1.Tell us a little about you and your blog.
I started my blog, the Craft Project, simply to motivate myself to spend some more time crafting and finishing projects (I have a tendency to get distracted). In its humble beginnings the plan was to create one project a week but it quickly ballooned to much, much more. Flash forward a couple of years and I’m now a professional artist and writer, who also does cake and fashion design, work for local theatre companies, public engagement art pieces, and dance performances on the side. My blog has provided me with a venue to explore all sides of my creativity and has allowed me to become a true “maker”.
2.How and when did you start crafting?
I’ve been crafting since I was a child. My parents have always been very supportive of my passions and from a very young age art and craft were one of those passions (that and Lego…I used to tell people that I was going to be a Lego designer when I grew up…not the answer they expected from the girl in the tutu). I took a break from it during high school and university – I didn’t stop completely but only dabbled as sports, research, and boys were distracting me (in fact I turned down a fine art scholarship to pursue earth and ocean science figuring that “I could always paint and dance in my free time” – sigh, the naivety of 18 year olds). In my late twenties I got more and more involved in the DIY movement which culminated in the launching of my blog. At the time I was working at the United Nations on climate change and I felt like I was banging my head against the wall trying to create positive change. I just wanted to do something that felt inspiring and creative and positive and art and craft fit that bill. I haven’t looked back since.
3.How often do you craft?
All the time – in fact you could call me obsessive (some people do), although I prefer my friend Oliver’s description of me: “Amber does all the things.” To give you an example, in the weeks leading up to this competition I premiered a show of artwork jointly with a fellow artist called JUXTAPOSITION; started prepping for a solo show of new work which opens in April called Manipulating Media; worked as a production assistant for an elaborate puppet show, painting and building, called the Sci-Fi Double Feature; performed more than 30 shows with the Sourdough Rendezvous can can line for the Yukon’s annual winter festival; accepted two commissions – one to paint someone’s wedding dress, one to create 50 handmade garters; confirmed the design of my younger brother’s wedding cake with his fiancée; and of course started scheming my projects for So You Think You’re Crafty. There are days that I think my to-do list will eat my alive, but I love every minute of it.
4.Where do you get your inspiration?
Everywhere! I find the more projects I’m working on the more ideas are constantly popping into my head. I keep lists in my studio, a notebook in my purse, and on my iPad so that I don’t lose any of them. I also spend a lot of time on the DIY blogosphere, on Flipboard, and on Pinterest – I’m such a visual learner, so I find these venues amazing to spark ideas. That said, I try to make sure I spend just as much time outside of the virtual realm – I spend as much time outside as I can, I play sports, I read books, I go to plays and movies and dance performances and art shows, I play with my dog, and I drink wine and tea with friends – unplugging is great for my creativity.
5.What is your favorite medium to work in?
Acrylic. I’m terrible impatient by nature – I get distracted by things that take too long – so I adore how quickly acrylic dries. I used to work in oils but the drying times drove me up the wall. The last oil painting I was working on I quit almost eight years ago. It sat forlornly on an easel in the living room until last year when I tucked it away for a rainy day in the studio. My friend Kyle has announced that it is going to his house when it is finally finished, but I honestly don’t know if that will ever happen.
6.What is your guilty pleasure?
Homemade macaroni and cheese; vintage clothing (I’m embarrassed to admit that I have close to 400 items on my Modcloth wishlist); shock-factor haircuts – if my father is appalled I’m doing it right (most recently I went from middle of my back and natural to an updated 1920’s bob with red and purple streaks); So You Think You Can Dance; and musicals (despite the fact that I could not sing on key if my life depended on it – despite the best efforts of some talented teachers to try and remedy this).
7.What makes you smile?
Teletoon Retro, dancing in my living room, fresh strawberries, summer thunderstorms, and my puppy Shiloh.
8.What is your favorite thing to do (other than crafting)?
Playing outside. I grew up in a national park, so I essentially spent my entire childhood in the woods and rivers and nothing has really changed now that I’m “all grown up”. This is followed closely by travel. The most exciting places I’ve been in the past are Easter Island and Antarctica. The top of my wish list is Madagascar and the UK.
I’m also working on a new project to help fight cancer using art. Make a donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada through this page and I will send you a copy of one of two art pieces. You can find more specifics HERE.
Here are Amber’s fantastic projects from the season: