So many projects out there, so many people doing amazingly creative things. When it comes to the crafty arts, I can always count on CRAFT to highlight some very cool stuff. But I especially like the way CRAFT not only showcases crafty projects, but members of the craft community as well, helping to connect the dots to who is creating what. The result is a further strengthening of the already tight-knit crafting community. Following is an interview with CRAFT Editor Natalie Zee Drieu about the overall CRAFT project, the art of writing about craft, and what has been inspiring her lately.
What led to the creation of CRAFT Magazine?
Natalie Zee Drieu: It was in late summer of 2005 and MAKE Magazine had been around for a year and a half. MAKE was getting a lot of craft projects submitted so the idea came up to do a special issue of MAKE dedicated to crafts. Soon after, while working on the special issue, we realized that the craft space really needed something like this as well as the fact we had too many projects to fit in just one issue. It was then that Dale Dougherty our publisher decided to make CRAFT its own magazine!
Presenting projects in a way that readers can create on their own, that’s not always so easy. When you are writing an article showing how to do a diy project, what are some things you do to make sure your project directions are easy to follow?
NZD: I’ve been a designer for 12 years so I’m a very visual person and I think most crafters are. I also have written a few web design books back in the day so I take the same approach to writing up craft projects. Step by step is always key with photos that show the important steps or difficult ones. I also like to link to certain techniques (needlepoint or knitting) to give readers a good foundation for techniques.
NZD: With CRAFT, it’s all about projects, making something and showcasing what’s happening in the craft world today. Since our magazine comes out only once a quarter, the blog and the free weekly pattern podcast are other ways for us to bring a dose of what’s out there in more timely manner. Hopefully, we can inspire readers to pick up a new craft or start a new project that they might not have known about otherwise.
The CRAFT blog highlights all kinds of crafty ideas and projects found online — how do you go about finding out about all the projects you feature on the blog?
NZD: I have no idea how I do it! I think part of the reason is that I’m such a tech nerd that I’m always online so I’ll always be looking out for interesting finds. I have a large pool probably around 500 of sites on my RSS reader ranging from crafts, design, fashion, technology, almost everything. Crafters also submit their site to us for review through the blog. It’s really about the community. Sometimes I’ll do a post and I’ll get an email or a blog comment that will trigger a new story on what a certain crafter is making. I really love that!
You’ve published 3 issues of CRAFT so far… how is the magazine progressing? Anything that’s surprised you in terms of response?
NZD: We just finished vol. 3 the Japanese Style issue which is one of my personal favorite craft topics. Everyone on our team is so passionate about crafts. It’s nice to have this overwhelming positive response we are getting from the craft community about our magazine. We are so happy that crafters are loving what we are doing because we really love what we do.
What’s a recent craft project that has just blown you away? This giant knitted glove that’s really a chair cozy. I can barely finish knitting my sweaters and this woman knit up a giant glove! So cool!
NZD: The Knitted Ferrari also is an amazing feat. It’s my all time favorite.
What artist/crafter most influences your own crafting endeavors?
NZD: Textile designer Lotta Jansdotter has been a big influence for me. I’ve known her personally since the early 90′s and saw her create her own business out of her silk screening hobby. What I love about her is that she created her own signature style for all the things she designs whether it’s textiles, bags, clothes, or ceramics. When you look at it, you know it’s a Lotta Jansdotter design. Lotta has just the most beautifully designed handwriting out of anyone I know! Her personal recipe book that she keeps is like looking at a special scrapbook. She’s amazing! I think in some way having known her all these years, her influence has steered me closer to my craft career now.
Also, recently I’ve been inspired by Kim P. Werker of Crochet Me and Editor of Interweave Crochet. She has really gotten me into crochet ever since I met her at the TNNA show in Jan. She has started some fun side projects such as the Granny Along which I’m a part of. I’m primarily a knitter and a sewer but all three of my projects I’ve got going on right now are crochet. I’m completely addicted and excited to learn more projec
What is your inspiration for the work you do on CRAFT?
NZD: All the crafters that are out there. Seriously, everyday I’m blown away by something someone makes. I keep a long list of craft projects I want to do for myself from either seeing it online or from meeting a crafter at a fair who’s shown me something new.
I’m also inspired by technology. I’m working on some digital craft projects that will be up on Craftzine this summer to bring together my background in digital design and the tactile craft world. I love vintage craft books and magazines and have a growing collection of those that I like to look at. It’s nice that there’s this history to crafting and that we are this new generation of crafters that are adding to it.