Leah Kramer is the mastermind behind the craftster forum. She’ll be in the Bay Area this week to promote her book, “The Craftster Guide to Nifty, Thrifty, and Kitschy Crafts”, and SFist has a copy for one lucky, crafty reader.
Leah has submitted to the SFist interview process and has revealed some of the inner workings of craftster as well as providing a crafty guide to her beloved Boston:
Favorite project EVER on craftster:
This is always an excruciating question for me. It's harder than coming up with my favorite song or favorite food. There are just so many awesome projects and they are awesome for so many different reasons. Every month I come up with a dozen "new featured projects" which are determined by member votes and whatever catches my eye. Of the recent featured projects I've picked, my favorite is this lamp made by a member named "Fidget." She used an old 8-track cassette player -- home stereo type not car type -- as the base of the lamp and then stacked up colorful 8-track cassettes on top as the neck of the lamp. She topped it off with an appropriately tacky lampshade. Besides the clever reuse of these 1970s relics, the best thing about this project is that you can still
play cassettes in it!
What kind of things do you make the most?
I tend to be inspired by taking eye-catching old things and remaking them into new things so they can live on in some new form. So for example, I collect these 1960s Betty Crocker recipe cards with gorgeous super-saturated photos of things like bacon-wrapped-hotdog casseroles and I make greeting cards and notebooks out of them. I also love anything plastic-y and kitschy. So I collect weird old plastic charms and cake toppers and make things like jewelry and fridge magnets out of them.
What kinds of techniques/projects/ideas have impressed you the most over the years?
Generally speaking, I love modern-day Japanese fashion and style -- everything from Hello Kitty to Fruits-style fashion. To me, looking at modern Japanese craft books is like being a kid in a candy store. There's this new type of crochet that a lot of people are doing called here and in Japan called "Amigurami" which basically is the most adorable stuffed crocheted animals with rolly-polly spherical shapes.
Another thing I'm impressed and surprised by is how many people are getting back to the foundations of crafting. For example taking raw wool and dying and spinning their own yarn.
What is your favorite thing about craftster?
I love when I meet people or get emails from people and they tell me how much Craftster has inspired them to be more creative or even to get in touch with their creative side in the first place.
What is the most quintessentially San Francisco project to come across craftster?
This is a tricky question. I'm sure there's something "quintessentially San Francisco" on Craftster somewhere. There are so many hundreds of things posted every day that it's impossible to keep up with it all. But there is one
project that jumped to mind. Every month I hold a "Craft Challenge" where there's a theme given and people have a month to make a project. Then they post it and everyone votes for a winner. The range of things that people come up with is amazing. One month the theme was "DIY Twin" where you could use whatever craft technique you want to make a likeness of yourself. A member named "stevenjames" made one of those doll cakes where the dome-shaped cake is the skirt and there's a plastic doll sticking out of the top. The twist was that it was a "drag" doll cake using a hunky GI Joe as the doll. Here was his explanation:
"So a few years ago some friends and I decided to do drag for Halloween - I know, a safe time to dress up like a woman and no one bats an eye - plus it's mandatory if you live in San Francisco."
Whatever his reasoning for this project, I'm just glad I was able to witness the beauty of a "drag" doll cake!
Everybody should by your new book because:
...because if it does well I get to write more and more and more books! Just kidding. But not really.
I'm really happy with the book. The projects themselves are from vintage craft books or are vintage-inspired. They range from hysterically tacky to cleverly eco-friendly to just plain cool. You'll get as much a kick out of looking at it as you will making the projects. The graphic designer did a stunning job, it's full color, and the photographs are big and detailed. These are things that I love in a craft book and I'm so happy I was able to find a publisher who understood this.