Words on CRAFT: Deborah Green launches her first book
Multi-talented blogger Deborah – ‘Ismoyo’ – Green (1976) was born in Amsterdam and lives now with her love in Queens (NYC). She discovered the world of crafts and drafts at a young age. Always in the mood for creating collages and mixing media, Deborah combines her work as a graphic designer with making the most adorable handmade creatures and cute artworks. But that’s not all…
Last week Ismoyo’s first book was released!
How do you feel?
I’m doing very well, thank you. I am very pleased and grateful that the first responses to my book have been very good. It’s amazing that there are people all over the world enjoying my work now.
I’m a ‘craft virgin’, the kind of person that hardly knows how to stitch a lost button back on her shirt. How did you learn sewing, stitching and last, but not least: working with appliqué?
My mom is very creative and amazing with the sewing machine, so I guess it has always been in my genes. But I didn’t discover it until I turned 29 and got my first sewing machine. I just started trying things out, got a few lessons from my mom and basically taught myself after that. I liked sewing bags and plushies, but wanted to embellish the things I made and started trying techniques like embroidery and appliquéing to personalize my projects with.
Everything you create, from your blog Ismoyo’s Playground to your product designs, breathes cuteness. What does this ‘girly like’ design style mean to you?
You are right. I love to cute up everything. I feel that I am a woman who is still a little girl at heart. And to me it’s just a fact that all things cute make me happy. Why have something plain if you can turn it into something cute? I also like that it shows trough in everything I create, then again, it’s something I cannot stop from happening. Everything I make comes from my heart, so the cuteness pours out into my work.
How did you come up with the idea of making the book?
I was fortunate that the publisher approached me. There were a couple of ideas for books that they thought I would be good at. For them it was obviously a big plus that I do such a broad range of crafts. After a couple of brainstorming sessions and looking at what was already out on the market, we ended up with the idea for the appliqué book.
Did you design all motifs in your book?
Yes, I designed every motif. It was a lot of hard work and I had to dig deep to come up with that many designs, but it was a lot of fun too.
One of the book chapters is called ‘Projects’. What exactly is that about?
Throughout the book there are so called mix and match panels, ideas how to combine different motifs, and tips for where to use the motifs. The project chapter gives more detailed work descriptions, like step-by-step explanations on how to appliqué on T-shirts, bags, journals and wall-art.
How come that your book has been published with different covers?
As an author, even when you are a designer, you don’t always have a say in how the cover will look like. When I was still in the early stages of the book, working on the synopsis, I did make a project with the book title appliquéd on it. This was used on the UK cover. It’s really a ‘book business’ thing. There are people in the book publishing industry who really know all the different markets out there. What works in what country, what appeals to the readers out there? So it was decided to have different covers. I can’t pick a favorite. I love them both!
Did you ever get stuck during the making of your book and how did you deal with it?
When I started working on the book, I expected to have moments like that. There were a couple of those, especially towards the end. I think a minor ‘breakdown’ comes with working on a big project like this. Taking a deep breath and listening to my husband helped a lot. You know how Tim Gunn from Project Runway always tells the designers on the show to “make it work”? That was kind of the motto here during my book project. Every morning my love told me to “make it work”! Realizing the fact that I was so blessed to have the opportunity to make my book and to be able to share my creativity gave me also renewed energy and inspiration to go on.
What’s your advice for people who don’t have any experience with crafting? How to start?
There are so many different crafts you can try out. Find something that makes your heart smile and go for that. Start with small projects and explore from there. You can go to the library and get some ‘how to books’, and the Internet is of course a huge source of inspiration. The whole crafty movement online is a very kind and sharing community. A lot of tutorials can be found on craft blogs and most crafters are very willing to share tips, on their blog or when you contact them directly. I met a lot of amazing artists and people wanting to start out crafting through my own website. The forums on Craftster are a great place to start. And if you want to buy handmade goodies or search for inspiration, go take a look over at Etsy.
As you already said, the online crafty movement is booming. What’s your explanation for the fact that people seem to long for handmade goods nowadays?
This is one of those questions i could have hour long conversations about. In short I think one of the main reasons is the desire for original products made with love, instead of thoughtless mass produced items.
Do you have future plans?
I do make plans, but I always leave room for unexpected creative adventures. Currently I’m working on a synopsis for a possible follow up book. Can’t say too much about that yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will be loved and approved. If so, I’ll be working on a second book in 2009. I also want to pursue getting my illustrations out there a bit more actively. Designing customizable birth announcement cards is something I’m working on. Craft wise, I want to get better at the things I already know how to do. Sewing, stitching, felting, things like that. And I want to learn new things. Soap making is high up on my list!
One day I…
Won’t be so shy anymore.
Anything you would like to say more?
Thank you for making me think about my work. I love answering questions that make me reflect on what I’m doing. So this was truly my pleasure!
100 Appliqué Motifs contains easy transferable and actual-size designs to customize clothing, bags, bed linen, hats etc. The book contains endless mix-and-match possibilities and a catalogue of great stand-alone designs. Whether you appliqué by hand or by machine, and whatever your level of experience, you will find scores of ideas, methods, patterns, techniques and start-to-finish projects.
Signed copies of the book can be ordered HERE!