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I've created a line of wooden peg looms to make potholders and projects of other sizes. Read the story behind the looms and check out my etsy shop.

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CraftSanity Podcast Episode 147: An audio tour of Dinderbeck, Grand Rapids’ first community printshop

From left, Anthony Mead, Steven Rainey and Kyle Isbell co-owners of Dinderbeck, a Grand Rapids community printshop, pose by the Chandler & Price press they use to complete custom print jobs. Open studio sessions are held from 6-10 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and on weekends by appointment at 323 Straight St. SW in Grand Rapids. Visit  for upcoming workshop information.

From left, Anthony Mead, Steven Rainey and Kyle Isbell co-owners of Dinderbeck, a Grand Rapids community printshop, pose by the Chandler & Price press they use to complete custom print jobs. Open studio sessions are held from 6-10 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and on weekends by appointment at 323 Straight St. SW in Grand Rapids. Visit dinderbeck.com for upcoming workshop information.

It just got a whole lot easier to be a printmaker in West Michigan thanks to three Grand Rapids artists.

Anthony Mead, 27, Kyle Isbell, 26, and Steven Rainey, 30, have realized their long-term goal to transform the Dinderbeck collective space into a community printshop at 323 Straight St. SW in Grand Rapids – a project that has been four years in the making.

IMG_2184While public print studios have existed in bigger cities, West Michigan didn’t offer many viable options to those looking to print on a budget. So, Mead, Isbell and Rainey decided to do something about that.

Dinderbeck was originally founded in 2010 by a group of Kendall College of Art & Design students who wanted to share presses and studio space. The founding group swelled from a handful of members to a collective of more than a dozen. Mead and Isbell were part of the founding group and Rainey joined a short time later.

“We just needed a space that we could all work out of,” Mead said, explaining the practical goal that started it all. “We were hoping that maybe one day, if we pooled our resources together, we’d be able to get a press and we’d all be able to share it.”

They worked as a team to rescue old presses as their plan to acquire equipment started to take shape. From day one, there was talk of creating a public printshop.

“We really wanted to engage with the community,” Mead said.

Read the rest of my column about Dinderbeck on MLive.com or in the Home section of today’s edition of The Grand Rapids Press. Listen to episode 147 of the podcast to find out how this trio of artists realized their goal to open a public printshop and check out the Dinderbeck site to find out more about classes, workshops and other creative opportunities.

P.S. You can read about my previous collaboration with Rainey here. It was a very authentic-looking gunslinger apron.

IMG_3151Enter to Win: I got my hands on a few copies of the premiere issue of DIY Holiday, a new Interweave publication. And I have to say it’s almost as good as CraftSanity Magazine. I’m kidding! It’s doesn’t even compare. Okay, I better stop with the jokes before I alienate you all. I’ve been trapped inside my house working all weekend and I’m feeling a bit punchy. Please forgive me. Ahem.

Like CraftSanity, this magazine is a multi-craft publication offering a wide selection of projects including jewelry making, knitting, crocheting, sewing, embroidery and even mixed-media resin bangles. The lovely magazine contains more than 25 holiday projects, so you get a lot for the $9.99 cover price. Post a comment below by midnight Nov. 23 and you’ll be entered to win a copy to inspire your handmade holiday efforts. (Those of you who have signed up to sponsor the podcast through Patreon are automatically entered in a separate drawing for show sponsors.)

acshomeandwork-300x124Gratitude: A special thanks to my Patreon sponsors and my ACS Home and Work, for sponsoring this podcast. I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels for printmaking and embroidery purposes. I’m very happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and now ACS is stepping in to sponsor the CraftSanity Podcast through the end of the year. (Thank you!!)

IMG_2498Local West Michigan listeners can shop ACS products at the Red Door, 6837 Lake Michigan Dr, in Allendale Charter Township. It’s the ACS outlet and also a pickup location for locals who want to order flour sack tea towels and other goods and skip the shipping costs. Visit Red door for a variety of tea towels and other home goods.

Tell Me Your Handmade Story! I’m always looking for show ideas and interesting people to interview. Email me your podcast and magazine story ideas and make my day. I love hearing from creative people around the globe.

Subscribe to podcast via iTunes, use this RSS feed or just search for CraftSanity in many of the popular podcast apps.

