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Shadow top Author interview: Hazel Blomkamp

Author interview: Hazel Blomkamp

Read the first in our series of author interviews. Join us on Facebook and post your embroidery questions for Hazel to answer. Enjoy!

Hazel Blomkamp has dabbled with all the needlecrafts since childhood. When her children were babies she developed a passion for embroidery to break the tedium of life with toddlers, using it as her evening reward for having got through the day with her sanity intact. We interview the author of Crewel twists to find out what else makes her tick ...

Do you have a favourite author? Why?
I’m a voracious reader and I know that the Kindle and the iPad are the best inventions to have come out in the last few years.  I read a wide variety of books from fiction, through mysteries to non-fiction.  If I read something I enjoy, I make it my business to get more books from that author and have worked my way through Elizabeth George, Ruth Rendell, Maeve Binchey, Joanne Trollop, Lionel Shriver and many others.  Currently I’m working my way through Jojo Moyes and enjoying her novels.  On the non-fiction side, whenever Malcolm Gladwell publishes something new I am first in line to get it.  In find his books ‘un-put-downable’.  I don’t buy a lot of craft or embroidery books because I don’t want to be influenced in what I do, or be tempted to copy anyone else’s work.  Mostly I will buy books that give techniques rather than projects, so if I buy anything it will be stitch guides and the like.

Do you like to travel? What is your favourite destination?
I do enjoy travelling, but never seem to do it for pleasure, only for teaching and attending Conventions.  If I’m travelling within South Africa I prefer to drive myself, enjoying the scenery and interesting towns along the way and there are not many places in this country that I haven’t visited.  As far as overseas travel is concerned, I’m always keen for the next adventure which usually involves some sort of craft or embroidery event in some far-flung place.  I’ve just returned from my third trip to Australia and will be back out there next year, along with going to New Zealand, and will be going to Australia again in 2014.  Although in the early stages of planning, Di van Niekerk and I will probably be travelling to Kiev for an event in October this year.  We usually travel together on these sorties.  We get on well with one another and it’s nice to have a chum along with you when you are in a foreign country.  Someone to laugh with and moan with.  What we don’t enjoy is the long haul flights to get to wherever we’re going, but unfortunately that’s part of the deal.  My favourite destination is always home.  No matter where you go, it is always nice to come home to family, dogs and familiarity.

How did you first become interested in crafts?
I’ve been interested in crafts, particularly the needlecrafts, for all of my life.  Over the years I’ve tried just about everything – except pottery, strangely enough – and have also spent time involved in the theatre and music world.  There is such an overlap between anything creative and I was never going to become a scientist or mathematician.  I just wasn’t.  A curtain comes down over my brain when it comes to that.  Not interested, can’t do.

What craft do you specialise in, or are you a multi-crafter?
My speciality is definitely hand embroidery – more specifically Jacobean embroidery, but I also do quite a bit of off-loom bead weaving.  If I’m stuck on a long-haul flight or am somewhere with bad lighting, I crochet!  I’ve been trying to build a 3-storey doll’s house for years because the whole world of miniatures fascinates me but at the moment that is going nowhere.  I simply don’t have the time to devote to it.

What other hobbies do you have? 
Hobbies?  What are those?  I turned mine into a business and now I don’t have time for a hobby.  I do enjoy my dogs though and perhaps walking and training them can be classified as my other hobby.

What is the most interesting crafted object you have ever seen? 
Phew.  Now you’re asking?  Recently I saw a stand at Hobby X with exquisitely crafted eggs that had been studded with crystals and used as necklaces.  Really nicely done and a bit Faberge in character.  Those were interesting.  And of course, the painting that caused all the controversy and was hanging in the Goodman Gallery before it was defaced, would have been interesting to see!

Posted in Authors, Embroidery,
Written by: Metz Press - 25 May 2012
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Shadow bottom Author interview: Hazel Blomkamp