Many years ago, I ran into my college classmate Mike at a birthday party. We hadn’t seen each other in years. When he heard what I had been up to, he told me that I had to meet his sister Abby.
Abby is pretty amazing. I don’t know what else to say besides that because I’ve witnessed her proclivity for making beautiful things happen. I’ve tasted her delicious pies and cakes, seen her beautiful quilts at auctions, and admire her for bringing it.
Tell me more about yourself and what you’re all about.
I’m 30, a Seattle native, and a single lady (I only say this because it gives me lots of free time to craft, bake, and do other stuff). I historically have never had money to buy presents for people so I just learned how to make stuff.
How did you get so darn creative and what fuels your creativity?
I definitely grew up in a crafty home. My mom is the oldest girl of nine kids (she has one older brother but got most of the homemaker skills), and grew up with Depression-era parents in a small town. They sewed and canned and gardened and built things–they made do. I learned how to cook and sew from my mom.
My dad is an architect and an artist, and also knows that the best way to do a job right is to have the proper tools. So anytime he started working with any new medium he would acquire an ENTIRE set of whatever tools were necessary to create whatever he wanted to create.
It was pretty awesome growing up in a home where literally any craft supply was within reach.
When did you realize you were a doer and maker of things?
Oh, man. That just made me think of how embarrassed I am at what a precocious and dorky kid I was. I remember that when I was little and would show an adult something I drew or painted, and they’d say, “maybe you’ll be an artist when you grow up!” I’d retort with “I AM an artist!” I’m sure it was said extremely pretentiously.
It was reinforced just a couple of months ago when my coworker at a new job asked me about my weekend and I said something along the lines of “oh, it was pretty low key. I only baked two cakes, and I finished a quilt! And I did this and that and the other thing…” And he just stared at me and said, “you’re just a DOER, aren’t you?”I guess my ‘low key’ weekend isn’t really that low key at all to some people.
What inspires you to make things?
It depends… I definitely have a lot of materials around. When I go to the quilt shop I pick up whatever it is I need for the quilt I’m making, but also browse around JUST IN CASE something is awesome and I need it. I can get pretty excited about a color palette or pattern combination in quilting fabrics. I also get into lots of trouble at yarn stores – mostly because I don’t have enough patience at knitting to complete any projects, or develop the skills to make something really cool, and then I get even more bored and give up. But petting the pretty yarn is irresistible to me.
A lot of other times I’ll just be bored with whatever other fifteen projects I am working on and start a new one. Or see something in a store or on a blog that I know I could make, so I do it.
There was a whole year in my late 20s where I didn’t sew anything. I wasn’t feeling it. But I knitted and glued and baked and did a bunch of other stuff. I think it’s partially about focusing my ADD somewhere.
What are your favorite things to make?
Quilts, I think. I’m a very snuggly person and like to show my love with things I made–so a quilt is the perfect intersection of those two feelings. Plus it’s very functional art. I get to be creative but it’s also something that’s not only useful but actually necessary.
Also recently I’m TOTALLY into making bagels.
If you were stuck in a cultural waste(is)land, what are the three things that you couldn’t survive without?
Cultural wasteland? Hmmm. I’m addicted to the iPhone. That’s pretty much the most cultural thing I need… I am fine with dive bars and my sewing machine and my oven.
What is your creative or life mantra?
If you think you have even a tiny chance of success, whether you’ve done it a hundred times or this is your first, go for it. It will never turn out exactly like you thought it would. Sometimes it will be terrible and you can take it out of your life and move on, but you will have learned from the experience. And sometimes it will be even better than you ever dreamed.