In our "Handmade Conversations" series, we ask amazing people in the craft, food and fashion industries a few questions that provide you with a glimpse into their world. This week's featured person is Kristy Smith, fabric artist and the blogger behind Hopeful Threads.
Kristy is a contributor and avid supporter of Create H.O.P.E. Designs, an organization that provides low-cost sewing patterns that are sold to benefit a charity foundation working with orphans. Kristy's work has also been featured on Craft Buds, The Southern Institute and many more websites.
Kristy dressed in a devil costume
Wow, I can't remember. I was always dabbling with something: painting, beading, hand-stitching and the whole friendship bracelet craze was part of my childhood. Coming from a long line of those who create with their hands in various forms (seamstresses, wood workers, quilters, crocheters, gardeners and doll-makers), creating has pretty much been a part of my life from the time I was old enough to have interest.
What is your craft medium of choice? Why do you prefer that one?
Currently, it's fabric and oh how I love it! Fabric is such a versatile medium, and can be turned into so many different things just by the way it is cut and sewn. You can make clothing, decorations, handbags and toys, and each one is fresh and unique regardless of how many times the same pattern has been created.
Kristy's 5 children
I love color. I love nature, and my family enjoys hiking and picnics and, when they can talk me into it, even camping. I have 5 children, and each one inspires me in different ways. Their beauty, spunk, cleverness, zeal and delight are irreplaceable and help me to define life in ways I may otherwise overlook. Being able to use my craft to fulfill the needs of another is also very inspiring and is what initiated my blog, Hopeful Threads. I think all of these things are reflected in the fabrics I choose and projects I regularly create.
I'm not much for lingering projects. One that I was particularly pleased with was a family album I created for my mother-in-law. I'll never forget giving that to her. I also hope to complete my first quilt this year.
An ongoing project that I am very proud to be a part of is Create H.O.P.E. Designs. Create H.O.P.E. was developed with the purpose of providing for children in need by offering high-quality PDF sewing/quilting patterns for $5 each. Currently two organizations benefit from the sale of the patterns and our hope is to see the outreach and design team continue to grow. Knowing there are children in need and having the privilege of using something I love doing to help provide for that need is very rewarding!
Kristy's sewing space
I will squeeze a moment of cutting, ironing or sewing fabric wherever I can get it! I rarely finish a project in one sitting, but such is the blessed life of a large family. If I am sewing items that I have already prepped, I do enjoy listening to music while I create. Otherwise, quiet, being the rarity that it is in my home, is always welcome.
What is your dream craft project?
What I find myself daydreaming about is the opportunity to teach other women the gift and trade of sewing as a means to provide for themselves and their families, particularly in areas where they may struggle to provide otherwise. The vision of a genuine co-op with a group of women coming together to support, encourage and proudly create a means of provision using their hands. Now that makes me smile! I love reading about organizations that empower families through this type of project.
Describe your personal style in 3 words.
Practical. Simple. Comfortable.
In addition to crafting, what other talents do you have?
I'm not sure that I would consider it a talent, since I have witnessed those that are truly talented in this area, but I have learned the basics of the art of floral design. Having a family florist owned by my husband's parents, I get called in for all those late-night holidays like Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. Being surrounded by fresh flowers is something I have never grown tired of! They really do provide a sense of marvel and beauty like nothing else.
What advice would you give to aspiring professional crafters?
Do what you love. It's always obvious in a person's creation if they love what they are doing. Always be open to learning. The more I learn about the aspects of sewing and design, not only do I become better at my craft, but I truly fall in love with it even more. You also have to practice. Creativity is most certainly a gift, but like with any talent, discipline and practice are what develop those that are outstanding.
If you were only allowed to send out one tweet for the rest of this year, what would you say?