Well Makers, you are in for a treat this month. We have pinned down the very busy and very talented ‘Independent ScanNCutter’ for an interview for this months ‘Meet the Maker’ blog post. We know her as the lovely Nikki, but you will all have heard of her as the incredible independent maker who is always helping us creatives buy the right product, understand it and get the most out of it and our creativity.
For those of you that don't know you for your work as The Independent ScanNCutter, you're Nikki and a mother of 2 who loves to make things. How did this start for you and can you remember the first thing you ever made?
I started belly dancing in 1999 which is a very expensive hobby - decent costumes cost in the range of five to seven hundred pounds each, and I was always looking for amazing props and accessories to go with them. I love everything about it and love to choreograph my own unique routines. I thought I could probably sew some unique items for my performances (I've always loved being creative) so I bought a Brother sewing machine. I never actually got around to making any belly dance costumes though! I ended up sewing projects for my children, before moving onto quilting, bag making as well as machine embroidery and embroidery design digitizing. The first thing I ever made was a pillow case for Barbie, followed by some bookmarks :-)
There are so many craft categories to choose from, more techniques and more inspiration every day. What types of craft have you not tried and would love to?
There are lots of crafts I haven't tried - knitting for one - however I don't think I would have the patience to knit, but at some point I would like to try soap making, as I have lots of ideas on what I would like to make - mmm the thought of all that delicious soapy freshness scent really makes me want to make soap! We also have a 3D printer in the house, and I really need to do more with that.
Lots of people we speak to, make to sell or make for friends and family. Is there something you made for someone else that you're particularly proud of?
I'm very proud of the two quilts I made for my children's 10th birthday - they chose the colours and fabrics, and I pieced the quilt tops and quilted the layers together. I hadn't been sewing that long so it was a mammoth task to quilt something that size on my little Brother LS14 sewing machine, particularly as I used minky fabric for the backing - it was hard work moving all the heavy layers through the quilt but I did it! :-)
How was The Independent ScanNCutter born?
I bought my first ScanNCut which was the CM900 I think about four years ago - I made lots of mistakes as I went along, and thought it might be helpful to pass on knowledge to other crafters like myself, particularly as I realised the ScanNCut was a FANTASTIC way to save money, particularly as it's so quick and easy to make personalised items compared with machine embroidery, which can be a lengthy time consuming process. I love the ScanNCut because it can be used in conjunction with so many other crafts, and I love to pass that on to people wherever I can :-)
For so many people Making is good for the mind and soul, and we've seen scientific research to back this up? Is this the same for you?
I think different aspects of the making process appeal to different types of crafters - I know if a project is fiddly, it can be quite a stressful process but the sense of satisfaction you get from making an intricate project is amazing! If I need to relax, I'll go off to my craft room and make a few simple and quick projects using my amazing SDX2200D- it really helps me to destress and refocus!
If you were trapped in a cave or on a desert island for a year and you can only take 3 pieces of craft equipment, what would it be and why?
Number one on the list would be a sewing machine - I could hand crank it to repair clothing etc. Number 2 would be spare sewing machine needles. Number 3 would be sewing machine thread. I'm a practical person at heart! PS even I'm shocked I didn't say it would have to be my ScanNCut SDX2200D! (is that a crime?!) - but as I say, I'm a practical person first and foremost!
What's your biggest 'oops' moment? and did you manage to resurrect the make?
I've genuinely had too many 'oops' moments to mention! My biggest one wasn't a make - but it was while making - I was doing a live class and accidently dropped a blade cap into the tool carriage of my brand new ScanNCut SDX2200D- I couldn't retrieve it, so my husband had to come to my aid, live on air, turned the machine upside down and gently shook it out! No damage was done and the machine lived to cut another project, but I was absolutely mortified!
I have a top tip when dealing with 'oops’ on projects - if you have time, put the project to one side and come back to it another day. If you don't, then use some sort of embellishment or applique to cover it up!
How many years have you been making? and if you could go back and give your younger self one bit of advice as she starts her making journey, what would it be?
I've been making in one form or another for about twenty years - starting with bellydance props, before moving into general crafting, sewing and then onto paper craft and vinyl projects. If I could give my younger self a bit of advice it would be to relax and enjoy the making process more, rather than stressing about making every project perfect! And keep your fingers well away from the sewing machine needle while you sew!