Candy Apple Crafts: Featured Artisan

13 Jan

Studio name: Candy Apple Crafts blog: http://www.candyapplecrafts.com

Stores:

http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/studio/CandyAppleCrafts
http://www.etsy.com/shop/CandyAppleCrafts

When and how did you first become interested in crafting?
I believe crafting has always been part of my life. My earliest memory is of making a card for my mother when she was in the hospital after my sister was born. I was 2 at
the time. Of course, dad was helping me a lot! Later on, crafting became a
necessity. Throughout my school years, I couldn’t afford to give many gifts to
friends and relatives, until I discovered I could make them something from what
I had. I was inspired in part by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book “The Long
Winter,” in which she and her sister made all of their Christmas gifts from
scraps and things they found around the house, because they were snowed in.


How long have you been creating your chosen craft?
I have a lot of favorite crafts that I’ve picked up over the years, and I’m always trying new things. The things I keep returning to are Christmas ornaments, hand-embroidery, and printmaking. I started making Christmas ornaments over fifteen years ago, and I learned hand-embroidery around that time as well. The printmaking started about six years ago in college. They all started with kits and have progressed
to patterns and designs I make up myself.


What are your crafting influences?

Well, like I said, Laura Ingalls Wilder inspired me when I was a young girl
reading her books. I also had help from an aunt who was an art teacher, and my
mother. The two of them made most of the ornaments on my family Christmas tree.
My granddad (their father) never knew a craft he wouldn’t try. He was a skilled
stonemason, but he was always tinkering with wood and other materials in his
shop. He even helped me make some beadwoven keychains once for Christmas gifts.
Moving a little farther afield, I guess certain eras in history influence my
work. I love the 30s, 40s, and 50s in terms of the color and the mood of the
era. So many people went through hard times in those decades, and yet my overall
impression is that they remained cheerful and eternally resourceful. They knew
how to hang on and still find joy in little things. That was my grandparent’s
generation. I want to be like that in my own life and art.


Does anyone in your family do a similar craft?
Well, I guess I’ve already answered that question, lol! My mother and sister are always ready to step in and help me out if they are around. I can bounce ideas off them and get tips if I’m struggling with a design problem. They both have no patience for hand-embroidery, though! They claim it makes them nervous. I’m the only one who does prints.


What kinds of places have you displayed your craft in your life?
There was a craft fair at my dad’s office and I’ve entered it in the past. I didn’t get
much attention, there, though. Besides that, my Christmas ornaments are on more
than one family Christmas tree, and my embroidery is hanging on quite a few
people’s walls, as well. My prints made it into the juried student art show at
college all three years I entered them.
What else do you do besides create these beautiful pieces?
I am a published author and run a Christian informational blog that is slowly drawing attention. I am working on a novel series, but I haven’t gotten it ready to send to the publishers yet. Besides that, I’m dating a guy from southern India. My life is pretty full!
What is your favorite piece that you have created so far?
Hmm. They are all my favorites in different ways. I really love the embroidery I did of the Japanese flowering plum tree in my front yard. It turned out true to life, which was my goal–like painting with embroidery thread. On the other hand, some of my
favorite pieces overall are my elves and mice ornaments. They have so much
character, and I did put a lot of detail into the patterns. Maybe my favorite,
favorite piece is the Art Nouveau lilies monotype print I made for my parents
bedroom. I don’t have a photo of it to share. It is two layers of ink, with a
persimmon orange geometric background, and a sheer light green overlayer with
the lilies removed from the ink (to let the background show through). I then
went in with some darker green pencil to reinforce fainter lines. I feel like it
turned out beautifully, and wish I had the facilities to do more like that.

Why did you make that piece?
Well, it was a gift (story of my crafting exploits, lol). I also was required to make twenty monotype prints for my final in a printmaking class I was taking in college at the time. It was doing double-duty as an assignment and a Christmas gift.
What does it take to create pieces like that?
Whether we are talking about Christmas ornaments, embroidery, or prints, it takes the same kind of creativity. First you think of something you saw and loved, then you imagine having something like that, and then you use the materials you have to assemble it. There are lots of little tweaks and changes made along the way to get things to work out, and sometimes the end product is different from your vision. Usually it’s better.

 
What is special about your pieces?

With only a few exceptions now, the idea, pattern, and execution is all me. I know everything that went into the piece and how long it took. You probably will never find something quite like my pieces elsewhere, because I design them myself and make them myself. They are all unique and I think fairly avaunt-guard. Also, since each one is handmade, there are small variations from piece to piece that makes each thing unique. Even if you order part of a series, you will have the only one that looks precisely like that.
What makes this kind of craft “good\” to you?
It is all very relaxing for me after a long day of writing and other work. I also find the creative impulse that powers my crafts is great for inspiring my writing. I always figure out a problem in my writing when I sit down to make something with my hands. I guess you could say it helps me think in colorful and inventive ways.

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