CRAFT Book-A-Day Thursday: Craftivity by Tsia Carson

Craftivity Cover

Craftivity – 40 Projects for the DIY Lifestyle by Tsia Carson

Book Site – Link.

Web Site – Link.

Tsia Carson founder of has written a new book called “Craftivity” which is filled with some of the most beautiful projects you can make for yourself or for your home. The projects are so beautiful in this book, like this Pom-Pom Rug below, you’ll probably cry. Not only are they hip, these projects are taking things like knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery, and more to a whole other level of “craft couture”. Most of the projects also follow the theme of “reshape, reuse, and redefine” that is close to most crafters’ hearts these days. With 40 projects in this book, you’ll definitely be busy for the rest of the year with a variety of projects that are fun, stylish, and economical as well.

I got to talk more with Tsia about this fantastic new book and her love of crafting. Thanks Tsia!


Nat: Please tell me a bit about yourself and your crafty background.

Tsia: Well, uh, I have always been a maker. I grew up in a family of makers. I am a total child of the seventies. I went to maker college aka art school. Then I got a master’s degree so I could teach making, which I do part time. I got bored with the art context (white walls, grey floors). I thought it was inappropriate for the kind of work I was doing. My husband, Doug Lloyd, and I always collaborated. We started a design firm. We fell into it. It’s fun.

I don’t make a big difference between art, design and craft. It is all about creating culture. That is what I enjoy doing whether I am programming php or crocheting a hat.

My husband is way craftier than I am. I am always having him make me things. He paid for us to go across country by refinishing furniture and making books when we were much younger. I always feel like a craft slouch.

Nat: What inspired you to write the book “Craftivity”? How did you find such great projects and contributors?

Tsia: I had been working with my design firm, Flat, on this site SuperNaturale for several years. We just did it as a side project because we were into the alt DIY scene, just to blow off steam really. A book packager, Lark Productions, approached us. She said “Do you want to do a book?” We thought that sounded like a good idea. So they wrote a book proposal and we did these gorgeous sample pages. Then it happened. And I was like — uh oh.

So I sent out an email to all the usual suspects from SuperNaturale, aka the editors ,and said “Do you want to put such and such in this crazy book I am working on?” And everyone said YES. But then I needed more projects! So I started asking around. There were a few people who really helped me put this together, aside from the people at Flat, Scott Bodenner, Kirsten Hudson and Karen Tanaka. It was a gigantic task. But fun.

As it came together I really thought about how many of these projects were gifts for people and I was blown away by the incredible generousity that people showed. This book came together organically. Some of the contributors I go way back with others I just met through the book. I had a framework that I wanted- to group the projects by material and a general editorial ethos- nothing kitschy, everything should astound. But the book really took a life of its own as we made it.

Nat: Both “Cravftivity” and your site reinforce the message that you can recycle and reuse — that crafts can be made out of everyday things. Why do you think this idea is staring to gain momentum in the crafting community?

Tsia: Because crafters are cheapskates! No seriously. Some people craft as a way to reject consumer culture, having a light ecological footprint, and/or getting off the grid. I consider myself in those ranks. And I want to be an advocate for it ( hopefully in a non preachy way). I see it as a movement in the culture at large and the crafting community is the avant garde for it. But there is always that basic thrift thrill when you make something and it just costs so much less…

Nat: What kinds of crafts are your favorite to do?

Tsia: Well I usually start with a idea. I am one of those high concept makers and then the craft flows from there. However right now I am smitten with tunisian crochet. I think its hot. I love sliding those stitches on and off the hook.

My husband and I are studying permaculture so we can make our 4 acres of land into an edible forest garden. We talk about the yield associated with mushrooms a lot. I want to make a grey water recycling system. Plus, don’t laugh, I have become obsessed with barbequing. I have this tiny gas grill and I have been cooking everything on it. Does that count?

Nat: What kinds of projects are you working on for Fall?

Tsia: I’m working on some of the projects in the book. I have this moth eaten sweater that I am “repairing” as Jennifer Kabat does in the book by doing a buttonhole stitch around the holes. I just kicked out a felted crocheted flower brooch from Desiree Haigh’s pattern. You would think that this book would burn me out but I am even more into making then I was before.

My daughter and I make space helmets a lot from brown paper bags and pipe cleaners. then we jump to the moon. I have this baby quilt I am working on for my 2 year old (yes, a little late). We had all my friends and family give us squares of fabric as a shower gifts and I am stitching together a crazy quilt from them. Unfortunately I hate to sew. I hate it. So it is taken me forever. But this fall I will get it done.

And I am building a summer house with my husband (and book contributor) Doug Lloyd and contributor Scott Bodenner. Holy cow.

Nat: Last question, one of the coolest parts is seeing the sparkling bling on the nails for the knitting examples. Definitely something you don’t see in typical knitting books. Were those your hands? I need to go get a manicure now.

Tsia: I am so psyched that you noticed. that was really my piece de resistance in the book. when I thought about all those shots of hands i thought we have got to get some bling! Give you a wink, just so you always know it’s SNatch. i thought the publisher was going to balk but they loved the shots. those are the hands of the very esteemed Callie Janoff, co-founder of the Church of Craft. She has great hands. I love her crooked pinkies.

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