1. Tell me a bit about your background and how long you have been an artist/crafter.
My background is in studio art, anthropology and museums. I am intrigued by handmade objects. The connections they make, the history they possess. They tell stories. As an artist, I enjoy being able to create meaningful objects.
I have always been involved in some sort of studio art, drawing, painting, photography. A couple of years ago I decided to try sewing so I bought a great 1970s sewing machine from Casper, a sweet, elderly sewing machine repairman. I learned to use it and haven't stopped since.
2. Where do you find your inspiration?
I work at a university textile collection, so I really am never short on inspiration. I am so lucky to be able to see such amazing pieces on a regular basis. I also love the bookstore; books and magazines with beautiful photography are very inspiring. My favorite magazine at the moment is Selvedge. The size, the photos, the paper, everything about it is great.
3. Do you sell your work, or is it purely for pleasure?
I do sell my work. Pravina bags can be purchased online at http://www.pravinastudio.etsy.com/
4. If someone was looking to take up this craft should they have any related experience before they start?
Well since I didn't, I'd have to say no they wouldn't. Just an interest and a willingness to learn.
5. What would be your top 5 tips for a beginner?
Learn the basics
Don't rush to finish a project, it never ends well.
Learn to love ripping out seams and starting over. There's no avoiding it.
Don't be afraid to try anything. What's the worst that could happen?
Pay attention to good craftsmanship and small details
6. What would be your top 5 items of essential equipment?
- A good quality sewing machine. It doesn't need to have a lot of fancy options. Just a good strong workhorse of a machine.
- A rotary cutter.
- A good ruler. I prefer the metal ones. I tend to cut through plastic.
- A self-healing cutting mat in the biggest size you have space for.
- The biggest work table you have space for.
7. Can you recommend a technique or 'tips' book ideal for a beginner?
My favorite general sewing book is actually a pretty old one, it is the Reader's Digest "Complete Guide to Sewing". It is very thorough and easy to follow. A couple of my other favorite books are: Lotta Jandotter's "Simple Sewing" and Celine Dupuy's "Simple Sewing with a French Twist." Both have great projects for varying skill levels and beautiful photography. They always make me want to start a new project.
8. Can you recommend any brands to look out for, when buying equipment or kit?
My sewing machine is a Pfaff brand and I absolutely love it. I wouldn't look out for a specific brand as much as good quality. A lot of the inexpensive new machines can be disappointing, performance wise. Don't be afraid of buying an older machine as newer doesn't necessarily mean better. My first machine was about 35 years old and it did a great job. Look for durability, quality and sturdiness.
Keep going back and trying machines until you find the one you're happy with.
Thank you Diana for some great tips there... I recommend everyone takes a visit to this shop to check out some of the bags for sale!