CraftSanity Episode 146: A Chat with Meredith Crawford, author of ‘Crochet With One Sheepish Girl’

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Last month I recorded a lovely chat with Meredith Crawford, a stylish craft blogger who documents her creative life at onesheepishgirl.com. Tune in to find out how she landed a book deal during her job search and kept the faith that things would work out when her post-college job hunt felt like it might last forever.

Photo by Sara Gillespie

Meredith Crawford blogs at OneSheepishGirl.com. | Photo by Sara Gillespie

CrochetwithOneSheepishGirlMeredith’s new book, “Crochet with One Sheepish Girl” is super cute. From heart pocket aprons and purses shaped like cameras to ombre baskets and starched gift boxes, this book contains a refreshing collection of fun crochet projects that make me want to drop everything and stitch right now.

There are a lot of crochet books on the market, but I like this one because it appeals to me and my 9 and 10-year-old daughters. Something tells me that we might be spotted around town sporting vibrant granny square infinity cowls this winter. Thanks for the inspiration, Meredith!

acshomeandwork-300x124Gratitude: A special thanks to my Patreon sponsors and my new sponsor, ACS Home and Work, for supporting this podcast. I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels for printmaking and embroidery purposes. I’m very happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and now ACS is stepping in to sponsor the CraftSanity Podcast through the end of the year. (Thank you!!)

IMG_2498Local West Michigan listeners can shop ACS products at the Red Door, 6837 Lake Michigan Dr, in Allendale Charter Township. It’s the ACS outlet and also a pickup location for locals who want to order flour sack tea towels and other goods and skip the shipping costs. Visit Red door for a variety of tea towels and other home goods.

CraftSanity Shop Update: Day of the Dead Skull Prints to Embroider

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As I mentioned in my most recent newspaper column, I took the year off from making handmade Halloween costumes this year, but I didn’t stop crafting.

I stayed up late, but not too late, Thursday night embroidering a Day of the Dead skull print. I drew the design, then carved it into linoleum and printed it on cotton flower sack tea towel fabric from my podcast sponsor ACS Home and Work using my etching press.

The skull patch fits inside a 6 1/2 x 8″ rectangle and can be stitched and then displayed as framed art or sewn onto a tote bag or tea towel. I embroidered my patch and then hand-stitched it to a full tea towel. I just listed the patches in my Etsy shop for crafty folks to stitch at home. You can can check them out here.

Dear Craft World, I’m taking this Halloween off

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Yes, you heard that right. I’m not going to forgo precious sleep to stay up all night making handmade costumes and party favors this Oct. 30. Now that I have a decade of parenting experience under my belt I’m dialing things back this year on the deadline Halloween crafting front. I even bought my kids costumes at Target this year. You can read my newspaper column about it in today’s edition of The Grand Rapids Press or online at MLive.com.

While I don’t want to stay up all night making costumes the night before the party this year, I can’t let Halloween pass without making something. That would seem a little too weird for this extreme crafter.

So instead of freaking out under the handmade holiday deadline pressure, I’m going to make a delicious treat with my kids and give it a spooky Halloween theme. She the recipe below.

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Oreo Freak
Ingredients:
1 family-sized package of Oreos
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
12 oz. tub of Cool Whip
1 stick of butter (melted)
1 bottle chocolate syrup
Optional: Orange and black sprinkles, tombstones or other Halloween themed cake decorations.

1. Smash up the whole package of Oreos and mix in melted butter.
2. Line the bottom of a 10”x13” glass pan with the crushed Oreo mixture.
3. Next, layer half-inch slices of vanilla ice cream.
4. Add a layer of chocolate syrup.
5. Spread a layer of Cool Whip across the top.
6. Add sprinkles and decorations, or simply top with a little more chocolate syrup.
7. Pop it in the freezer and chill until your ready to serve.

Have a great Halloween, folks. I hope you decide to take it easy this year, too. :  )

You can check out some of my past Halloween tutorials below:

* How to make a Minecraft Creeper T-shirt

Halloween Countdown Calendar 

* Treat bags, noisemakers and milk jug skeletons

* Woven Halloween banner

* Paper clay ornaments

* Last-minute Halloween crafts

Video, instructions: How to make a Minecraft Creeper T-shirt

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As the mother of a 10-year-old Minecraft addict, pixelated cubes are now a part of my life. When I chaperone school field trips, I hear a lot of rapid chatter about Creepers and red stone and the Ender Dragon.

I’ve tried to play Minecraft and realized that you have to invest a bit of time to get good at it. I don’t have time to play video games in this phase of my life, so I’ve resigned myself to being pretty terrible at Minecraft and living vicariously through my daughter Abby’s video game adventures.

