I’m a member of a forum which has a section just for crafters – or to be more specific, a section encouraging crafters to craft in more money-saving ways – or ‘Stash Bust’ as it’s called. This ‘stash bust’ entails pledging to make & craft items from the crafty stash of stuff we all already have, rather than go out and buy even more stuff.
On that forum I come into contact with crafters from across the United Kingdom who I’ve never ‘met’ before, one of whom is Emma. Emma is a total delight. A breath of fresh air. She’s a ‘new to crafting‘, fresh out of the box, crafter. She doesn’t know how to do everything, but has a go at everything with gusto, and that’s what’s important!
But – there’s something which makes life a little more challenging for Emma. There’s a clue in the title of this post.
She’s introverted. Not just a little bit, but a lot. A lot-a-lot. She finds it so difficult to chat with anyone, that she barely socializes.
You’d think that was enough to cope with wouldn’t you, but Emma faces even more challenges.
You see, Emma also suffers with severe depression. When I ‘talk’ to her on the internet, a more delightful, honest, generous, genuinely lovely person I’ve yet to meet on the net. In fact – she’s so amazingly lovely that I always feel like I’m hugging her when I post on her blog or talk to her through the typed word. You’d never guess that she had these problems unless she’d told you.
I think Emma is so terrific that I wanted to kind of help to widen her world and introduce her to all of the really great folks I’ve so far met on WordPress; so I asked her if I could ‘interview’ her for my blog. I never thought in a million years that she’d say yes, but she knocked my socks off and agreed! So without further ado, I would like you to meet a fabulous crafting friend, and fellow blogger, by the name of Emma.
Interview with an Introverted Crafter
Hi Emma. So that I can give my Blog readers an idea of who you are, I’d like to ask you firstly:
Where in the world do you live?
Hi Cobs, I live in the South West of England, and have done so for almost twenty years. It’s a lovely place to live, although, due to my introversion, I do have a small issue with the summer season due to the sudden swelling of the population! I’m lucky to live so close to the sea, and, I must admit, I do take it for granted sometimes. The main drawback is the lack of craft shops in my nearby vicinity!
Ohh – I never knew you lived SW of England. So do I! Where abouts? [Emma gave me a rough idea of where she lived and we discovered that we were roughly around 3 hours drive away from each other. Small world, eh?]
When did you start your life of being a Crafter?
I started crafting last year. (2013) Depression suddenly hit me hard, and I was having trouble coping with day-to-day life when, one day, I walked into W.H. Smiths (British chain of shops selling books, stationery, magazines, newspapers etc. – and the first chain store company in the world) and started browsing the magazines. I liked the look of a freebie on a cross stitch magazine so, on a whim, I bought it and the rest is history! It has been my saving grace over the last year.
Can you remember your first craft project? What was it? Do you still have it?
My first craft project was a little tea set that I painted. Both of my brothers have a talent at drawing and painting which unfortunately skipped me, so it was nice to overcome my fears and do something for myself. My drawing has come on a little since then, in fact I was quite proud of the sharpie mugs I did for people on my birthday.
What’s a typical day for you involve, Emma?
My typical day can vary depending on how many hours I do at work. I try to get some aspects of crafts into everyday, as well as some much-needed exercise! I am also writing a book at the moment, and occasionally do those free online courses from FutureLearn, in an attempt to keep my mind active!
Wow! I can see you being really good at writing. You know how to put words together so that they flow. Not everyone has that ability.
So … Where do you get your inspiration to craft from?
Inspiration comes from all sorts of places. Having a large craft stash helps; you can be sorting through it one day and suddenly know exactly what you want to do with a specific piece. I also use other people’s blogs as inspiration. I think inspiration can also come from who the intended gift or card is for. For example, my dad has spent a large part of his life playing musical instruments so, when it came to deciding on a father’s day present for him, I decoupaged a box with music paper and added little wooden musical instruments. Simple but effective.
What sort(s) of things do you like to make?
I like making all sorts of things, and it changes depending on how I feel at the time! I love cross stitching, and mixed media art.
Is there a particular ‘medium’ do you like to craft in above any other?
I don’t prefer a particular medium to work in; I think that each project lends itself to a certain medium. However, I do love working with shrink plastic, which is a bit unusual for most crafters, and I am trying to develop my skills in polymer clay.
We have another similarity! – we share a love of Polymer. (I’ve also seen some of your results with shrink plastic Ems, and they’re really great. My absolute favourites are those grave stones which you made and posted photographs of on your blog. I LOVE those!)
