew on the go’.
Has your response to your craft changed much since then?
Having been stitching now for 15 years, the craft is entrenched in to my daily life. It’s as much a part of my routine as cooking or cleaning – although a lot more fun. So, I guess you could say that my response to this craft has become a welcome habit.
What is it that keeps you creating? There are just so many ideas of my own to bring to life, as well as the patterns I’ve collected by other designers’ over the years, that I continually feel a stirring just to keep on making. I can’t imagine ever not wanting to design, create or sew.
Do you do much online crafting work – blogging, Instagram, Pinterest? Yes, I do have a blog, where you can find free patterns and tutorials. Pinterest is a favourite of mine; I like to save photos of animals as inspiration for my embroideries.
What other creative outlets do you like to make time for? I’m interested in so many different crafts and really need to make some time in my day to progress with them. I’m currently researching how to customise the Blythe doll that my husband bought me. I’m learning how to sew realistic-looking dolls’ clothes for Blythe; it’s a whole new skill-set I’m yet to master. I also enjoy painting, miniature crafts and soft-doll-making.
What do you wish for your creative future? I wish to put a dent in my substantial fabric stash! I’d like to design and make quilts, and to master both knitting and sewing in miniature. But I think, for my own personal growth, I need to learn to let my hair down and be more spontaneous with my creativity. I’m a very methodical person and restrict myself unnecessarily by over-thinking things before I create. I’d really like to let loose with some mini art quits and leave all the ‘rules’ by the wayside.
Vikki Collumbine, SEW Useful Designs –