This past weekend the lovely and inspiring Amber Williams invited us into her home to take a look at her creative space and see her current works in progress. What did we learn? She is basically a crafting genius and every inch of her small, eclectic home is filled with handmade touches and inspiration spilling out of every corner. She has her hand in almost any craft we can think of and on top of it all she is an accomplished painter to boot. Basically, there are not enough hours in the day to express how awesome we think she is, but we wanted to share a little sliver of our stimulating visit with you. We just know you are going to love Amber as much as we do.
Hey! My name is Amber and I'm from a little town called Beebe, Arkansas but I've lived in Denver, Colorado for almost five years now. I got my bachelor’s degree in fine art from Arkansas Tech University and I've been a maker ever since I can remember. Lately, I've been focused on being intentional with my making process and being present with my clothing and art. I feel most like myself when I'm making something, so it's been exciting to see both my projects and myself evolve. Basically, I'm just a lady who wants to learn how things are put together.
Tell us a little about your creative self. What inspires you to create?
I find inspiration in all kinds of places! I often find colors and textures draw my attention and then I branch off from there. Even when I don't think I'm looking for it something will catch my eye and I'll start turning over ideas on how to incorporate that in my work. Like recently I've been making clothes in tones of burnt sienna and I realized that it's similar to the color of Ponderosa pine bark and the sandstone in Utah which is the subject matter of some of my paintings. I also feel incredibly encouraged by the Slow Fashion Movement. Once I learned that people were making their own clothes from locally sourced materials AND it was better for the environment I was hooked. It's amazing to me that people are taking skills that have been passed down to them and with those skills they're changing their way of life to better our earth, economy and themselves.
Kierson Cardian by Rebecca Blair in Stone Wool Cormo Worsted
Tell us about the person/people who taught you to do what you do.
A lot of my making skills come from my mom and Nanny who was my paternal grandmother. My Nanny was very artistic and made countless paintings, crocheted baby blankets and sewing projects. She always encouraged all of her grandkids to be creative. I remember her having a wall of drawings and things that we all had made her in her little craft room. I didn't learn to knit from her though, I actually learned in college when someone hosted a knit night. My roommate Rebekah and I had never done it before, so we bought supplies and made lumpy scarves together! Mine was terrible but I was so proud of it! I was very fortunate to have a wonderful high school art teacher that encouraged me to go to school for art and all my professors in college taught me invaluable skills that I still practice today.
How do you identify most? An artist, a maker, a craftsperson, etc.
I identify as all of those! I wish there was a word that encapsulated each of those titles equally. Sometimes it seems that certain abilities are valued over the other when it takes just as much effort and time to make both and that bums me out. All creative outlets are wonderful and worthy of celebration!
What is the one thing you are most proud of from this year?
Having the courage to be more involved in the creative community here in Denver has been a huge step for me. I consider myself an introvert so moving somewhere I didn't know anyone except my husband was hard at first. But when I put myself out there I've found wonderful people that also enjoy making things! Like at the Fancy Tiger Craft Night! I'm super thankful to have found a space where I can meet new crafty friends and learn from them.
Do you like to plan out your upcoming projects or do you wait for inspiration to strike?
I am definitely a planner. I usually have a project in mind by the time I'm finishing up the current project. I try to keep myself from buying one skein or one yard of fabric otherwise I will end up with a bunch of hats and pillows which I already have plenty of. I also have a list of favorites on Ravelry and lots of sewing patterns at home that I go through for ideas.
Between sewing, knitting, embroidery, and painting you seem to do it all! Are there any crafts/skills you are still hoping to tackle?
Always! I would love to learn how to spin yarn on a wheel, it's mesmerizing to watch! I also want to learn how to weave on a loom and sew with knit fabric. Stretchy things are way outside of my comfort zone at the moment. After seeing the Alabama Chanin trunk show a couple of weeks ago it made me rethink knit/jersey fabrics all together. It seems that you would have more control with a hand stitched pattern. Maybe that will be the way I learn to work with it.
Cotton fiber from Amber's local town she plans on spinning
What does your “creative space” look like?
My creative space is usually a mess while I'm working on something but then I like to put it all back in order after my project is finished. I really enjoy getting up early in the morning to work on my projects. Usually, that's my quiet time so I'll drink tea and play Legend of Zelda soundtracks in the background that way it's nothing with lyrics. When I work on things in the evening I like to watch things I've seen a bunch, so I can focus mostly on the craft at hand. Some of those include The Office, Parks and Rec, and any of the Harry Potter or the Hobbit/ Lord of the Rings movies.
What is your favorite thing about Denver?
I love so many things about living in Denver! First and foremost are the wonderful people I've met especially through crafting. It's refreshing to be part of a community that is so excited to welcome new creative people. I also love that we are within a short drive away from the mountains. Just inside our state we have Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Sand Dunes N.P. and Colorado National Monument to name a few of my favorites. We are incredibly fortunate to have such beautiful, wild places in our backyard.
Who are a few crafters/makers you find most inspirational?
Wow, there are countless crafters that inspire me every day! Obviously Amber and Jamie are amazing, seriously thank you two so much for making Fancy Tiger a thing! I can't imagine the work it took to build what you have. I'm also a fan of Jen Beeman and her company Grainline Studio. Although I've never met her in real life I love using her sewing patterns and seeing her beautiful knitted projects on Instagram. Allie Olson of Indie Sew, Adrianna Appl of Hey June Handmade are also inspiring designers and makers. I could go on for days! Across the board, these ladies lift the craft world up and I admire them for their hard work and dedication.
If you would like to keep up with Amber latest makes follow her on Instagram @plumlovelie or check out her knitting dreams on Ravelry. Also, keep your eyes peeled for her upcoming art exhibit down the street from Fancy Tiger at Metropolis Coffee.