Last April I made Abby a creeper t-shirt and she liked it even though it wasn’t completely accurate. (The video tutorial shows how to make the more accurate design.) Abby accepted the shirt with excitement and told me how to tweak the design to make it more realistic before I made four more before a summer birthday party for her cousins.

This is an easy project to do and could be paired with a pair of sweatpants to create a fun Halloween costume that could be worn all year round while playing Minecraft. These also make great gifts to for young Minecraft enthusiasts.

I shot this video tutorial while wearing my GoPro camera strapped to my head and now realize that I move my around A LOT when I craft. My apologies for any motion sickness that may result from this video. I plan to revise my setup for my next video tutorial. : )

Minecraft Creeper Shirt Instructions

Supplies:

* Bright green t-shirt,

* Scrap black jersey knit fabric for face (I recycled an old black t-shirt.)

* double-sized, lightweight fusible interfacing (This is easier than the pinning method I used.)

* Sewing machine with black thread and needle suitable for sewing knits

1) Out of the black jersey knit, cut two 3″ squares for the eyes, a 3.5″ square for the nose. Than cut another 3.5″ square in half and place those rectangles on each side of the nose block starting about half way down the block.

2) If you’re using interfacing, iron it on to the back of each black piece of fabric. and then iron in place on the t-shirt. If you’re not using interfacing, pin each black piece of fabric in place.

3) Sew each piece black piece in place, circling around twice close to the edge to make sure each piece is secure.

4) Cut thread tails and remove all pins and your Creeper shirt is ready to sport around town.

CraftSanity Podcast Episode 145: Sally England talks about her career as a macrame artist

Grand Rapids fiber artist Sally England stands by a nearly finished macrame piece she created for a client. England’s large scale macrame work has helped contribute to the resurgence of interest in the knotting techniques that allow for the creation of textiles that can be used in both decorative and practical applications. (Photo by Jennifer-Ackerman-Haywood)

For the last couple weeks I’ve been walking around with cotton twine in my pocket and Sally England is partly to blame. 

I recently attended England’s macrame workshop at Have Company, 136 S. Division Ave., during which she taught a small group of women in their 20s and 30s how to create mini wall-hanging samplers by tying a series of basic knots.

More than three decades after macrame permeated the American craft landscape, it’s once again growing in popularity and England has had a hand in that, too. However, becoming a nationally recognized macrame artist is probably most surprising to England herself. 

Most artists hope to be successful at doing what they do, but I never expected this to happen,” said England as she tied a row of knots on a 7-foot wide piece destined for a New York storefront. “All I could ask for was just to have a job that I could be creative and use my skills, but I didn’t think I would be working on my own and creating my own work. It’s just been a blessing that I’m super grateful for.”

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Macrame Forever: Sally England works on a commissioned piece for a New York client. She recently got a macrame tattoo on her right forearm, underscoring her love of the craft.


Read the rest of my column on MLive.com and listen to Sally tell her story her story on the podcast below. Then check out her Instagram feed and give macrame a try yourself. It’s fun!!

acshomeandwork-300x124Gratitude: A special thanks to my Patreon sponsors and my new sponsor, ACS Home and Work, for supporting this podcast. I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels for printmaking and embroidery purposes. I’m very happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and now ACS is stepping in to sponsor the CraftSanity Podcast through the end of the year. (Thank you!!)

IMG_2498Local West Michigan listeners can shop ACS products at the Red Door, 6837 Lake Michigan Dr, in Allendale Charter Township. It’s the ACS outlet and also a pickup location for locals who want to order flour sack tea towels and other goods and skip the shipping costs. Visit Red door for a variety of tea towels and other home goods.

CraftSanity Podcast 144: A conversation with artist Kelly Allen

IMG_1071459If you crave more art and craft supplies or have a few extras (ahem) stashed in your basement, you need to meet Kelly Allen.

Kelly Allen's collage paintings are available for purchase through LaFontsee Galleries, 833 Lake Dr. SE in Grand Rapids.

Kelly Allen’s collage paintings are available for purchase through LaFontsee Galleries, 833 Lake Dr. SE in Grand Rapids.

A fine art painter with a soft spot for crafting, Kelly, 35, just opened the Wisemaker Creative Reuse Store and Studio at The Geek Group, the maker space at 902 Leonard St. NW in Grand Rapids. Part craft supply thrift shop, part drop-in studio, Wisemaker is a place where local creatives can go to take workshops, use the studio space and buy unique reclaimed supplies donated by local businesses and individuals.

