Hand Making

Required Reading: 'Wise Craft'

A local blogger's new book might make even the least handy of us into experts.

By Amanda Zurita August 28, 2014

Admittedly, I am not the craftiest person—you'll find me on Esty more than fighting with knitting needles—but with the release of local blogger Blair Stocker's book Wise Craft, times may be a changin'. 

The book, named after Stocker's blog (started in 2005), has 60 seasonal projects made from found objects, recycled wares, and thrift-store finds. We caught up with the expert handywoman below to learn more about her inspiration and how we too can a little get crafty. 

Image via Wise Craft

How did you first get started with your blog? 
Stocker: Before I started Wise Craft, I had been working in the apparel design industry, and left to stay home with our daughter when she was born. Almost three years later our son was born. Staying at home with the kids had its bonuses, but I definitely felt a void creatively. Starting the blog was, at first, an experiment for me to refocus my creativity and record what few things I was making. Soon I was connecting with so many like-minded creatives. I loved the visual journal-keeping aspect of blogging, and I loved the spirit of creativity I felt because of it.

Where do you get your ideas?
never seem to run out of ideas. An idea can from something I want to change around the house—maybe a chair could use a new side table, or a lamp looks tired. Inspiration also comes from things we need, like new place-mats or napkins.

Blair Stocker
Image via Wise Craft

Since starting the blog have you seen a cultural shift toward the handmade?
I think its easier than ever to buy handmade right now, even if you don't make it yourself. I love that larger retailers are starting to carry items from small handmade businesses. When I discuss the philosophy behind my book, my hope is to instill a love of handmade as well as a love of hand making as a hobby. Many folks think that they can't make things, that it takes a special skill or a certain type of personality. I'm pretty sure I can change their minds.

How has living in Seattle has influenced you as a crafter?
Seattle has a vibrant handmade community full of supportive, hardworking people doing unique things. Being here has allowed me access to the resources and people in this area which have been vital to be growing my own small business. Conferences like Schoolhouse Craft Conference and craft shows like Urban Craft Uprising happen right here in our backyard. We're incredibly lucky.

Do you assume a certain level of craftiness from your reader?
The projects are meant for anyone, and none of them get too technical or fussy. A desire to try things out is the most important thing I reader needs. The most involved projects in the book are the quilt projects (there is one at the end of each chapter), but even those are straightforward as far as quilts go.

And lastly, if you had to pick just one, what is your favorite project in the book?
That's a hard one! I love the leather-covered rocks in the spring chapter, because the men in our family seem to like them. Any project that appeals to masculine as well as feminine tastes is always a winner for me.

Stocker's favorite project from the book (and one of mine too).


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