Maine, United States

Making / FAUNA Contributor Spotlight: Beatrice Perron Dahlen
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Making / FAUNA Contributor Spotlight: Beatrice Perron Dahlen

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Making would not be what it is without all of the talented artists who contribute projects to it's pages.  Meet Beatrice Perron Dahlen who designed the Bee Embroidery and Tote for this issue.

Tell us how you got started in your craft.

I have been sewing since I was a child. We were a military family and traveled a lot. My first memory of handwork was watching my mother embroider french knots on a particularly long car ride. Mesmerized, I watched her make those tiny knots over and over again. When I asked if I could try she began to show me how to do it and I shooed her away. So entranced was I that I'd learned just by watching her. As I grew older my mother and my grandmother taught me how to sew. My grandmother bought me my first sewing machine when I was 16 and from then on I spent all my free time sewing. It was around the same time that my husband (high school sweetheart) taught me to knit. Right now he's knitting my Town-O hat pattern from Fauna! He's made one for our son and is working on one for our daughter.

Tell us about a challenge in your making that you've had to overcome.

I can't follow directions. In fact, I used to get in trouble for not following the directions on my worksheets in second grade. I would have to stand on the fence at recess. Things haven't changed much - just ask my studio mates who tease me and tell me to read the directions! I know they are right... sometimes. But in a sense this is how I began writing knitting patterns. I couldn't follow directions, so I wrote my own! I do try though, every once in a while to follow someone else's pattern. It's still a challenge.

If you were going to create something just for fun today, what would it be?

Some essential wardrobe pieces! With so much of my handwork time revolving around producing knitting patterns my personal crafting time is very limited. Lately, whenever I can I have been trying to carve out some sewing time for myself to fill in some wardrobe gaps. I've also been dyeing (he he, pun intended) to try working with indigo as I've come to really enjoy natural dyeing.

If you could collaborate with three people, who would they be and why?

How could I choose three? There are so many talented folk out there! I have had a dream for a long time to create a collaborative book with my favorite designers from Maine. I'm finally working on the final stages of this project, which include projects from Carrie Bostick Hoge, Cecily Glowik MacDonald, Bristol Ivy, Mary Jane Mucklestone, Alicia Plummer, Leila Raabe, Elizabeth Smith, Kristen Tendyke, Leah B. Thibault and of course, myself. I'm so excited about each project, and most of all - about finishing it and getting it out into the world!

Thank you, Bea!