Handmade Conversations — Cathe Holden of Rosette Art

Posted by on Aug 13, 2013

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You may be most familiar with rosettes if you have ever participated in a contest and won a ribbon for "Best in Show." Unlike the cheaper varieties, Cathe Holden's rosettes are made from fabric or pretty paper, pleated and accordioned into undulating folds, and layered one upon the other, with a gorgeous cameo or trinket in the center. They are works of art and each piece is unique. Come join us as we talk with Cathe about how she got into this unusual craft.

Can you tell us how you got started with rosette art (making paper rosettes and fabric rosettes)? What do you love about this craft?

I began collecting vintage prize ribbon rosettes years ago and transformed many into wearable art using brooches, photographs and found objects. Later I began designing layered rosette product prototypes for a major scrapbook company. Once the term of that project was complete, I found myself still very excited about crafting rosettes from many different elements, new, used and vintage. Rosette making became an obsession of sorts. So many materials can be used and repurposed to create rosettes and I have enjoyed developing unusual techniques for manipulating papers, fabric and ribbon. I love that a finished rosette has a beautiful bulls-eye effect — your eyes can't help but be drawn to it no matter where it hangs!

If I want to learn how to make rosettes, what are some basic supplies I need to get started?

A scoring board and embossing stylist are tools that will make paper rosette crafting easy, though you can definitely improvise using things such as a cutting mat surface and small crochet hook to score paper. I use hot glue in nearly all the rosettes projects in the book. Cutting tools such as scissors, craft knife or paper trimmer are essential as is a ruler. Materials can consist of papers, fabrics and objects you may already have around your home or studio. There are some great material idea starter lists inside the back cover of Rosette Art.

What are some of your favorite crafty uses for rosette art? I'd imagine you can use them for party planning, scrapbooking, gift giving, etc.

My favorite crafty use for rosette art is to decorate and adorn areas of my home. I’ve mixed in a photo rosette among our family portraits in the hallway and also pinned rosettes all about my studio. A rosette can be a fun alternative to a scrapbook layout, not just an embellishment to one, by incorporating papers, mementos and photographs into the various layers.

When you're not making rosettes, what are some of your go-to crafts?

Making rosettes has been a bit rare for me in that it’s one of the few crafts I have spent so much time on and made so many variations of. It’s more my style to make something once and move onto something new. I love exploring and creating new projects on a daily basis. I share many of those craft projects on my blog, JustSomethingIMade.com. I also still enjoy creating digital graphic design, a skill honed over many years as a professional designer and illustrator, and love incorporating that work into my crafts.

Cathe Holden is the author of "Rosette Art: Instructions and Papers for Beautiful Rosettes to Share, Wear, and Display," published by Chronicle Books. You can also view a free project from the book, a fabric boutonierre.

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