Friday 3 October 2014

Crafty Ladies: Meet Kirsty Neale

This week's Crafty Lady is Kirsty Neale of Ginger & George and Hello Clementine.

Kirsty is one of those crafters who seems to have boundless creativity - she comes up with so many different crafty ideas! Her first book Hoop-la! (which I reviewed last year) includes 100 things to make with embroidery hoops, and her new book Paperie contains 100 ideas for paper crafting. 


Hello! I’m Kirsty, and I live in south-east London with my partner and our cat, Albert.

I work full-time as a freelance writer and designer/maker – it’s so much easier saying that online, as people seem to have a better idea of what it involves. Out in the real world, telling people what I do for a living is nearly always followed by blank looks and vague nods!

Recently I’ve been making…

. . . quite a lot less than usual. I’m actually in an odd sort of making-limbo at the moment, which doesn’t happen to me very often.

My second craft book, Paperie was published last month, so I’ve been making some fun promotional-type projects, including a Marimekko-covered stool and some printable origami papers.

My next book is still at the proposal stage though – all planning and research and ideas – so hasn’t involved any actual making yet. I do miss it, but have spent the last two years working pretty much solidly on two books, each filled with 100 projects, so it’s actually been quite nice to have a break.


I’ve been working on…

. . . my house. The thing that’s been scratching my creative itch over the last few months is decorating. About five years ago, we were lucky to move into a very neutral, well-decorated house (the previous owners even left us the curtains and sofa!), so there was none of that rush to get rid of dodgy wallpaper or artex ceilings.

Conversely though, it made us quite lazy about injecting any of our own tastes into the place, but we’re now in the process of remedying that. So far, it’s involved lots of Scandinavian-inspired white walls, colourful fabrics, and a few pieces of mid-century furniture.

My favourite things so far are the Mini Moderns wallpaper we used in the dining room, and a couple of Ercol armchairs I picked up on eBay. Making new covers for them is going to be my autumn-evening project, although I have a feeling choosing fabric will be way harder than the actual stitching (oh, decisions!).

I’ve been blogging about…

. . . twice a month! When I do blog, it’s almost exclusively about the things I’ve been making, so not making as much as usual equals not blogging as much as usual. Apart from some brief randomness about a fox made from vintage neckties, it’s mostly been posts of the hey-I-wrote-a-book variety over the last couple of months.

As well as sharing some project photos, I also wrote a little bit about the ethos behind Paperie, and shared an excerpt on making paper flowers. It’s a tricky balancing act between wanting to share, without giving away too much of the book’s content, but I’m hoping to post a few more ‘inspired by…’ ideas over the next few weeks as a good compromise.


I’ve been reading…

. . . Screen Printing At Home by Karen Lewis, who is awesome. The book is the perfect combination of inspiration and practical advice . . . sadly, it hasn’t yet fixed the problem of so-many-ideas-I-don’t-know-which-one-to-try-first, but that might just be me.

As far as blog reading goes, I’ve been especially enjoying Austin Kleon and Lisa Congdon over the last couple of months, and I always enjoy catching up with the posts and interviews at Smart Creative Women, too.

While I work, I’ve been listening to…

. . . audiobooks and Radio 4. Although I sometimes crank up the Netflix on a Saturday or Sunday, TV is generally too distracting while I’m working, so I stick to listening instead. If I’m writing, I need silence, but at all other times, iTunes or iPlayer is blethering away in the background.

I love Radio 4 (their comedy especially), and usually have a couple of audiobooks on the go as well. I’m currently about halfway through Bluestockings: The Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education by Jane Robinson and have just finished Solar by Ian McEwan, which was terrific. I also have a handful of old favourites that I come back to again and again, including a good chunk of PG Wodehouse and some Agatha Christie.

Kirsty’s 3 Top Tips for creating with paper

1. One of the best things about paper, especially if you’re just starting out or curious to try working with it, is the fact it’s so inexpensive you can easily afford to experiment and make mistakes. If you’re working on a new idea or technique, try it out using scraps and leftovers before cutting into the paper you want to use for the finished project. I can’t tell you how many of my published projects started out as a prototype made from missprinted copier paper or last week’s Radio Times!

2. Obviously, paper is a two-dimensional material, but don’t just think of it in terms of flat, decorative projects. Use its flexible nature and often-surprising strength to have a go engineering practical, 3-d pieces, too.

3. If you’re a stitcher, keep your sewing and paper scissors separate, or at least very clearly marked. Few things blunt fabric scissors faster than using them to cut through paper, and it’s so easy to grab the wrong pair by accident. I keep mine hidden away, so no-one else can use them for paper (or – gasp! – hair cutting) either.


Visit Kirsty's blog, or check out the cute kits and tutorials in her shop. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram

Click here to read more posts in the Crafty Ladies series.

Please note: the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.


Anonymous said...

Trouble is paper (the nice kind) can be pretty expensive and hard to find. Also you need new equipment just to get started, which is the same with anything. These things are not often just hanging around. I have some lovely papercraft books but not done anything with them or the medium as it is too difficult to get started. Every craft comes with a need for a whole new set of tools, and if you don't know if you will like it and money is an issue, then that can make you hesitant.

Bugs and Fishes said...

Actually I've found paper crafting to be one of the easiest crafts to get started with - I love making things with things like the insides of envelopes, bits of used giftwrap, old book pages and cheap but pretty things like old maps and packs of sugar paper. You can make some lovely stuff without having to invest in lots of fancy papers - although the fancy stuff is nice too! :)