γειά σου and welcome to another edition of ‘Exploring Etsy’. Through my virtual Etsy adventures, taking me across the globe, I’ve found that any language barrier can be quickly overcome with a mutual love of all things needlecraft! If my clue at the beginning didn’t already give it away, this week I shall be showing you all the wonders of Greece in particular the amazing work of Athenian resident Chara, owner of the Etsy shop ‘Fabulous Cat Papers’.
As long as she can remember Chara has been interested in crafting, experimenting in different fields with a whole host of materials: everything from paper, beads, textiles and wood to plastic. But one of her greatest loves is everything associated with writing — the papers, textures and of course the notebooks! It soon dawned on her that she could combine the knowledge she had gained through her crafting with her love of writing, creating a range of truly unique notebooks, exquisitely embroidered and bound using traditional Japanese techniques.
What is your earliest stitching memory?
Embroidery is in fact a craft I rarely ever practised in it’s traditional form, sewing on textiles, as I had always pictured it as a rather old fashioned form of creation, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Embroidering on paper has many limitations compared to textiles, due to the different qualities that each of these mediums possess. There is a limit to how many times a cover can be punctured, how close a piercing can be to the next one, so the paper will retain its stability. A lot of thought has to be put in to all these technicalities before you can actually dig into the creative process, but I find that working my way through those limitations, a more fulfilling work is bound to occur.
What fires your imagination?
I mostly use three different processes for my covers: embroidery alone, embroidery with some painting and printing prior to embroidering. Each of these processes gives a little extra something to each notebook and is mostly chosen by the theme itself! As for the themes, well they can be related to absolutely anything: nature, anatomy, architecture or sciences. They may have to do with something that drew my attention, like a bug or a flower, something Japan-related (Japan will always have a special place in my heart), an old photo or a beautiful print. Everything can serve as an inspiration for my work.
This week I think I shall finish my feature by handing back over to Chara, who I think sums up the joys of Etsy rather beautifully:
“…my little Etsy shop, a special place where I can share my notebooks with people from all over the world! It’s an enormous pleasure for me to connect with so many wonderful people through my work and an even greater pleasure when one of my notebooks actually heads to its new owner, while I secretly imagine its life; whether it will serve as a sketchbook, a diary, a work notebook, or a memo book for an everyday grocery list. All equally satisfying to me as my work will be valued in the hands of someone who finds it both beautiful and useful, someone who will use it until it is full and content….in a nutshell, I love making my notebooks and I love sharing them. I hope you like them too!”
Jessica Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins is a Textile Artist and Illustrator based by the sea in Portsmouth. At her happiest with a needle and thread, with a passion for genealogy she often explores old photographs in her Textile art. With her fingers in many creative pies she loves to experiment with new techniques, creating illustrated and stitched goodies for her new Etsy shop.