I have been through a lot with Ms. Cathy Callahan, better known in crafty circles as renowned craft blogger Cathy of California. We originally met through the craft fair I used to organize, Felt Club. She had applied for one of our earliest events, and her application immediately stood out in a crowd of lookalike jewelry designers and ironic t-shirt makers. I simply had to know what the story was with this kooky lady making the colorful mushroom pincushions and googly-eyed cupcake toppers.
I’ve gotten to know that kooky lady’s story pretty well over the years as we’ve gone on to share many experiences together…from throwing those old craft fairs of mine to traveling to brand new ones in other cities. From hunting down veggie burgers at roadside stands while thrift shopping on the outskirts of L.A. to marveling yet again at the beauty of the “It’s a Small World” ride on a trip to Disneyland. Scoping out German glass glitter in Berkeley and serving as craft judges at the County Fair together. She’s just a good lady, a great friend, and I couldn’t be happier that she’s just released a book of her very own! It’s called Vintage Craft Workshop…and let me tell you, this is a lady that knows her vintage crafts!
I can’t think of another person with the depth and breadth of knowledge on the subject of vintage crafting, especially when it comes to hunting down information about the originators of the whole scene. There were many amazing ladies who were instrumental in creating and expanding the crafts movement of the 1960s and 70s, and it’s wonderful seeing Cathy pay homage to these innovators in her book. There are profiles on some highly awesome designers like Gemma Taccogna, Enid Collins, and Erica Wilson—women whose influence can still be felt today.
And of course…there are the projects! Vintage Craft Workshop features 24 “remixes” (so to speak) on old school crafts. Somehow the assemblage of craft world superstars—folks like Robert Mahar, Susan Beal (who has two great new books out I’ll tell you about soon!), Diane Gilleland, Erika Kern, Hannah Kopacz, Susie and Heidi Bauer—have managed to take seemingly “retro” projects and techniques like string art and découpage and turned them into something entirely fresh and new. Whether you like to sew, paint, crochet, do paper crafts, or all of the above—this book has got you covered.
And okay…yeah…I’m featured in there too! Cathy asked me to create a project based off the idea of turning old bleach bottles into string dispensers. I decided a cardboard oatmeal canister would be a better fit for today’s crafters and cooked up this little birdhouse covered in burlap with floral details stitched from wool felt, Liberty scraps, and glass beads. I love how they styled it for the book—all the photos (by Meiko Takechi Arquillos) are downright dreamy.
I’m so happy to have been included in this book, and happier still that Chronicle Books has generously offered to give one away to a lucky reader of this here blog. Do you have a favorite “vintage” style craft…or one you want to try? Let me know in the comments. This time next week I’ll pick a comment at random and you’ll win a free copy of the book. Be sure to use your e-mail address when commenting…good luck!