“We are basically like an arts and crafts thrift store,” Kelly said about the shop that opened Sept. 23. “Bring us your old arts and craft supplies that you don’t want anymore because we want to make them available for people who do want to use them at a very low price… We want to make creativity accessible for everyone and promote reuse.”

Kelly is collecting paper, magazines, wallpaper samples, scrapbooking supplies, fabric, sewing notions, yarn, embroidery hoops and floss, knitting needles, crochet hooks, rotary cutters, jewelry supplies and just about all other clean and usable art and craft supplies. Those interested in making a donation are asked to email kelly@thegeekgroup.org before dropping items off to make sure the donation is appropriate for Wisemaker. The bonus is that all donations are tax deductible.

In addition to running Wisemaker, Kelly is the director of the new arts and crafts department at The Geek Group, expanding the science and technology offerings inside the former YMCA building to include a welcoming space for artists and crafters.

“We want to make creativity accessible,” Kelly said.

Read more about Kelly, Wisemaker and Geek Group in my complete column posted here.

Wisemaker workshops are $20 per person, with guests encouraged to bring a friend for $10. Studio time to use the Wisemaker serger, embroidery and sewing machines and other tools is $5 per hour or $10 for the day. Supply fees may apply depending on the project.

IMG_1041IF YOU GO

Wisemaker Creative Reuse Store and Studio of The Geek Group

Where: 902 Leonard St. NW in Grand Rapids
When: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tues. – Fri., 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sat.
Featuring: Reclaimed art and craft supplies and drop-off site for unwanted, usable art and craft supplies.
More info.: Kelly@thegeekgroup.org or call 466-4335. Check out her fine art website here. Her paintings are available locally at LaFontsee Galleries, 833 Lake Dr. SE in Grand Rapids.

Listen to Kelly tell her story on CraftSanity episode 144 below.

acshomeandwork-300x124Gratitude: A special thanks to my Patreon sponsors and my new sponsor, ACS Home and Work, for supporting this podcast. I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels for printmaking and embroidery purposes. I’m very happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and now ACS is stepping in to sponsor the CraftSanity Podcast through the end of the year. (Thank you!!)

IMG_2498Local West Michigan listeners can shop ACS products at the Red Door, 6837 Lake Michigan Dr, in Allendale Charter Township. It’s the ACS outlet and also a pickup location for locals who want to order flour sack tea towels and other goods and skip the shipping costs. Visit Red door for a variety of tea towels and other home goods.

CraftSanity Podcast Episode 143: A conversation with ArtPrize Artist and documentary photographer Ryan Spencer Reed

Ludington-based photojournalist Ryan Spencer Reed documented the lives of the 1-506th Infantry Regiment as the soldiers trained for battle and deployed for active duty in Afghanistan. An installation of 61 of his photos comprise his “Despite Similarities to Reality, This is a Work of Fiction” ArtPrize entry at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

By Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood

Standing before a massive wall-size photograph of the 1-506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division inside a C-17 bound for Afghanistan, I grew worried.

The beautifully composed photo was taken by Ludington-based documentary photographer Ryan Spencer Reed on May 5, 2013, and even though I was viewing it more than a year after the fact I still felt compelled to tell the soldiers not to go. When I later learned that five men were killed in action during the deployment, I went back to look at the photo again and wondered if the fallen were pictured among the quiet soldiers, some sleeping, many hiding their eyes behind dark shades.

This photo that made me wish I had the power to stop a war is just one of 61 photos in Reed’s powerful ArtPrize installation titled, “Despite Similarities to Reality, This is a Work of Fiction,” one of five installation pieces eligible for the $20,000 Installation Public Vote award and one of 20 pieces in the running for the $200,000 public vote grand prize.

While the title raises questions about the content of the photos, they are all depicting real events. 

IMG_0578“There’s a lot that people aren’t seeing,” said Reed, 35, a 2002 Calvin College grad who spent nearly a year building a rapport with the members of the storied regiment known as the “Band of Brothers” before deploying to Afghanistan with them. “…Ultimately the title referring to the fact that this may be a work of fiction is in part a disclaimer of my own work in a sense that it’s heavily edited by the time it’s offered up to the public for consumption.”

