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Meet the author: Susie Johns

Susie Johns is an experienced crafter, specialising in knitting, papercrafts and embroidery. She contributes regularly to a number of craft magazines and is the author of a range of books. She also teaches craft workshops.

 

An Interview with Susie

Where were you born?

Swansea, South Wales. But I've lived in London since I was 10 years old.

What is your educational background?

Junior School in Swansea (Terrace Road Junior Mixed and Infants), then a scholarship to a public school in London (Blackheath High School). I studied Drama for a year at Kingsway College in central London, then had a change of direction and did an Art Foundation course at Croydon College, then went up to Newcastle-upon-Tyne to do a BA in Fine Art but transferred to Ravensbourne College to complete the course. Then I did a two-year postgraduate in Fine Art Printmaking at The Slade School, University College, London.

What first got you interested in craft?

My family have been a big influence. My father started as an illustrator then became a photographer and he encouraged me to draw and paint. My mother has always been creative, making our clothes and soft toys when we were children and I would use all the scraps to make dolls clothes. Both grandmothers were very good at sewing and knitting and between them they taught me to knit & crochet. When I was a student I made my own clothes to save money and when I had children I carried on making clothes for them, then toys and fancy dress costumes.

How long have you been crafting?

Knitting? I guess I made my first garments when I was about 18: a rainbow sweater and legwarmers.

Where do you get your materials?

I shop around for yarns. I must admit I much prefer natural yarns: those made from wool, cashmere, silk and angora. But the newer bamboo and soya yarns are lovely to work with. My favourite supplier has to be Jamieson & Smith Shetland Wool Brokers. I've been using their traditional Shetland yarns for years. The colours are really beautiful and the yarns are perfect for Fair Isle knitting; they also felt very successfully.

How/Where did Search Press discover you?

I'm not sure. I've done a lot of work with Roddy Paine, a photographer based in Tunbridge Wells, and Search Press work with him too.

What were your first thoughts when asked to write a book?

I've written about 20 books in the past 12 years, covering various crafts such as embroidery, papercrafts and crafts for children. But this was my first knitting book and I was thrilled when Search Press asked me to do it.

Has publishing a book changed your life in anyway?

Writing books and magazine aticles - and editing magazines and books - is what I do for a living. I am a professional author and editor.

Any tips for beginners?

Try to develop a good relationship with your editor.

What is your favourite craft tool?

A pencil - for sketching ideas, designing and writing notes.

Have you travelled for your craft?

Not really. I like to browse in flea markets on family holidays. But we tend not to stray too far. Most holidays are in Wales, Ireland, Scotland or England, though we sometimes venture as far as France, Spain or Portugal. I wasn't born with the travel bug.

Where does your inspiration come from?

All kinds of places. My head is brimming with ideas. I like to visit art galleries and museums, and I love browsing in markets and rummaging in junk shops. I also love going to the movies: I am a film fanatic. I always carry a sketch book to jot down ideas as they occur to me and I take lots of photographs too.

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