Tuesday, April 22, 2008

May Thread Animal Artist of the Month


Artist of the Month

May 2008


Marji has been chosen to be Thread Animals' 2008 FeaturedArtist of the Month for May. Please get to know her better by reading the interview below and looking at her lovely bears. Please leave a comment to let us know you were here.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Hawthorne and Vista, California. One place was in the city and the other in the country.

Please tell us a little about you and your family. Married? Children? Pets?

I am married to a wonderful man, Tom. He
smiles at my bears. We have 6 children. No one is married but they are all growed up.We have 3 boys and 3 girls. Right now we have a 10 year old dog. The vet keeps saying that Abbyis old! We also have a cockatiel and a beta fish. The best petI ever had was a 4 foot iquana. She was a lot of fun.

What other crafts hobbies do you like to do?

I enjoy making bobbin lace, crocheting other things and sewing.Right now I belong to 2 book clubs. I also enjoy taking piano lessons. I'm not sure how much my teacher enjoys my lessons. AsI am starting out "older" it can be interesting. I also really
like to embroider. I once worked for a TV show doing embroiderywork. It was a program about a family that traveled around the country in their trailer. The Grandma quilted and I did the embroidery on "her" quilt.

Any crafts or hobbies you'd like to learn ?

I am working very hard on learning more and more about lace making.It can be very adictive. I would like to learn how to tat and toknit. I really want to learn how to knit a pair of socks!

Have you had any formal arts & crafts training?

No formal training except at the side of my mother. She recentlypassed away and I miss
her. She loved making the bears too. She made fabric mini's for many years and really is the one who got me started. She was a master quilter too. All I know, except forlacing, I learned from her. She had a magic about her and loved totalk to her creations.

When did you start making Thread Animals and what was the occasion?

My mom and I were making doileys and came across a pattern for a miniature crochet bear and got hooked. I think that it might havebeen one of Berta's in a early magazine.

Do you recollect the first teddy that you made yourself?

The first one I made was a doll size bear. My mom taught me how to sculpt the face. When she called me a "bear friend" I thought that I had truly made it.

How do you
get ideas or inspiration for new bears?

Honestly, I see a pattern I like and just try it out. I have onlytried making one crochet bear on my own. That is the one in thepicture with the large brown bear. That bear was mine when I was6 months old. That was a fun challenge. The felted bears are mydesign, except for the rug bear which was from a class with Bobbie.

What do like most when making bears or Thread Animals?

I really like the crochet part. When they are finished I am alwaysamazed that "I did that." You ladies have really supplied me witha fun time.

Do you have a personal great dream regarding the bear making?

I have a new bear making friend and that is the fun of making bears...New friends.

Please tell us
something about the place where you live. What's your place of birth?

I was born in Hawthorne, California in 1953. My dad had his own business repairing TV's and Radios. Those were the days when you could fix things. Mom was always busy sewing us girls clothesor making dolls. Those were her doll days. So, I grew up watchingher create things and give them away! When I was a young teen wemoved to Vista, California. I really didn't start making anythinguntil I was in my early 20's and then it was clothes for babies.Vista was very rural at the time.

Do you think that your hobbies/crafts are influenced by whereyou live/country or would they look the same if you lived elsewhere?

My husband recently retired from the Marine Corps so we have livedin many parts of the US. I think
that has helped me to feel comfortable anywhere. That is important as you feel "safer" to askquestions and learn new things.

Tell us about what contests have you entered? Won? Awards?Publications?

Can't say that I have done too many contest. I did win two blueribbons last summer at the Utah State Fair for my lace.

I have participated in Berta's first challenge and got that picture in a magazine as part of her article. Also, in the strawberry challenge

How did you get started crocheting, who taught you?

As I mentioned, my mom taught me to crochet. She had to teach me mirror image as I am a lefty and she was a righty. She was verypatient. The only thing that I really made,
at first was babyblankets. Then, one summer, while I was awaiting child no. 3, she taught me how to read patterns. We practised with doilies. What was your first crochet or knitted project ? I believe it was a little purse. It was a church girl's project.I don't remember being very happy with doing it, but it was a start.I was somewhat of a Tomboy so didn't like "girl" stuff.Who inspires you?

Have any tips for beginner Artists ?

There are only two things that I would like to tell a beginner. Remember to have patience. You are doing this for fun. Maybe it will turn into
something else later but to start, just have fun.Also, there is nothing wrong with doing some one elses patterns.We can't all be designers but we can all have a good time. Bearsjust love coming to life. Even the grouchy ones! Where do you see yourself in 5 yrs... I hope to be making the bears still. Maybe I will try designing some day. I really hope to have some grand babies to share theselittle guys with.

Do you have a funny or inspiring story about your Thread Animalsyou'd like to share ?

What tip would you give someone looking to crochet their firstminiature bear? Take your time. Don't try to do it with other people in the room.Turn off the TV, maybe even the radio. And mark your rows. Don't be afraid to "fudge." It is your

What skill level would you say that someone needed to embark on their first bear project?

If you can single crochet and aren't afraid of steel hooks you cando just fine. Start with bigger thread and hook if that helps you get your tension down.

Which other crocheters work do you admire - either miniature bear makers or makers of other items?

I love looking at Berta's, Debby Mc Carthys, Marylou,and Bobbie's work.They are so amazing. I have been previged to attend in person oneof Berta's classes in California and she was so gracious a teacher.

Do you have a favorite bear or animal that you have made so far?

I have made hedgehogs and I love that. Only from the felting. Thelittle one that is crochet is a head "gone wrong!"

Please describe your Thread Animal style with your own words.

I love to use color so I guess that would be my style. I love looking at others creations and thinking, "I want one of those" and thank goodness there are artist out there that will share.

(deBBies Note: Thanks Marji for being so active in the group. I can see from the photos how many things you have participated in . Congrats on being AOM for May. )


TheTinyToyBox said...

Congratulations Marji on AOM! As demonstrated by your critters, you are well deserving of the title! Keep up the great work!

Karen said...

Congratulations Marji, love seeing your work and look forward to seeing lots more.

Love the blog deBBie

knitmouse said...

Congrats Marji on being chosen AOM. Looking forward to seeing more of your work.


Beverly said...

Congratulations Marji on being May's AOM!!! I love your creations and I can't wait to see more.

Chantal said...

Congratulations Marji ; it's good to know more about you.
You work is great.

The blog is very great Debbie ; it's a real good idea ; we know better our bears friends.

Thanks and hugs


itehcorc said...

Marji, you're creations are adorable! I, too, have a tendency to give away more than I keep but that's just part of the fun.

Thank you for sharing your gift...can't wait to see your new creations!

itehcorc said...

Marji, your creations are adorable! I, too, have a tendency to give away more than I keep but that's just part of the fun.

Thank you for sharing your gift...can't wait to see your new creations!

mskeryte said...

Congratulations, Marji, I was very glad to hear that you are the AOM!!! So interesting to see many of your creatures, they are very friendly!! And thanks for the interview - it really gives better picture of our friends. Monika