Reed’s quest to understand the life of a soldier and his family’s own tradition of military service led him to immerse himself in this documentary project and pursue a true understanding of war – something average citizens can’t get from mainstream media.

“It doesn’t have to be some insidious lying on behalf of our military or lying on the behalf of the media or bending the truth or anything like that,” he said. “When you only have 1 percent of (Americans) prosecuting your wars for you, you will have fewer and fewer people understanding the true cost of war.”

Read the rest of my column at MLive.com and tune into this podcast to hear Ryan tell this story in his own words below.

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The public can purchase Reed’s four-zine collection containing 60 of the photos from his ArtPrize installation for $20. Or, if your unable to get to the exhibit in person, order the collection via his website.

Subscribe to podcast via iTunes, use this RSS feed or just search for CraftSanity in many of the popular podcast apps.

CraftSanity Podcast Episode 142: A conversation with ArtPrize 2014 Artist Anila Quayyum Agha

IMG_0515By Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood

A little girl jumps high delighted by her wild-haired shadow.

Nearby a young couple engages in a public display of affection casting a romantic silhouette upon the wall.

Families inch forward and back to get just the right combination of pattern and silhouette before snapping several photos.

Artist Anila Quayyum Agha, of Indianapolis, discusses her “Intersections” installation with ArtPrize attendees at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

No one seems to mind any of this as the experience of stepping into the room where Anila Quayyum Agha’s “Intersections” ArtPrize entry – a laser-cut, 6.5-foot cube that casts opulent 32- by 34-foot shadows onto the walls, floor and ceiling of the exhibition space at the Grand Rapids Art Museum – seems to be evoking joy for most viewers.

By the end of the first week of ArtPrize 2014 all 10,000 of Agha’s postcards would be gone and more would need to be printed after thousands complete a lap around her sculpture that floods the room with doily-like patterns.

“That is the most gratifying thing to see,” Agha said. “People are dancing and they’re taking pictures against the shadows.”

Agha, 49, an associate professor of drawing at Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University, spent 15 months creating her sculptural piece out of laser cut wood, a light bulb and black paint. The single light source is enough to wow the masses from where it hangs in the middle of a room, flooding the space with shadow patterns inspired by photos of tiles and other ornate designs she photographed while visiting Alhambra, a palace in Granada, Spain.

Tune in to episode 142 of the podcast to hear Agha tell the story behind her ArtPrize entry that is in contention for a top prize. And read the rest of my MLive.com column about her here.

IMG_0537Up Next: Check back here later in the week for an interview with ArtPrize artist and Ludington, Michigan-based photojournalist Ryan Spencer Reed who has created a moving installation of war photography now on display at The Grand Rapids Art Museum. He will be featured in my next newspaper column as well.

Gratitude: A special thanks to my Patreon sponsors and my new sponsor, ACS Home and Work, for supporting this podcast. I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels for printmaking and embroidery purposes. I’m very happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and now ACS is stepping in to sponsor the CraftSanity Podcast through the end of the year. (Thank you!!)

Local West Michigan listeners can shop ACS products at the Red Door, 6837 Lake Michigan Dr, in Allendale Charter Township. It’s the ACS outlet and also a pickup location for locals who want to order flour sack tea towels and other goods and skip the shipping costs. Visit Red door for a variety of tea towels and other home goods.

CraftSanity Podcast Episode 141: A library love story leads Marianne Gardner and Sean Maginity to handmade business venture

IMG_4939Sometimes handmade business partnerships start in the most unlikely ways.

Sean Maginity was working in the maintenance department at the Grand Rapids Public Library when he fell for Marianne Gardner, a woman at the reference desk.

She had no idea and Maginity kept his feelings to himself until it looked like his window of opportunity was about to close.

“She was talking about how she wanted to move to Los Angeles,” Sean said. “We weren’t a couple at the time, but she was going to be moving, so I was like: ‘I gotta let her know.’”

IMG_4983And so one day after work, Maginity made his move. He hung around after his shift and Marianne kindly offered him a ride home.

“When we got there I was like, ‘I have unresolved feelings for you’ and she was like, ‘I don’t know how to work with that,’” said Sean, 29, recalling the awkwardly endearing way he told Gardner he was smitten.

“It was a surprise,” said Marianne, 35, who went ahead with her moving plans, but not to get away from Sean.

Read the rest of the story and tune into the podcast to  find out what happened after Sean followed Marianne to L.A. and how their love story eventually lead them to be business partners at BirdandFeather.com, their fast-growing terrarium business that has captured national media attention and captivated plant lovers coast to coast.

