health and craft

Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at over the next couple of months. Please welcome…

Cam is a crafter, illustrator, textile designer, maker, blogger, and obsessed op shopper. She adores rioutous colour, and vintage style. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her trusty sidekick Mr Limpy Houdini Dog, and is currently on the waiting list for a double lung transplant. She blogs at CurlyPops.

For me, craft is a part of my work and business, but I also still craft just for fun. I adore making and giving gifts to family and friends, and I also love to be able to contribute something handmade to community and charity events. From a business perspective, at the moment, I’m focussed on textile design and sewing. I’m really enjoying the challenge of creating hand-drawn illustrations and applying these to textiles. My current goal is to improve my digital design skills so that I can combine both to create my next boutique range of fabrics. Seeing my handrawn illustrations coming to life as a textile design and then taking that fabric and transforming it into a functional item has been absolutely thrilling.

Inspiration :: I seem to find inspiration everywhere I look. At the moment I’m quite obsessed with pattern and texture. It can be anything from the pattern in the bitumen on the road, to a dappled sunlight shadow coming through the window, to a wallpaper or tile design that I see on one of my favourite DIY tv shows. If you take the time to look beyond what seems to be right in front of you, you’ll be able see it too.

Colour :: In my eyes, everything looks glorious in shades of pink and orange and red. But I really just happen to love all colours. Everywhere I look, my eye is always drawn directly to the strongest and most saturated colours. When working on any new designs, it seems that my colour choices also follow this same pattern.

Technique :: I’m a mostly self taught creative type. My best ideas seem to suddenly appear while I’m lying in bed in the middle of the night, so I make sure to always have a sketchpad and pen in my bedside drawer. I have my own peculiar techniques when it comes to creating and making. The first step is to take the idea and visualise the finished item in my head. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to construct it, and how the seams will come together.

Once I’m happy that my idea is feasible, I usually sketch it out and work on the finished dimensions. Using that sketch of the completed item, I’ll then sketch out the separate fabric components, calculate their dimensions, and add the appropriate seam allowances. I have multiple sketch books in all sorts of different sizes. They’re literally all over my house!

For my own range of CurlyPops products, I don’t necessarily make myself a pattern. I usually just work with a sketch. I also make a lot of one-off custom orders for things like camera bags, or teatowel handbags, where the dimensions of the camera, or the dimensions of the teatowel actually dictate the size and construction method. I receive quite a few requests for unusual items, and I’ll usually try to make anything at least once!

I was lucky enough to work part-time for Nicole Mallalieu from You Sew Girl for a couple of years. I learned so much about sewing, bag making, using hardware and choosing the right type of interfacing to create the appropriate structure in a project. I most definitely would not have the skill level that I have today without the knowledge that I’ve gained from Nikki. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to become a You Sew Girl pattern stockist.

Donate Life

I’ve been on the waiting list for a double lung transplant since August 31st 2011. Craft really has been wonderful for keeping my spirits high, but it’s also helped me to raise awareness for organ donation. If you’re in Australia and you would like to know more, then please visit the Donate Life Website and sign up on the Australian Organ Donor Register. If you read my blog, or follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll be the first to know when I finally receive that amazing call from the Transplant Co-ordinator.