Today, March 8th is International Woman’s Day, a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements – from the political to the social – while calling for gender equality.
To recognise International Woman’s Day we are celebrating some of the amazingly talented women in craft. To create what some of these ladies do takes a huge amount of patience, skill and determination and we wanted to highlight that today. This list is not in any particular order.
Tone Finnanger is the talented designer behind the Tilda brand which includes fabric, paper and notions, as well as craft books and home products, all in Tone’s distinctive style. She grew up in the Norwegian city, Oslo, but now lives and works on a small island in the Oslo fjord. Her house is the thing of dreams!
Her fabric design has given her worldwide success and a cult following. With instantly recognisable designers, her brand continues to grow and every range she releases hits a home run.
Louise Crowther is a knitting genius. She is a British knitting designer who loves knitting dolls, toys, decorations and socks – basically anything that is small and neat. The projects she makes are so incredibly neat and intricate, they really are incredible. Her love of knitting started about 10 years ago when her eldest son came home from primary school saying he wanted to learn how to knit. So she bought a book, some yarn and some needles and we both learned (well actually, she learned how to knit, he got fed up after a few days, but luckily by then she was well and truly hooked)!
The vision of her brand is to fill your life with clever and stimulating pattern and colour on a range of products that are diverse, but not frivelous. She wants you to feel that you can escape to a luxurious, funny or colourful place when you see her patterns. She aims to partner sophisticated and lasting designs with quality products that can be enjoyed a lifetime and passed on to future generations. In her work, she strives to create unique illustrations, but also believes that everything we do needs to be done in an environmentally and socially responsible way. She donates 5% of profits to human and environmental stewardship.
Hannah Sturrock is the creative mind and talent behind Bobo Stitch. Their designs are a little bit different. They use simple outlines with striking patterns and clean, fresh colours. Taking inspiration from new interior fashions, vintage textiles, nature, toys…anywhere really. They strive to be contemporary and stylish, with an emphasis on creating gorgeous things to give delight as baby gifts or to show off in your home.
CoolCrafting founder Sarah Peel has a lifetime of experience within the areas of clothing and accessories design and supply. Sarah spent her teenage years elbowing people out of the way at Jumble Sales to find precious pieces, which she would take apart at home to look at the pattern shapes, and then dutifully sew back together. Whilst studying at Loughborough College of Art, Sarah was chief alterations person at the local Vintage store, as well as setting up on her own, designing and making ballgowns and wedding dresses for the Leicestershire wealthy. After her mum and dad insisted on a proper job, Sarah went on to be a Pattern Cutter for Next and was able to train at a top tailoring factory in Europe. Promotion into Buying followed, along with an awful lot of travelling and spending time in factories, and until recently, Sarah has been involved in buying a number of product areas, specialising in leather garments and handbags, for Lakeland.
Lucie is a Freelance Cross Stitch Designer with a passion for needlework and crafts. What does she do? She designs and produces beautiful cross stitch patterns for national magazines, books, needlework companies and you!
‘I’ve always been a keen crafter and had a love for art and needlework so when I saw a call out in a cross stitch magazine over twenty years ago I decided to respond and submitted my first ever design, a set of zodiac signs, the pattern was published and I’ve never looked back.’
Janet Clare is an artist, textile designer, teacher, author, quilter and all around creative thinker who is inspired by words and any lovely phrases she comes across and by children and the joy they find in the mundane. Janet loves to combine her unique jointed appliqué templates and free motion drawing technique in her work. She has written five books and designed eight fabric collections with Moda and is currently working on her sixth book ‘The Garden’ and gathering ideas for the next fabric line. Janet lives in a happy muddle with her family and a dog called Betty.
Sarah Watts went to Ringling College of Art and Design where she learned how to draw better by many great instructors. She met amazing colleagues there and had a great time, graduating with honours. She then worked at Carter’s for two years, cranking out hundreds of children’s images and patterns for baby clothes, and then worked at International Greetings for a year cranking out hundreds of images and patterns for stationery, gift bags and other giftables. Seriously, hundreds, and this is how she learned how to be a digital art ninja. She then quit the corporate realm where she learned so much and pursued her career as an independent illustrator. This was her true obsession since she was in college. She works 24-7 and loves it. Her first published book gig, The Tilting House written by Tom Llewelyn, she illustrated at the age of 23. She will not rest until a shark eats her or she is abducted by aliens. Today Sarah is Designer and CoFounder of Cotton+Steel Fabrics with four other lovely ladies and the epic team at RJR Fabrics.
Helen Philipps is a multi-talented crafter, designer and author of several best-selling books. After studying printed textiles and embroidery at Manchester Metropolitan University, her crafting career led her from designing greetings cards to creating needlework patterns. Her experience and talent certainly show in her stunning range of cross stitch designs. There’s a pattern for every occasion, whether it’s Christmas, weddings or new arrivals to the family, and a pattern for every person too.
Jody is the creative mind behind Satsuma Street. Satsuma Street is the name of the street she lives on, so in case you were wondering, there’s that mystery solved. Jody quit her exciting and lucrative job in the film industry to become a full-time cross stitch designer.
“You know how everyone always says if you want to start a business, you should identify a need and then fill it? I thought that was lame advice until I tried it. But it turns out, that’s exactly how it works! I felt like there weren’t enough interesting, contemporary cross stitch patterns for crafters who want to make something amazing…not just something to occupy their time for a few hours, but something they will love and be proud of for years. So I set out to design some patterns like that, and I drew inspiration from my favourite artists, like Mary Blair and Charley Harper and Alexander Girard, and I just hoped there were people out there who would find them and love them. And the wonderful thing is, they did find them! And now I feel like we are starting a community of people who don’t feel the need anymore to apologise for loving a craft that had become synonymous with grandmas and kitsch. Which are two of my favourite things, honestly, but they really had a monopoly on the cross stitch market”.
However you choose to celebrate Woman’s Day, we hope you have a wonderful and crafty day.