... a mini interview with Kirsty Neale, aka PlanetCoco
Kirsty, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live in London with my boyfriend and work full-time as a freelance writer and designer. It can be tough (skin-tight deadlines, eighteen-hour days), but I wouldn’t change what I do for anything. I mostly write children’s books (fiction and non-fiction) and I design all sorts of creative projects for magazines.
Have you always been crafty?
Yes. I remember learning to sew when I was five. The first thing I made was a simple orange A-line dress for my Sindy doll (sort of a British version of Barbie). It had a very unsophisticated neck-hole cut at the top and the stitches were bigger than her head, but it was all my own work and design!
I also loved drawing, and at around the same age, I had a picture featured on a children’s TV show called Take Hart. It was of a snail, and was made from plasticine and lentils. I won a book, and I haven’t really stopped making stuff since.
Do you do other crafty things as well?
I love working with fabric – embroidery and appliqué especially – and have recently been enjoying drawing and creating little pieces of mixed-media art. I spent a big chunk of last year making cards, scrapbook pages and mini-books for a papercraft project and I contributed to a couple of books which were based on eco-crafts and recycling. I also do quite a bit of crafting for children, which is great fun. My partner often comes home to find the weirdest things drying around the house, from disembodied fake limbs to a dead rat made out of old socks (yes, really!).
Where do you find inspiration?
This is such an obvious answer, but really – everywhere. Books of all kinds, films, going to the theatre, walking in the park (I live opposite a beautiful Victorian park which has a maze, sphinxes and giant vintage dinosaurs) and, of course, the internet – Etsy, Flickr and more blogs than I probably have time for.
Please tell us about your banner design submission...
I love how clean and uncluttered the Feeling Stitchy blog looks, and the variety of different types of embroidery it features, so that was really my starting point. I wanted to do something quite contemporary and a bit different, but very stitchy (obviously) in fresh, clean colours.
I started off with the words, and didn’t actually get much further than that! I love typography and really enjoy playing with letter styles and fonts in paper and paint projects, but had never tried doing the same with fabric. I doodled the words onto plain paper, then realised that if I used different types of stitches and techniques to apply them, the stitchiness and detail would be built right into the title.
To put it all together, I traced the blocked letters on to Bondaweb, ironed to fabric scraps, then cut them out with embroidery scissors. I used white linen for the backing fabric, and traced the whole design through before stitching. The border gives it a more ‘finished’ look, and the buttons were added for a little bit of extra dimension.
Kirsty, thanks so much for sharing a bit about yourself with us. Good luck with the banner contest!