19 July 2011

Red Bird Crafts : : an interview with Emily Neuburger

I first met Emily almost 4 years ago. I was working in the little shop that I owned with a friend when Emily came in to see if we would be interested in selling some of her tote bags and children's shirts. She had one charmingly chatty, red-haired three-year-old in her arms and a belly newly plump with another baby on it's way. I was pregnant with my first child too and I liked Emily right away! Since that first chance meeting many years ago we have remained dear friends. She is a true kindred spirit and I am grateful each and everyday to have her by my side as we navigate the journey of motherhood together (while drinking white wine and tea on the side!) Oh, but I digress! Emily is also a talented maker of all things lovely. She teaches art classes locally and is the author of a craft book for families and educators which is due to be published by Storey Publishing in the Spring 2012
It was wonderful to have the chance to interview Emily and to learn more about her craft. Hope you enjoy it too!

What are some of your earliest crafting memories?

Mostly, I remember being completely immersed in my art projects.  I kept an album filled with drawings of various random things and people dressed in costumes and different kinds of clothing.  As I created these drawings on paper, I’d also envision stories about them in my head.

But, truly, my earliest memory of crafting is noticing that my hands were covered with paint and markers and not having any recollection of how it happened.

How has your crafting changed or developed over the years? 

For me, the most exciting crafting development has been the integration of my teacher self with my artistic self.  Lately, I’ve been spending lots of time developing imaginative crafts, which are meant to help children (and adults) use their imaginations to explore their creative within. I love witnessing people become confident in their own creative expression; this kind of teaching brings me such joy. As I’ve been writing my book, these two parts of myself have merged together in a way that feels incredibly exciting and fulfilling.

Have you consistently worked with your hands during your life or has it come and gone in waves? 

I took a little break while I was getting my graduate teaching degree, but then when I was in the classroom with my students it all came flooding back.  I used art and crafting in many, many of my lessons.   

When and why did you decide to start a blog about your work and how has it added to your craft?

I decided to start a blog on the first day of 2009.  It was a cold, snowy day and I remember sitting by the fire with my family reminiscing about the past year.   I was trying to remember all of the crafts I had worked on during the year.  It slowly came to me that keeping a blog would be a really nice way to have a visual record of my work.  I viewed it as a little adventure. 

Do you think there are any drawbacks to having a blog about what you do?

Hmm.  I really can’t think of any right now. 

I find that motherhood has really encouraged and called upon me to be more
creative. How about you?

Oh, yes!  For sure!  My two lovelies are so much a part of so many of my projects.  Watching them be so free to be led by their imaginations is such a deep source of inspiration for me.

How do you balance your own creative work with being a mama to two young

It feels important to me to feel balanced, and finding exactly what works isn’t always easy.  In the past, I’ve had some really wonderful people come to the house to play with my kids while I was in the house working. I really liked this set-up because I got to hear them buzzing around the house while I was busy in my studio.  Lately, now that the girls are a bit older, I find pockets of time when they are independently playing to squeeze in some short spurts of work.  When I need longer stretches, I find time in the evening or during the day when they are at school.

Are there any new skills that you would like to learn?

I’d love to take an Adobe Photoshop class. (and, maybe follow it  up with an Adobe Illustrator class.) I’m always excited to learn more about print making.

What do you find yourself daydreaming most about in terms of your creative life?

I dream of running a little art studio/workshop space where children and adults can take art classes and also buy beautiful art supplies.  I also daydream about visiting and touring a letterpress studio.

What are your favorite materials to work with?

I love wood, paint, cereal box panels, brown paper bags, stones, carving blocks, ink, fabric, and watercolors.  

I especially love working with found and repurposed materials.  It makes me so happy to find a use for something that was going to be discarded.

What craft is in your basket today? 

A pile of hand painted stones. (bright colors, of course.)

Thank you so much, dear Ariana, for asking such thoughtful questions.  This interview provided me with a nice opportunity to be self-reflective about my own process.  I don’t think I do that enough.  And, might I add that I treasure being in a blog community where beauty and ideas are swapped and shared.  Thank you for inviting me to share a bit about myself in your lovely little blog space. 

Thank you Emily!

All photos from Red Bird Crafts blog

1 comment:

I read and cherish all of your comments! It really feels like such an honor that you stopped by this little space of mine. Thank you so much! Cheers!

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