Leslie won't remember this but we actually met many years ago at a market. What I loved about her from the moment I met her was her enthusiasm. She is one of those people that makes stuff and encourages others to do the same. Her fabrics are stunning as are the things she makes out of them. Have a look at the quilt she made in the picture above. So beautiful!
She is also a wealth of knowledge and is incredibly willing to share it. She began the handprinted fabric swap nearly two years ago where participants would print and swap fat quarters of handprinted fabric. She then blogged about method after method of handprinting fabric. Her blog is an incredible resource!! And the fabrics swappers have created as part of it are truly amazing. You can see much of it by going through her archives here or having a look at the awesome flickr group. So much goodness.
Anyway I'm going to hand over to her to hear a bit more about her and her craft. Read on for a chance to win some of her beautiful fabric. Thanks Leslie!
What brought you to craft or make?
I’ve always been a maker. I can’t actually remember a time when I wasn’t creating something. As a kid I took pottery and cartooning classes, made beaded necklaces and mosaic picture frames, hemmed my own jeans and turned men’s pj bottoms into shorts (it was the grunge years, after all). In my 20s I studied graphic design and illustration and started a little business making leather journals and sketchbooks by hand. When I moved to Australia in 2005, I turned to sewing and fell in love with quilting. Eventually I got to the point where I wanted more control over the designs and colours in my quilts so I decided to combine my love for cloth, sewing, colour and design by producing my own fabric to sell and use in my work. I began carving stamps by hand to print onto fabric and then moved on to screen printing as a way to cover larger areas more quickly.
What do you love about your chosen craft?
Using my own fabric to create things with now is exhilarating, being able to design and print something specifically for a project opens up so many doors creatively. I love mixing ink to just the right shade and I love that I usually come across 4 or 5 awesome shades in the process, filed away for future reference. I love that I am able to jump from quite a range of projects so I never, ever get bored - there are endless patterns to design; goods and quilts to design, print and sew; opportunities to play with my camera (I love photographing fabric!); inspiration to look for everywhere.
When/how do you make time for craft in your life - do you have a process?
With a newly-minted 3 year old and a soon-to-be 5 year old at home, it can be pretty tricky to find time to work on all the projects I would like to (but there is plenty of time for other craft, especially play dough and watercolours!). I work pretty much every evening, with a mix of nights in my studio and nights spent working on my laptop in the lounge room with my husband, and my kids go to childcare one day a week, giving me a blissful stretch of daylight to tackle printing and bigger projects. I really love what I do and don’t really see it as ‘work’ though, especially as I make sure I give myself time to play and explore new ideas on a regular basis.
Where do you find inspiration?
I know this is a common answer but seriously, from absolutely everywhere. Some of my designs come about spontaneously, just playing with carving blocks, experimenting with the lines that can be created and having a workable pattern or shape appear. Others come to me while I am going about my day, when I take the time to really notice the shapes of things around me, the colours and shades. It is amazing what you can “see” when you change your perspective a bit. Nature is endlessly inspiring, the beach, local gardens, even a field of weeds holds so much design potential. And, of course, there is Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/lesliekeating), the inspiration mecca!
Who are your top 3 crafting heroes and why?
I think every one who has the courage to try and enjoys what they are creating is a crafty hero. The ones who aren't afraid to fail as failure opens up new opportunities to see and do things differently and the ones who can recognise that sometimes there is just as much beauty and possibility in a failure as a success. So, really, I have a million crafty heros, maybe more, but I will list 3 that came to mind instantly:
- The ladies of Gees Bend for their ability to imbue artistic values into scrap material to create simple, functional, absolutely stunning quilts.
- Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou as we share such a similar aesthetic, I adore absolutely everything that she creates.
- Teegs and Lara of Ink & Spindle for their amazing warmth and generosity of knowledge and encouragement plus I hugely admire their strong focus on what they want to achieve as a sustainable small business.
Leslie has offered to give to one of our mailing list subscribers a gift of the six hand printed fabric panels shown below. They measure roughly 34cm by 42cm (13.5" by 16.5"), with four on hemp/organic cotton base cloth, and two on natural linen/cotton base cloth. Screen printed by hand with great care in Leslie's studio. We will randomly draw a name from the list on Friday morning. So if you're not on our mailing list already and you'd like a chance to win (and hear all The Craft Sessions latest happenings) get to it and sign on up!