Getting to know you – Aimee Ray

Oh my, oh my, today’s interview is a real gem (not that the previous ones aren’t, they are ALL pretty cool, but you know what I mean, right?) It’s Aimee Ray! That Jill of all trades who uses colour in the most poetic way, creates imaginative embroidered worlds and so much more. I could easily keep gushing over Aimee, but that would get boring, so here are her own words:

Your name
Aimee Ray :: website :: blog :: shop ::

Where in the world are you?
Northwest Arkansas

Briefly describe yourself and what you make
I make all kinds of stuff, I love trying new things! To narrow it down, I make hand embroidered artwork and embroidery patterns (and I wrote the embroidery book, Doodle-Stitching) also, stuffed animals, tiny painted clay gnome figures, and digital paintings.

Who or what inspires you?
Everything! Especially nature, animals, other artists, and my dreams

When / how did you learn?
I learned to embroider at age 4 or 5 from my grandma. I’ve always loved drawing and making things, what I do has just sort of evolved over the years.

Why do you ‘bother’ to make things by hand?
I actually do a lot of computer art and design as well, but handmade items are extra special. I think you can really see a piece of the artist in something handmade. Handmade items are unique, personal, and special compared to all the mass produced stuff out there that anyone can buy anywhere.

What is your craft ”philosophy”?
I make things I like. That’s it. :)

Fondest craft-related memory?
Since I was very young, I would get into my mom’s fabric and craft supply stash and just start glueing or sewing pieces together into whatever I had in mind at the moment. I never want to lose that love of just making things for the fun of it.

Can you reveal a little about your creative process?
I do a lot of random drawings in my sketchbooks, from ideas sparked by something I see, to just doodles that come out of nowhere. This is where my ideas start. From there they get refined into a specific project idea, and then into the actual project.

How do you deal with crafty mistakes?
There are always ideas that don’t quite turn out how you thought they would. If I get stuck on something, I will put it aside for a day, a week, a year and come back to it later with a fresh perspective. But then, some things do get abandoned forever.

Favourite book(s) or craftbook(s)?
I have a lot of fantasy, mythology and classic art books, but I think I am most inspired by surfing artists and crafters on the internet!

Do you have a designated craft space?
What does it mean to you? Yes I do. It is really nice, and inspiring to see all my supplies right there ready to go. If I had to dig out all my materials every time I wanted to make something, I think it would be harder for me to get things done. It’s also nice to have space to display some of the things I’ve made, or things that inspire me.

Do you use a sketchbook or journal?
Yes! I have a sketchbook with me all the time. I’m always jotting down ideas or drawings for what I want to make next. It is a great reference, and an idea sparker if I get stuck.

Why is crafting good for you?
It is relaxing to me. I don’t like to be doing nothing, so even sitting on the couch watching movies, I usually have some project in hand. Sewing or embroidering by hand is time consuming, but can be meditative, and very rewarding.

Is your craft a business as well?
Any advice on running a crafty business? I have an etsy shop, I have lots of fun making stuff to sell there! I’ve started out small, but I am happy with how my little business is growing. My advice is just to make what you love and find a way to share it.

What impact (if any) has the internet had on your craft?
The internet is huge! There are so many ways to promote your work, it is invaluable. I post my crafts in several different places online, you never know who might see it. That’s how I was ”discovered” and asked to write my book.

Do you make art or craft? Is there a difference?
I really don’t think there is a difference as long as it’s original. If you come up with an idea for something from your head, and produce it in any type of material, it is art.

If you could make any project without limits to cost, materials or even skill, what would it be?
I would build my dream house, it would be from all natural or recycled materials and use all natural energy from the sun and wind. It would be the perfectly designed living and studio space for my husband and me.

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