Got Craft? Blog


telly designs - feature #18

Name: telly designs by Courtney Johnston
Website links:

What do you make?
I hand make jewelry – necklaces, bracelets, earrings, broaches, whatever I can dream up. I love making simple, graceful pieces as well as loud, colourful shiny things. I recently started making little “indie” baby quilts, but they are fairly renegade as I refuse to follow a pattern.

What or who inspires you?
That is a bigger question than you’d think…but ultimately my mom! She’s a great cook the best seamstress and knitter. Growing up in that environment developed my creative curiosity. Sometimes I’ll be on the bus and someone will be wearing a few colours that I love, or I’ll catch a glimpse of someone’s shoes and it sparks an idea, I always carry a sketchbook so I can scratch out ideas as they come. There is a strong, thriving crafting community in Vancouver which is incredibly inspiring, so many entrepreneurial men and women doing such amazing things, they motivate me on a regular basis.

How did you get started?
I was a very imaginative kid growing up (oddly, that hasn’t changed a bit) and I absolutely loved making things, anything really. Sandwiches in the kitchen, living room dance numbers, toilet paper & scotch tape wedding dresses for my barbies, clothes for myself held together with my dad’s collection of political buttons... (I believe I had a black and white number held together with Joe Clark pins at one point) and I’ve never really stopped making things. I love being in the kitchen, in the garden, and in my apartment studio with a project in front of me.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
Do I really have to choose? I love them all with equal fervor! But really, I adore mixing materials that normally wouldn’t go together, delicate metallic threads with semi-precious stones and freshwater pearls is a part of my “grace” necklace line that I continually love. I’m thinking of new ways to use mixed materials in other pieces as well. I adore vintage fabrics and components that can be re-worked into something new and wearable.

What is the hardest and most favourite part of crafting?
The hardest and best part of crafting: the possibilities are endless. No door is ever shut, you can change and create new and evolving things constantly. Or you can choose to find your square patch of happiness and stay there for a while. I definitely suffer from creative ADD and need to alternate between projects or production. And frequently I’ll try doing something I’ve never done before, make a beta version and see how it goes.

List 5 of your favourite links and why you like them
The Craftzine Blog: awesome and fun ideas, great inspiration, and fabulous procrastination tool.

DollarStore Crafts: my newest read, really fun (and thrifty) ideas, totally rad.

BoingBoing: a compendium of wonderful things, kind of geeky, slightly nerdy, but awesome.

Twitter: a place for me to to connect and stay up to date with my fellow crafters and foodies.

hypemachine: where I go to find new tunes, new artists and killer remixes.

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
I'm still learning myself, but get to know your neighbours in the community! Learn about what they do, be inspired by them, collaborate on new ideas together. It's not a love of money that drives me, it's a love for seeing a client wearing something that I made. That is sheer glee.

Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
The debate will continue on I'm sure, but I'm of the belief that art and craft can be finely intertwined and it's hard to take a definite stance to say what goes where at the risk of diminishing anothers work. Talented people evolve materials into something amazing, the curiosity to see where we can take these raw materials is what moves and motivates us. I would consider it an honour to be called either, but ultimately, I'm a dreamer and a maker.

(photo images courtesy of Chris MacDonald)

If you are interested in being featured, please send us an email at info(at)gotcraft(dot)com.

Check out our past features...

Cabin + Cub - feature #17
Rachel Hobson - feature #16
Green Couch Designs - feature #15
Tanis Alexis - feature #14
Sweetie Pie Press - feature #13
Fibre Manipulator - feature #12
Sam Made - feature #11
All Things Paper - feature #10
Owl + Pussycat - feature #9
Bliss in a teacup - feature #8
It's Your Life - feature #7
Faythe Levine - feature #6
Coco Cake Cupcakes - feature #5
pomomama design - feature #4
GroovyGlassGirl - feature #3
Bueno Style - feature #2
The Beautiful Project - feature #1

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