How did you feel when you first started sewing? I was very young when I started sewing (around 10 or 11 years of age). My mother always let me help with drafting patterns and choosing fabrics. I suppose it helped me realise that if you can think it, you can make it and you aren’t beholden or restricted to products you can buy (or afford) in stores. It’s a very special superpower to be able to create unique things with your own hands.
Has your response to your craft changed since then? No, I still feel empowered every time I make something and am hoping to pass that feeling on to my daughter. I don’t want her to grow up thinking the only way to go through life is being a consumer.
What is it that keeps you creating?I enjoy the challenge and process of turning an idea into a real-life object. Sometimes, things work out perfectly straightaway, and other times, it can take many attempts to get the result you’re after. The topiary softies took me quite a few weeks of visualising how I wanted them to look and what materials I would use before I even touched a piece of fabric. Then it took me a few days and about six samples to get the shapes just right. I think all the work was worth it in the end.
Do you teach your skills? Yes, I like to think that the My Poppet blog is a resource where readers can learn many skills. With over 250 craft and DIY tutorials and a growing number of instructional videos on my YouTube channel, there is certainly a lot to make and learn. I also occasionally teach workshops and craft classes at CAE (Council of Adult Education) in Melbourne. The topics are varied and include classes in needle felting, recycled rug making and crochet.
How different is your stitching world now from, say, a year ago?Sadly, I think I spend less time sewing than I did a year ago. I am a practical crafter and am finding I need less stuff now than I once did. My daughter, Emma, is now at school, so she needs fewer clothes now that she wears a uniform every day. I sewed much of her wardrobe when she was younger, and I miss making kids’ clothes. I also taught myself to knit recently, and I’m enjoying exploring a brand new world of yarn.
Are you also a gardener – since you have created such lovely topiary softies? Ha ha! No green thumbs here! I struggle to grow and keep plants alive at the best of times, but I found I’ve had moderate success growing succulents. I’ve tried so many times to grow a vegie patch but I have given up after multiple failures. You can’t be good at everything, I suppose. The bonus of my topiary softies is that they are guaranteed not to die.
What are your most important hobbies and interests? I enjoy textile-based crafts and am always exploring new techniques. I dabble in many disciplines craftwise and have recently joined my local basket-makers guild. When I’m not making, I like to travel and see the world. I’m also challenging myself to improve my photography and videography skills.
What do you wish for your creative future?It would be wonderful to earn a full-time income from creative pursuits, but I don’t think that I’m business savvy or driven enough to do what it takes to make that happen. I’m just grateful for the opportunities (and family support) I have now that allow me to spend a lot of my time pursuing my creative interests.