Step in and meet Tracy Hester, the talent behind Baby Next Boutique, this week's ArtFire featured artisan.
When and how did you first become interested in crafting?
I've been crafting since I can remember...when I was little, I'd spend a lot of time at my Grandma's house and we'd sit and embroider and cross stitch together. She'd buy us a pizza and we'd drink chocolate Shasta, Yuk. I never did like that stuff, but I drank it anyway, only I love my gran so much, I didn't want to disappoint her. She taught me patience with crafting and I give her credit for instilling this in me today.
How long have you been creating your chosen craft?
My passion today is both the Victorian art of Crochet and the Native art of Basketry. Crochet was taught to me by my Sister-in-law about 7 years ago, and I took to it quickly and have yet to be able to put down my many hooks...yarn is such a soft, warm and relaxing medium, I just love it. My other love I've been creating since 1985. I learned the basics of Basketry in High School and have evolved from there into what I make today. Jute is a natural plant from Australia and it smells delicious. I wrap it up with colorful yarns and adorn some of them with beads too. I also make my Coaster Sets in this medium.
What are your crafting influences?
My crafting influences are all over the place...I see art everywhere I go and get inspired by nature, kids, animals, fashion and just about anything I happen upon..I also love to go to antique and thrift shops, to get influenced by older items, and make retro-looking things.
Does anyone in your family do a similar craft?
I come from a family of artisans..My gran, my mom, she paints, my dad is a photographer. My husband and daughter are both cartoonists. I am surrounded by arts and crafts and love it.
What kinds of places have you displayed your craft in your life?
My crafts have gone to many good homes over the years. My family collects some of my earlier pieces and I've sold all over the world these past 3 years. I've also done some smaller craft fairs and have placed some of my work in local flower shops and stained-glass shops.
What else do you do besides create these beautiful pieces?
Other than my craft life, I spend my days at home with my two bunnies, and work in a pet shop.
What is your favorite piece that you have created so far?
Well, I have always said this...my greatest creation to date, my lovely daughter. My work is my passion. I am not happy without a crochet hook and darning needle in hand. Yarn speaks to me, and if you bring me anywhere near a yarn shop, I must go in and not leave empty handed. I think my Baskets and Coaster Sets are unique in the on-line shopping world, and they have been my biggest seller to date, on another selling site, and hope to get them popular among the ArtFire community as well. I do have a couple of ‘collectors’, people that can\'t seem to get enough of them. I have one lady, my good friend and artist who has them all over her home. It makes my heart smile to know my work is appreciated by others.
What is special about your pieces?
I feel my crafts are both colorful and functional and take special care into making each piece. I also design all of my own pieces, some of which I write patterns for, and some that are completely one-of-a-kind. I know that makes them special and I love to share my vision with as many others as I can.
See more lovely creations by Tracy at: