Craft Hope: Handmade Crafts for a Cause
“It started with a pillowcase dress…and grew into a worldwide movement: crafters using their passion to help those in need. The Craft Hope blog-which organizes crafters to make handmade items for charities-has attracted followers around the world. This book, written by the site’s founder and featuring crafting’s hottest start, celebrates the cause and encourages others to join in.
Each project is matched with a specific charity, with alternative suggestions for local places to contribute the item. The projects-all with beautiful photographs, step-by-step instructions, and templates-include: cheerful quilts for hospitalized children, soft dolls for Nicaraguan orphans, tug toys for animal shelters, knit gloves for homeless shelters, a cloth backpack for schoolchildren in Africa, a stylish purse for women moving out of abusive relationships, and knit scarves for fostercare teens heading off to college. Contributors range from fabric designers Amy Butler and Heather Bailey to popular authors and bloggers such as Amanda Soule (www.soulemama.com, Handmade Home), Karri Meng (French General), Amy Ray (Doodle Stitching), Celine Dupuy (Simple Sewing with a French Twist), Vickie Howell (Craft Corps), Cathie Filian (Creative Juice), Susan Wasinger (Eco Crafts), and Betsy Greer (Knitting for Good).
In addition, there are plenty of helpful tips on how to give locally and globally, how to give thoughtfully and appropriately, and how to empower those you are helping.” → more info
When I came upon Maria’s booth at the Fenton Street Market, I nearly had chest pains. Her lovely little space was brimming with so much prettiness, I didn’t know where to look first! As a sewer, I am always drawn to lovely things made with fabric, and Maria’s creations were the prettiest fabric things I’d seen in a long time.
Maria makes a variety of jewelry and fashion accessories for her shop, called Little Blue Studio. She uses fabric, crystals, semi precious stones, wire, and even sea shells. Every item is a little bit different from the last, because she’s always looking for something new to make, and new ways to interpret old favorites.
In addition to her gorgeous flowers that become hair accessories, brooches, and necklaces, I was particularly impressed by her mermaid lures, jewelry pieces that are created from found sea shell fragments and pearls.
Not only did I find the concept of a mermaid lure undeniably seductive (like living in a fantasy novel!), I completely fell in love with her modern and unusual presentation of pearls. It’s so easy to dismiss pearls as old fashioned, but that would be impossible with Maria’s creations.
The imperfections in the found shell fragments are what inspire Maria to turn them into something gorgeous…to force viewers to see the beauty in something that was discarded and overlooked.
Maria comes from a family of makers. Sewing, cooking, gardening, carpentry, and many other creative pursuits made up her home life. Although she started her creative career as a painter, making jewelry became more practical as her family grew, and she needed to be more flexible with time. She was drawn to using fabric, because of her mother’s skill as a sewer, but is looking forward to incorporating more metalsmithing into her creations.
Maria’s favorite thing to make is always the item she’s working on at the moment! “When you make something, it carries an intangible to your customer,” she says. “The only way to do that, is to love what you are doing.” Maria believes that when you are no longer in love with the thing you are making, it’s time to move on.
Recycled by Hyena: My work is infused with my ethic and each of my creations is the result of passion and dedication. My clothes are made from scratch but not from new materials. They are made with fabric from clothes I purchased in Goodwill stores and non-profit thrift stores.
I “believe” in the craft revolution and I think it is our future. The handmade and eco-friendly life is the only alternative to the consumerism destroying our planet and the living beings surrounding us.
Light and comfortable jewelry? Who would say no to that. Oh, plus it is so luxe yet clean. No easy feat to pull off.
MOUFELT. | modern felt goods
All designs are handmade in portland oregon using 100% pure wool felt. A sustainable and renewable resource, felt is a simple and honest material with an endless range of creative opportunity.
With a focus on clean lines and simple geometries, necklaces and earrings are bold yet remarkably light and delicate. Both traditional hand felting techniques, craft, and industrial felt are used to create this collection.
Allison Taylor’s story as a crafter begins in a familiar way: she first learned to crochet at her grandmother’s knee at the tender age of six.
Despite her grandmother’s considerable skill as a fiber artist, not to mention her infinite patience, crocheting didn’t quite stick with Allison that first time around. Six year olds aren’t famous for their attention spans, so it’s not really that surprising!
It wasn’t until much later when Allison was a college student that she picked up crochet hooks and some yarn again. Although she had never gotten into the knitting, crocheting, sewing, and other fiber arts that her grandmother had mastered, Allison had always admired her grandmother’s talent and skill with needles, yarn, and fabric.
When her grandmother became ill and was no longer physically able to craft, due to side effects of a stroke, Allison was inspired once again to take up the craft she had not been able to master as a little girl.
She made her grandmother a blanket, to show her how much she appreciated her, and how impressed she had always been with her fiber skills. Blankets are still Allison’s favorite thing to make, and friends and family can count on one for a gift whenever there’s a wedding or baby on the way.
Allison was “hooked” on crochet from then on, and turned her hobby into a side business with her Etsy shop that opened in 2008. Although she has a day job unrelated to crafting, it in no way diminishes her fierce love for making.
The best part for Allison is having strangers own something she made with her own hands: “It’s a way of sharing something tangible with people across long spaces, which is so rare,” she says. “It’s really exciting and touching, and I never get over it.”
She also feels a connection to her grandmother every time she picks up her crochet hook, another feeling many crafters can relate to. The emotional connection associated with creating and sharing handmade goods is probably one of the big reasons handmade is so popular these days.
The most popular item in Allison’s shop is the best friends beanie, which also happens to be her favorite thing to make for the shop! Customers also respond well to her continuum scarves and continuum collars, with their unusual shape.
Like most of her creations, Allison let the continuum scarf emerge on its own, without too much planning ahead from her. Her general technique is to pick up her crochet hook and yarn, and experiment with different stitches until something she loves emerges.
You can find Allison’s crocheted gems in her online shop. If you see something you like but are fixated on a certain color, don’t worry because Allison loves to do custom work!