Thursday, July 14, 2011

Getting to know you - Pam Harris

Today I'm talking to Pam Harris of Gingerbread Snowflakes (cutest blog name ever!) - and with a blog name like that you might guess that Pam likes Christmas and you'd be absolutely right! In fact she started her blog to blog about holiday related topics, on the suggestion of her daughter Diane (of Craftypod - definitely a crafty family right there!) and then she kinda got hooked! Gingerbread Snowflakes is always worth a read and Pam is super nice to boot, so definitely check it out! :-)

Thank you, Pam!

Your name
Pam Harris :: blog ::

Where in the world are you?
Vancouver, Washington, USA

Briefly describe yourself and what you make
I am a dabbler! I love fiber arts - especially weaving, knitting and embroidery. Always have at least two of three projects going. But I can easily be distracted by a beautiful gourd, a field of wheat, or shiny tin!

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Who or what inspires you?
Well, of course my daughter has always been a huge inspiration! She was crafting rings around me by the time she was 12! Ideas and inspiration come easily to me and at all hours of the day no matter what I am doing so I guess you could i am inspired by life!.

Christmas definitely!

I am always uplifted, awed by and spiritually enriched by the work of seriously talented and highly skilled artists and craft artists.

When / how did you learn?
When I was 6 or 7 my great grandmother taught me to hand sew doll clothes. Then rolled paper beads, embroidery and needle point. By the time i was in high school, i was making most of my clothes; college a crazed knitter; and as a young wife and mother children's cloths, draperies and shades, quilts, and of course the 70's crafts - macramé, weaving and crewel embroidery.

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Why is making things by hand worth the 'effort'?
Hummmmm..... Been making by hand so long - just seems the natural thing to do!

But as I think about it more I am reminded that much of what we know of ancient cultures is learned from the hand crafted items their craft artists left behind.

And hand crafting provides the opportunity to make something completely unique - one of a kind. There are lots of woven bags in the world, but mine will be woven using only yarns that have been hand-spun by women who have made a difference in my life.

What is your craft ”philosophy”?
I believe the act of creating, of making something that never before existed with our own two hands, is one of the most exciting, stimulating and healthful expressions of our humanity.

Of course, we are not all born with the same skill or talents, but in my opinion it is the act of making that is important. For most of us, our skills will just naturally improve in proportion to our passion, desire and determination.

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Fondest craft-related memory?
Easy! Making Advent calendar ornaments with my daughter!

Can you reveal a little about your creative process?
Nothing unusual. Once I have an idea, then I mentally visualize the process of making and then move on to the trial and error. It is amazing how many "errors" get avoided by thinking through the process.

How do you deal with crafty mistakes? Are they mistakes?
I just consider them as part of the process! I have some pretty peculiar looking wheat weavings but I put a pretty bow on them and hang them to remind me that I am making progress!

Favourite book(s) or craftbook(s)?
Bugs in a Blanket by Beatrice Alemagna

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Do you have a designated craft space? What does it mean to you?
Oh how I wish I had a designated craft space!

Do you use a sketchbook or journal?
Yes - but mostly for keeping a record of the steps I used in making a project so I can make it again! Measurements, drawings, notes - whatever comes up. I don't "journal" if that is what you mean because I find most of the crafting that I do to be quite meditative.

Why is crafting good for you?
Creativity in any form is good for me! Although every project starts with a "goal", an end product if you will, it is the journey that gives me the most satisfaction and pleasure, and as I said before, I believe creating (making) heals and improves overall health - physically and mentally.

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What impact (if any) has the internet had on your craft?
I am about 100 times more productive! I am excited and inspired by the infinite richness of the collective mind! Access to learning resources is huge and coming from my generation, not for one minute taken for granted. I learned to knit socks using the internet! I still can't believe it!

Do you make art or craft? Is there a difference?
Ha! Getting a bit controversial there? For a long time, I felt they were quite different, but now I see them as two sides of the same coin. Certainly, both originate from the same place within. And they both bring into being something that never existed before - usually something meant to uplift and delight with it's beauty.

But they are different too - defined, in my view, by the skill and genius of the maker. Many "crafts" - wheat weaving, quilting, embroidery, origami, doll making to name a few - become exquisite works of artistic expression in the hands of passionate, creative and highly skilled craft artists.

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1 comment:

Teri C said...

Fabulous interview! You mare talented Pam, I get inspired just reading about you.