Kanzashi in Bloom

I was very excited to receive Diane Gilleland's latest book, Kanzashi in Bloom. I listen to her CraftyPod podcast regularly and find so many inspiring ideas on her blog. I expected no less of her book. In all honestly, and Diane knows this, I'm not much of a flower-y person, but I was taken by her book immediately. It got the girly in my really going. The possible applications of these flowers are really unlimited. I have my eye set on making the Flower Power Pendant and my little C wants me to make her a Stretch and Bloom Headband stat!

With today's interview, included in Diane's blog tour, I am very happy to learn more about her and introduce her to those of you that may not be as familiar with her. So, here we go...



Your podcast, CraftyPod is all about making stuff. What are your earliest memories of making "stuff"?

I made things all the time as a child. My Mom was always wonderful about supplying me for any craft I showed interest in.

The very first thing I recall making was a Milk Truck Paper Box. (This was the full title I gave the project - apparently, developing my blogging muscles even then!) I took a cardboard shipping box and some notebook paper. I drew some wheels and milk bottles on the paper, cut them out, and then taped them all over the box. I was about five years old. I used it to store the papers I brought home from kindergarten. I'm thinking of making another one to store my business receipts!



You tackle different mediums and crafts. What types of crafts or techniques interest you the most? How do you decide what you will make next?

I'm really attracted to crafts that aren't being widely practiced, like wire crochet, or weaving, or plastic canvas. (By the way, have I mentioned my love of plastic canvas before?)

I also love to hybridize crafts - like embroidering on a greeting card, or mosaics with buttons. Basically, any craft idea that makes you stop a moment and see handmade in new ways.


When did you start your CraftyPod podcast and what motivates you to continue?

The first show was in May 2005. Can you believe the 100th show is coming up? I was really excited about podcasts when they first appeared on the scene, as I'm a huge fan of independent media. But back then, most podcasts were about tech.

Then one day, I discovered Knitcast, an interview show by Marie Irshad in the UK. And then I thought, "Why not do a podcast about crafts?!" I can still remember the chill that went down my spine.

I keep doing the show because I dearly love it. I've never made a dime from this project, but the conversations I get to have with creative people from all over are absolute gold to me.



As someone that is very immersed in the world of craft businesses, what would be your most important nugget of advice for a novice?

If you dream of being creative for a living, find a way to start doing something related to that business right now. There's no sense in waiting until the perfect moment. The internet gives us tools and access that we could have only dreamed of twenty years ago.

If you want to be a writer, start a blog. If you want to make things to sell, set up that Etsy store. If you want to be a craft-show host, get a video camera and make some podcasts.

If you just start, then you'll be able to move forward, learn, and grow. You'll get somewhere eventually. If you wait, all you'll do is wait. I had a cubicle job when I started podcasting. Everything I'm doing now stems from that small start.


Your new book is titled Kansazhi in Bloom. Can you explain a bit about Kanzashi and what it is?

Kanzashi are hair ornaments, and they originated in Japan around 1600. You can still see them today in the elaborate hairstyles Geisha wear.

The traditional process of making them in Japan is fairly exacting - you start with small squares of silk. Then, using tweezers, you fold these squares into petal shapes and set them in a pool of a special rice paste. The paste saturates the bottom edge of each petal. Then, you pick up each petal with the tweezers and carefully place it on a metal or plastic base until you've formed a flower.

In my book, I offer a simplified version of the craft - one that crafters of all skill levels can enjoy. The book shows you how to make basic flowers, and then offers a bunch of different projects you can make with them.



When and how did you first start making Kanzashi?

I found Kanzashi on the web - although sadly, I can't recall which website I first saw them on. There's a lot of information on the traditional Japanese process out there, and a few bloggers have offered tutorials. I also found a few Japanese craft books on the subject. All of this was probably sometime in 2006.

I started teaching classes in the simplified form of Kanzashi in 2007, and through those classes I learned a ton about how crafters of all skill levels approach this craft. My students really helped me refine my processes and develop new designs. Teaching is always a great way to grow your skills.


If you had to pick one of your favorite uses of a Kazashi flower, which would it be?

Ack! Well, if pressed, I suppose I'd have to go with the denim A-line skirt I made for the book. I made three Kanzashi from light and dark denims and attached them to snaps. Then, I snapped them to the front of the skirt. They look really fun - and they pop right off for laundering.


What kind of crafty project would you tackle if money and time where unlimited?

I would crochet a queen-size Babette blanket in a million shades of pink, orange, red, and purple. Just look at the amazing things in this Flickr pool!

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If you'd like to learn more about Diane visit here sites here:
- CraftyPod (blog and podcast)
- Kanzashi in Bloom

Diane, thank you so much and congratulations!

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for reviewing this book - I'll definitely be keeping my eye out.

    My step-grandmother is Japanese and so I started origami as a very young child. But it is only in the past couple of months that I've become familiar with this craft. I'm intrigued!!

    Tara - Scoutie Girl

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  2. I really enjoy reading your blogs. I would like to invite you to follow mine as well.

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  3. great interview. thank you for introducing us to the wonderful work of Diane.

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  4. These are gorgeous! I love the style of these. Thanks for sharing this amazing art!

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  5. Great interview! I've admired both of you for a long time. It's also nice to see Diane interviewed after hearing her ask others so many questions all the time! Thanks.

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  6. Awesome entry! I love the pictures.

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  7. This book seems to be very nice!

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  8. I can think of 10 people who would love these flowers in one form or another. Thanks for the post, it's perfect!!

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