IMG_2498Gratitude: A special thanks to my Patreon sponsors and my new sponsor, ACS Home and Work, for supporting this podcast. I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels for printmaking and embroidery purposes. I’m very happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and now ACS is stepping in to sponsor the CraftSanity Podcast through the end of the year. (Thank you!!) 

The good news for local West Michigan listeners is that you can shop ACS products at the Red Door, 6837 Lake Michigan Dr, in Allendale Charter Township. It’s the ACS outlet and also a pickup location for locals who want to order flour sack tea towels and other goods and skip the shipping costs. Visit Red door for a variety of tea towels and other home goods.

CraftSanity Podcast Episode 140: Blogger Rubyellen Bratcher talks about her new book ‘Let’s Sew Together’

taken by reese tibayan

Rubyellen Bratcher started blogging to document her life. She’s pictured her husband, Ben, and their four daughters, (from the left) Glow, Brave, Soul and True. Photo by Reese Tibayan.

When California blogger Rubyellen Bratcher started blogging at MyCakies.com to document her life and the handmade projects she was doing with her kids, she never imagined the doors it would open in her life. Tune in to hear the story of how this former elementary teacher and mother of four girls became a top mom blogger with her work featured on several national websites and a book deal to boot. We talk about crafting with kids, homeschooling and how her new book, “Let’s Sew Together: Simple Projects the Whole Family Can Make,” (176 pages, $19.99.)

1book

“Let’s Sew Together” features 30 projects to sew and make with kids. The projects range from a no-sew bunting and glove puppets to a travel the world map quilt, dollhouse pillows, fabric chalkboard and super-happy slippers embellished with kid art.

lets-sew-togetherEnter to win! Leave a comment below about what kind of projects you like to make with the kids in your life and enter the random drawing for a copy of “Let’s Sew Together.” The deadline to enter is Friday Oct. 3. has been extended to Oct. 20 at midnight Eastern time. Thanks to Potter Craft for donating a copy of the book.

IMG_2498Gratitude: A special thanks to my Patreon sponsors and my new sponsor, ACS Home and Work, for supporting this podcast. I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels for printmaking and embroidery purposes. I’m very happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and now ACS is stepping in to sponsor the CraftSanity Podcast through the end of the year. (Thank you!!) 

The good news for local West Michigan listeners is that you can shop ACS products at the Red Door, 6837 Lake Michigan Dr, in Allendale Charter Township. It’s the ACS outlet and also a pickup location for locals who want to order flour sack tea towels and other goods and skip the shipping costs. Visit Red door for a variety of tea towels and other home goods. (I just bought a nice big fancy hotel robe there. : ) 

CraftSanity Podcast 139: Jennifer talks block printing with Colouricious creator and UK artist Jamie Malden

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This was one of the best discoveries of my recent trip to the AQS Quilt Show in Grand Rapids, Michigan – imported block printing stamps from India.

IMG_5439While printing with pre-carved stamps seems a bit like cheating for this printmaker, I absolutely LOVE being able to jump into a project right away without having to carve my own block.

I met Jamie Malden at the quilt show and fell hook, line and sinker for block printing and the lovely blocks she sells on her Colouricious website. My daughters and I shopped for our favorite blocks to start our collection and had a great time trying them out at home.

Tune in to the podcast to learn more about how you can create beautiful handprinted fabrics of your own and then start making plans to travel to India to see how these beautiful blocks are carved. : )


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Gratitude: A special thanks to my Patreon sponsors and my new sponsor, ACS Home and Work, for supporting this podcast. I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels for printmaking and embroidery purposes. I’m very happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and now ACS is stepping in to sponsor the CraftSanity Podcast through the end of the year. (Thank you!!)

In the coming weeks, I’ll be telling you more about this fun company and sharing some videos demonstrating some of the things I’m making with their products. In the meantime, go check out their website and thank them for supporting the CraftSanity Podcast.

Want to suggest an artist or crafter for an upcoming podcast? Just email me, I’d love to hear from you.

Recommended reading for knitters, spinners, vintage fashion lovers, sewists, stitchers and other exuberant crafters

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As the temperatures start to dip here in the Midwest, it’s a fine time to grab a new stack of craft books and plot out some projects to work this fall and winter. This past weekend I featured the seven titles above in my weekly craft column for The Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com. Here are some of the titles in my fall line-up.