Is there a craft that you like more than any other?
I’m torn between stitching and papercraft when it comes to picking favourites. Cross stitching introduced me into the world of crafting, and it has taught me the fine art of patience. However, papercrafting allows me to be more creative in a way that I thought I could never be.
Is there a craft you would love to try? (and .. If so, why haven’t you had a go at it yet?)
There isn’t a new craft I would like to try per se, but I would like to develop my skills in papercraft and polymer clay. I’d love to get Tim Holtz compendium of curiosities and work through the various techniques, although I can see that would be an expensive venture!
Emma, – here’s a question that I’d hate to have to answer myself: If there was someone who was about to embark on their life of crafting and who hadn’t ever crafted even one thing before … what is the best tip or bit of advice you could give to them, do you think?
The best tip I could give to someone who wants to get into crafting is to just dive into the deep end and try doing anything. You may not like your first attempts, it may take a while to build your confidence, but if someone who has such a low-level of self-esteem as I do can look at my makes and feel proud, then anyone can. Creativity should be encouraged, regardless of whether you are a child or you are in your eighties.
Is there anything you’ve made which you regard as your most favourite thing of all time? If so … what is it, and who did you make it for?
The favourite thing that I have made so far is the photo stitch of my Nan and Granddad. If there is anybody in life that I wish to emulate, it is them, and I hope that the stitch is a fitting tribute to them.
Another difficult question that I would hate to be asked: What would you say is the thing in your craft area/room that you just couldn’t live without?
That’s a hard one! I would probably have to say my magnifier and lamp, as it helps me to craft for longer when the winter nights draw in.
We live in a big, instant, ‘buy it now’, mass-produced society, where everything is exactly the same as the one that just went through the till; – on a ‘buy it now’ offer, or a simple ‘one click to purchase’ situation. So having said that: — Why should people continue to buy one-of-a-kind, hand-made products rather than one of millions which have been all made to look the same, from high street chain stores?
People should buy hand-made purely because it is, if not unique, at the very least rare. We are always persuaded to buy the labels, to conform, when we should all strive to be what we are, individuals, every one of us unique.
Tell me about your blog, Emma. http://theintrovertedcrafter.blogspot.co.uk/
My blog is a dual purpose. As I have said, I suffer from depression so crafting and writing a blog is a kind of therapy for me, and I hope will encourage others as well.
Depression, as well as other mental illnesses, is still shoved under the carpet almost as if it is a shameful thing. More people suffer in silence than should, and I hope that by being open, even when I have my bad days, it gives people some kind of hope that there are others out there who understand how they feel.
The crafting side of my blog is that I’m fighting my low self-esteem and fear by putting my work out there for others to see.
What is your (non crafting) guilty pleasure?
I have two non crafting pleasures. I met my favourite boy band this year, and I also love Disney. I’m heading to WDW this year. Basically, I’m a big kid!
(ermm…. Emma, is any chance that your suitcase is big enough to accomodate me?)
Other than crafting … what is your favourite thing to do?
Other than crafting I love writing. I’ve always had little bits and pieces in my head that I have never fully developed, so it was a real accomplishment when I finished writing a book this year. I still have to get over the fear of sending it to a publisher though!
Hmmm, last words? Spifflymuglicate!
Yes this is a made up word, and one that has been in my family for a long time, as my Granddad, and his Dad before him, used it when they were play fighting with their grandchildren. I choose Spifflymuglicate both to honour my Grandparents, and to remind us all that, regardless of our age, we need to stay young at heart!
Emma … thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. I know that it took you completely out of your comfort zone – but, for me, it’s been a massively enjoyable experience and I’ve absolutely loved every minute of it. I hope you didn’t find it too discomforting, and I also hope that it increases traffic to your blog, so that you find the much needed encouragement from other crafters to keep going with your crafting.
I believe in you Emma. We all had to start somewhere. None of us began crafting as experts. We all began in similar ways to the way you started. Something made us want to make something, and from that first ‘something’, we kept going and got better with each project. We are all still learning. Every day turns up a new experience. A new technique. A new joy. And so it will be for you too.
Thank you Emma, this has been an absolute, 100% bundle of fun. – Love ~ Cobs. x
To my blog readers:
Thank you so much for visiting and staying for a while. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this interview as much as I did doing it.
You can visit Emma’s Blog by clicking here: http://theintrovertedcrafter.blogspot.co.uk/ (window will open up in new page)
Have a truly fabulous rest of your day all!