vintage craft workshop

May 12, 2011 by mrsjennyryan

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!

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  1. KB VanHorn says:

    I’m so happy for her! I can’t wait to read it and see projects by people I know. I love your birdhouse string holder. Besides making brand new things with vintage materials, I find Egguery – (turning hollowed out eggs into tiny dioramas – fascinating.

  2. Awww…I love this post. Such a great read and Cathy REALLY is something special!

  3. kittee says:

    This book looks amazing, and your friend’s trashcans?? Those made my eyeballs pop out. LOVE! I’m all about the vintage craft, but not sure which style I’d like to try first.


  4. sara p. says:

    I am a sucker for any crafts involving felt!

  5. Morgan says:

    I just learned to Knit but would love to try all the crafts in this great book!

  6. Trase says:

    Love the concept behind this book! One of my favorite vintage crafts were the bird-puppets my grandma used to make. They were about 3′ tall, and utilized styrofoam balls, feathers or fake fur, can lids for the feet, and were strung to a puppeteer “T” of dowel rods up top. She made me one when I was around five years old. I hope to make one of my own one of these days, it was really nifty!

  7. Karen Meyers says:

    this looks like such a great book, if I don’t win it, I will definitely buy it! Let’s see……favorite vintage style craft, would have to be crewel embroidery.

  8. Danelle says:

    I’ve been a fan of Cathy an her blog for a long time, I’m so excited that she released a book! There’s a handful of vintage style crafts I would love to play around with, but I’m most interested in string art!

  9. Sarah says:

    Cathy rocks my socks!
    So excited to have a look at this :)

  10. Sarah says:

    and I think macrame’ is going to make a comeback –
    you heard it here first.

  11. sara says:

    Wow, those projects are too cute. My friends and are were just joking about our moms macrame.

  12. Sherri S. says:

    I love ALL vintage crafts! Love those flowers made with Swistraw and a little loom, love crewel, love ANYTHING to do with felt! Thanks for the chance to win this cool-looking book (I love Cathy’s blog…)

  13. Lynda Brown says:

    I accidentally found Cathy’s website a year ago or so. She was showing the loom for making the old fashion flowers with ribbon and her loom. I just love it and have had such fun learning to do it. I have only come to be crafty in the past few years. I love the internet because it has brought so much knowledge to me. I was never that much good at sewing or anything before and now with grandkids I am always trying to find something to do with them 2 girls and 3 boys. They love coming to my house and now my 9 year old grandaughter is trying to learn to sew and I have given her my old singer sewing machine I used in high school and I am 60 years old. Thanks so much for having so many resources out there for me to use.

  14. It has always been macrame for me. Love it and did a lot of it in my youth. Love it.

  15. That book looks so awesome! One of my favorite things about vintage crafts is how important recycling was, long before recycling was “in”. I love your birdhouse!

  16. Catlyn says:

    thats so exciting! :) Ive never really done any “vintage crafts” but I have always wanted to try and explore them!

  17. anita tinlin says:

    I love the bowls made out of vintage Christmas cards that have been cut and crocheted together!

  18. This looks so awesome! I dont’t have a favorite vintage craft yet, but I am sure after looking through this book I will! I do make bracelets out of old leather..I suppose that counts. :-)

  19. Anna says:

    What a great concept for a book. I am quite keen to try a few of these macrame and flower loom crafts

  20. Amy says:

    I so want this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  21. Suzie A. says:

    Ever since my mom made me a hot air balloon mobile on plastic canvas in the 70s, I have been in love with mobiles! I think it’s about time I revived this art for my little guy (minus the plastic).

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