“The Spinners Book of Fleece,” (256 pages, $29.95) by Beth Smith

“Knitting Reimagined: An Innovative Approach to Structure and Shape with 25 Breathtaking Projects” (176 pages, $29.99) by Nicky Epstein

“Gertie Sews Vintage Casual: A Modern Guide to Sportswear Styles of the 1940s and 1950s” (224 pages, $35) by Gretchen Hirsch

“The Magic Pattern Book: Sew 6 Patterns Into 36 Different Styles!” (310 pages, $22.95) by Amy Barickman, founder of Indygo Junction

“Felt-o-ween: 40 Scary-cute Projects to Celebrate Halloween,” (132 pages, $14.95) by Kathy Sheldon and Amanda Carestio

“Drink the Harvest: Making Juices, Wines, Meads, Teas, and Ciders” (232 pages, $18.95) by Nan K. Chase and DeNeice C. Guest

* “Let’s Sew Together: Simple Projects the Whole Family Can Make” (176 pages, $19.99) by Rubyellen Bratcher

Read my review of these books here.

Send your book suggestions for future review to me.

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CraftSanity Podcast Episode 138: The story of how a non-quilter oversaw the creation of the 120-foot ‘Quilt of Belonging’

Esther Bryan is the artist who collaborated with hundreds of people to create the 120 foot "Quilt of Belonging." CraftSanity Magazine Episode 138 was recorded last month at the AQS quilt show in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Esther Bryan is the artist who collaborated with hundreds of people to create the 120 foot “Quilt of Belonging.” CraftSanity Episode 138 was recorded last month at the AQS quilt show in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

By Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood

It was the largest quilt on display at last month’s American Quilter’s Society show and probably the most important.

Measuring 120 feet long by 10 1/2 feet high, the “Quilt of Belonging” is an impressive quilt comprised of 263 blocks containing handwork created by 70 Aboriginal groups and 193 immigrant nationalities represented in Canada as of Jan. 1, 2000.

It was awe inspiring to stand before this quilt displayed along a convention center wall in Grand Rapids, Michigan and imagine the hundreds of groups and individuals who had a hand in creating such a bold symbol of cultural pride, international collaboration and peace.

I was one of the thousands who walked past this quilt the first day of the show and I returned hours before it was taken down to record the story behind it.

The quilt was created under the direction of Esther Bryan, an artist and pianist born in France as the daughter of missionaries. In 1963, her parents moved the family to Canada. Bryan, who eventually settled with her husband and three children in Williamstown, Ontario, grew up knowing little about her family heritage until her father – a Slovak refugee, asked her to “take me home” in 1994.

If it weren’t for that trip, the “Quilt of Belonging” may never have been created. Tune in to hear Esther tell the story of how learning about her family history inspired her to collaborate with people from every nation in the world to make a vibrant and inspirational piece of art.

You can read the rest of the newspaper column I wrote about Esther here. Visit quiltofbelonging.ca for more information about the quilt, books, educational materials and the documentary.

Sponsor Appreciation!

acshomeandwork-300x124A special thanks to my Patreon sponsors and my new sponsor, ACS Home and Work, for supporting this podcast. I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels for printmaking and embroidery purposes. I’m very happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and now ACS is stepping in to sponsor the CraftSanity Podcast through the end of the year. (Thank you!!) In the coming weeks, I’ll be telling you more about this fun company and sharing some videos demonstrating some of the things I’m making with their products. In the meantime, go check out their website and thank them for supporting the CraftSanity Podcast.

Enjoy!

 I hope you enjoy this episode of the podcast. Have a listen and leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

CraftSanity Podcast Episode 137 (part 2): The continuation of my interview Eric Hoffman, owner and creator of Spofford Press

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Alright folks, the waiting is over and it’s time to release the second part of my interview with Eric Hoffman, owner of Spofford Press in Warwick, Rhode Island.

IMG_2954If you missed the first part of this interview, you’re invited to go check it out and then bop back over here for part 2. Eric is a fun storyteller and an awesome printmaker and letterpress artist. I met him on Instagram while attempting to soak up all I can about printmaking.

Get inspired by his story and then check out his designs. Eric is a serious artist with a fun sense of humor. He’s willing to spend hours carving the likeness of the jazz greats he frequently jams to in his studio and has no shame about embossing eyebrow-raising phrases onto notecards for the masses.

Enjoy the podcast and leave your comments below.

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