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Making No. 6 / BLACK & WHITE: An interview with Sanae Ishida
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Making No. 6 / BLACK & WHITE: An interview with Sanae Ishida

· · Comments

Enjoy an interview with Sanae Ishida! She designed the Needle Felted Animal Masks for Making No. 6 / BLACK & WHITE.

Tell us about your craft?

I actually love all types of crafts and consider myself a maker of all things, though I've focused most on sewing and watercolors in that last few years.

How did you get started?

I've been fiddling with various crafts since I was a little kid. I remember taking a rug-hooking class in elementary school and totally geeking out about it. I made so many rugs! It's satisfying to see that rug-hooking is somewhat in the limelight these days. I've been drawing and painting since I could hold a brush and pencil and it's so wonderful that I get to do it professionally now. Although my mom tried to teach me sewing and knitting at an early age, it wasn't until I gave birth to my daughter at the age of 35 that I immersed myself in sewing. I dabbled a bit in knitting too, but sewing was definitely more my style. 

Where does your heart lie?

With an almond latte and a journal in a coffee shop. It's my happiest place. Journaling keeps me sane and connected to myself, and I've learned that if I don't take care of myself first, I can't take care of anything else.

What does the heritage of your craft mean to you?

I'm drawn to utilitarian, age-old crafts and apparel sewing in particular. It's just so...useful, you know? Outfitting ourselves has been essential since cave people thought, "Hey, maybe we should cover our loins and figure out how not to freeze to death in the frigid winters!" I'm sure that's exactly what their grunts to each other meant.

Tell us a story about something that’s happened with a project.

I know I've mentioned this before and though it's not related to a specific project it remains one of the most incredible moments for me. A few years ago, I saw that Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy had contributed to a brand new magazine called Making and I was immediately smitten. I wondered, "How do I contribute to that beautiful publication??" and looked it up online. Unfortunately, it was clear that Making wasn't accepting unsolicited submissions so I let it go. Within a week, Carrie of Making contacted ME. She had just purchased a copy of Sewing Happiness and wondered if I might be interested in contributing. Magic.

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

Oh my gosh, I hadn't realized there was a lot of controversy surrounding white tigers when I designed the mask for the issue. I saw a photo when I was researching animals and just thought it was so beautiful. I don't know if this counts as a challenge, but it was an oversight on my part not to research it more thoroughly! I've decided not to get hung about it and take full responsibility for not being more aware - there have been naturally occurring white tigers that weren't bred in crazy ways in the past so I hope we can focus on that.

Share a project, either past present or future that you are especially proud of. 

All my books! The fox pillow I made for FAUNA is also one of my all-time favorites.

What role does black and white play in your making?

I love neutral colors in general and use black and white frequently for clothes and various sewing projects.

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

Cat toys. We recently adopted a kitten and I'm obsessed. She's the cutest thing ever.

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

 1. Keiko Oikawa, the UK-based Japanese food photographer. Her work is absolutely stunning and I have a secret hope to work on a Japanese cookbook one day.

2. David Sedaris. I got to meet him at one of his book reading events and he is incredibly charming and sweet. We started talking about sewing and he marveled that I made my own jeans (thanks to Heather of Closet Case Patterns; I wear the Morgan and Ginger jeans all the time) -- I'd never been prouder of my handmade wardrobe! I'm not sure how we would collaborate but he would be a lot of fun to work with!

3. Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou. She's so amazing and I've been a fan of hers since 2007, when I first discovered blogs. I love her simple, stylish and organic aesthetic and terrific attention to detail.

What materials get you the most excited to make?

Beautiful linens in muted colors.

What excites your about the project you designed for Making? 

I like the graphic quality that black and white evoke. I also wanted to add a surreal, mysterious quality -- the black butterfly mask brings to mind a masquerade ball, don't you think? Although a white tiger may have some controversy surrounding it as I mentioned earlier, I was thinking about enchanting and unusual creatures when designing the white tiger. I hope it gets interpreted that way!

Any helpful links to online resources that might help makers create your project? 

If you google "needle felting", there are some great videos that cover the basics.

What other types of making find their way into your days?

I'm constantly working on different projects that usually involve sewing and illustrations and I do a lot of cooking and photography too. I also love to rearrange and organize my house, pretending that I'm an interior decorator.

What are you currently making/knitting right now?

Another sewing book! It'll be out in 2020 and it's been SO fun!

If your craft would send a message to the world, what would it be?

Mistakes and imperfections are awesome. Mistakes are some of the best ways to learn, and imperfections train me to be much gentler with myself and not to take things too seriously.