Craft Britannia Shop of The Week #35, PerfectImp
Perfect Imperfections is our current CraftBritannia Shop of the Week , home to stunning friendship bracelets and key chains. Meet their maker in our interview and hear how inspiring embroidery thread can be.
Describe your “typical” working day or week
I have a full-time day job alongside my little Etsy shop – but it’s the most boring job in the world, so my Etsy shop really keeps me going! During the week, whilst on my work breaks, I tend to spend lots of my time talking to different people in the Etsy teams. I love playing the games and getting involved with the treasury challenges, and I know it’s good promotion for all of us. In the evenings I really get to work on my friendship bracelets. I absolutely love cuddling up on my corner couch, under a blanket, with my sewing lamp shining over my shoulder, putting on a good film or a good box set, and knotting away for hours 🙂
When you are not doing Etsy related things, what are you doing?
I love dancing! I’ve been dancing all my life, from ballroom and ballet to hip-hop and street. I love the buzz of performing on stage, and it keeps me in shape which is good because my other love is baking! My boyfriend and I are quite a team in the kitchen – he does the main course and I do the pudding. We love watching cookery shows together and getting experimental with different techniques, spices and flavours.
What was the first piece you ever sold?
Hmmm…..the first piece I ever sold on Etsy was a Pink and Purple Macramé Friendship Bracelet. It nearly didn’t make it into the shop because I almost kept it for myself! It was a striking piece, where the colours graduated into each other and flowed through the bracelet. This design has been so successful that each time I make it, in different colours, it flies off the virtual shelf. I have just finished a green one which will be hitting my shop shortly.
What advice would you give someone taking up your craft for the first time?
Friendship bracelets use a technique called micro macramé, which is made up of a series of tiny knots going in different directions and using different colours to make a pattern. You need a lot of time and a lot of patience to make each bracelet. Using this technique can literally take 6 hours to complete one bracelet, which many people don’t appreciate because we are all too used to the cheap machine-made friendship bracelets that are sold commercially.
Some of us will have tried to make a friendship bracelet when we were teenagers, using embroidery thread, but if you were anything like me they tended to just be stripes of colour, and probably had a few holes in it where we had missed a knot or two! But with patience, practice, learning to hold tension in the strings, using good quality embroidery thread and experimenting with different colour schemes, these friendship bracelets can truly be a work of art. That is what I strive for in my shop 🙂
What material do you most enjoy working with?
I love embroidery thread, and always have done. I remember when I was about 12 years old, visiting some relatives of my Mum who owned a craft shop. I can pinpoint my obsession with embroidery thread from the afternoon when I first stepped into their shop. The colours of the thread literally danced across the walls, every colour you could possibly dream up was right there to get lost in! I begged my mum to get some, and she happily indulged. I learnt to cross stitch from my Mum’s relatives, and from there I experimented with tapestry, embroidery, hair braiding, and weaving before falling in love with macramé.
Tell us about what inspires and motivates you
My enjoyment of my craft is probably my biggest motivator. If at any point I stopped enjoying micro macrame I would probably close my Etsy shop down, but to be honest I can’t see that happening anytime soon! The other thing that really motivates me is feedback. I’m part of an international community of friendship bracelet makers and designers, and we regularly publish photos of our work and comment, critique and encourage each other. The feedback I get from them, and from my buyers on Etsy, definitely keeps me going and fills me with such a buzz when people really love my work 🙂
What plans do you have for your shop in the future?
I have recently been experimenting with lace making using a technique called tatting. I am hoping that soon I will feel confident enough to put up some items in my shop, and I will expand my bracelet and keychain collection to include earrings and pendants as well. I can’t wait!!