Talking craft and creativity with... Geraldine Warner
Thursday, February 26, 2015
To celebrate International Women's Day on 8th March, we talk to a series of crafty authors about inspiration and what craft means to them
Sunday 8th March is International Women’s Day and to celebrate, we’ve spoken to some of our favourite female crafters about inspiration, creativity and what craft means to them. There will be a new feature every day this week so check back for more!
Meet... Geraldine Warner!
Geraldine Warner is the author of Knit Your Own Kama Sutra published by Harper Collins (available to buy at www.thegmcgroup.com). She will be demonstrating and signing books at GMC’s Author Lounge at The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show (Stand F14) on Thursday 5th March.
When did you start crafting and why?
I learned to knit when I was 7 years old, taught inevitably by Mum and her mother. My Dad’s mum taught me to crochet and tat (a skill I sadly haven’t kept up). I can trace my craft origins to way back before that though… various dolls and teddies suffered through my early stabs at fashion design and I never missed a chance to raid my Mum’s drawers for tin foil for just about every Blue Peter project going! Through the years I’ve tried my hand at everything I could get my hands on: sewing, tin work, lino cuts, woodwork… even trug making.
Why is a good question… I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to make something with my hands, it’s a vital urge. I spent some time over the years trying to create a career away from crafts (a notoriously ill-paid sector when you’re starting out on the home buying ladder), but it usually involved a level of creativity in some form or other and finally I think I’ve managed to whittle it all down to focus on one area I love: I’m now writing knitting and crochet books, although I do still dabble with as many other crafts as my spare time will allow me.
I think the urge to create is innate in all of us and is becoming stronger, particularly now that machines and digital technology are taking tasks out of our hands. Craft can serve many purposes: it can be meditative, fulfilling, task-driven. I love the feeling when I’ve solved a problem or worked out a technique, which is probably why I enjoy doing intricate and detailed work.
Having said all that, it often doesn’t do to over-analyse the ‘whys’ too much, probably better to just get on with it and ‘do’!
When starting new projects or coming up with new ideas, what inspires you?
I take my inspiration from such a huge variety of sources that it’s hard to pin down! I go through phases of different obsessions – over the last few years the knitwear designers of the 1930s-1960s have been a constant source of wonder, but interspersed in amongst that are my favourite elements of popular culture, modern art, even architecture and music. I’m drawn to elements which contain a high level of detail, even if it’s not immediately apparent and only reveals itself on closer inspection.
Recently I’ve started to enjoy combining elements which you wouldn’t expect, particularly when it comes to knitting – unusual subject matter for instance. Knitting as a craft comes with a legacy of very fixed perception about what it’s capable of and what you should be doing with it, much of which I value and love, but it’s nice to occasionally upset the apple cart.
The pervasive image of knitting is that it’s a female hobby and many of us go around desperately trying to hold up and celebrate instances of men knitting, but when you look back at its history (which is shorter than some might think) a fascinating thread reveals itself, taking in the history of women in society, particularly over the last couple of hundred years. I feel inspired when I think of myself as a part of that – a small stitch in an enormous garment!