CraftSanity Episode 20: Artist Katherine Shaughnessy Has Crewel Intentions

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This week we’ll hear the story of an artist living a creative life on the outskirts of Marfa, Texas. Katherine Shaughnessy is the 36-year-old fine artist making a name for herself in the craft world and as the creator of the hip Wool & Hoop Crewel Embroidery Kits. She’s also the author of a fabulous embroidery book called: “The New Crewel, Exquisite Designs in Contemporary Embroidery ,” (Lark, 2005).

I met Katherine in 1998 when she was the artist in residence at Central Michigan University and I was wrapping up my journalism degree. That semester I squeezed a fiber art class into my schedule so I could take a class with my roommate – an art major – before we graduated. The class made a wonderful impression on me. Katherine showed us how to use crafty traditional methods like knitting, quilting and embroidery in unconventional ways.
I was so happy when I stumbled across Kathrine’s book while surfing the net recently. It was great to get a chance to chat with her again. So, tune into this week's show to hear about Katherine's life, art, crafts and the cross country adventure that led her to a little art meca in West Texas.


While Katherine is known for her efforts to bring crewel back into the crafting mainstream, here true love is fine art.
She creates intriguing sculptural pieces including those featured in her "Adventures in Bioengineering" and "Landscapes" collections.

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This week's CraftSanity project is a Katherine Shaughnessy-inspired art sampler exercise that will get you thinking about making art with just about everything you see.

Annoucements: June 10 is World Wide Knitting in Public Day, so get ready to take your needles to the streets. I’d like to see the day expand to all art and craft mediums. So if you don’t knit, make whatever you make is a place where people can admire your work.

Call for Green ideas!
Thanks to those of you who responded to last week’s request for eco-friendly crafting ideas. You’ve pointed me to some very interesting artists who create wonderful work with recycled materials. Please keep the project ideas and guest suggestions coming. And don’t be shy about sending photos of the cool projects you’ve made yourself. My hope is to be able to post some fantastic project ideas on the website when I release the green Craftsanity episodes in the coming weeks.

Taking Names: Who do you want to hear from next? Send your comments, guest and show topic suggestions to

CraftSanity Episode 19: "Whip Up" Something Wonderful With Kathreen Ricketson

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From a purple house with a bright red door in Canberra Australia, Kathreen Ricketson, a 34-year-old working mom, has created a new crafty portal that highlights the latest and greatest in the artsy, crafty world.

The site - - is fabulously addictive and wonderfully inspiring. It's all about "handcraft in a hectic world." It's an place for artists and crafters to share ideas and pass along information about the wonderful world of handcraft. On any given day there's usually a post of two to inspire the creative mind and delight the crafty senses.

The beauty of "Whip up" is that it calls upon the strengths of more than two dozen contributors who excel at a variety of creative specialties from fiber art to photography. Kathreen and her colleagues together comb the web for artists to celebrate and interesting bits of information to share with all of us who love making stuff.

There's even a motivating factor for creative types who need a little competitive motivation to get crafting. It's called Whiplash and it's a competition that requires entrants to create something over the weekend and submit a photo of it for a chance to win great prizes and kits. Participants can work in the medium of their choice. The only requirement is that folks create something inspired by a particular theme that Kathreen announces at the start of each contest.


Before she created "Whip up," Kathreen launched the popular Self Portrait Tuesday website, that has encouraged people from all over the world to document their lives and publish their photos on the web. Also, check out her Self Portrait Challenge site. Obvioulsy, Kathreen is on a roll. Tune in to this week's CraftSanity podcast find out more about her and where she gets these fantastic ideas.


Check out Kathreen's Red Current and Handy Projects blogs to read about the creative life she's living. (Her husband cooks with the mud oven above that he constructed in their yard.) And view some of her photographs here.

This week's project is a tutorial from Kathreen that shows how to make super cute pants for kids. The project is a great way to use that fabric you have stashed away while creating a one-of-kind look for a special child in your life.

ATTENTION LISTENERS: I NEED YOUR HELP! I'm planning to do a show or two about eco-friendly handcraft. So I'm collecting project ideas for creating cool stuff with recycled materials and want to hear about your favorite artists and crafters who specialize in earth-friendly crafting. Please send me your ideas and I'll be absolutely delighted to hear from you. Thanks!

Taking Names: Who do you want to hear from next? Send your comments, guest and show topic suggestions to