First, a bit about the book, as stated on the back cover:
|Mary Brooks Picken|
Amy Barickman: For more than 20 years, I have been collecting vintage textiles, illustrations, ephemera and more. About 7 or 8 years ago, I stumbled upon some “Inspiration” newsletters from the 1920s produced by Mary Brooks Picken and the Woman’s Institute. I knew immediately that I had not simply stumbled upon a treasure-trove of wisdom, but found a kindred spirit in Mary. Mary’s sole purpose, which resonated so deeply with me, was to educate women, encourage their entrepreneurial spirit, and elevate the value of their work. This is what I have sought to do my entire career and why Mary has come to mean so much to me.
SMA: What do you feel is the most important lesson that we can learn from Mary Brooks Picken?
AB: I could go on and on about the lessons that Mary taught generations of women. At the core, however, is the notion that we should all consistently strive to live a contented and gracious life. To Mary, this meant finding fulfillment through creativity--even if it’s the simple act of baking cookies for a neighbor. It also includes finding one’s own sense of style and fashion or in being able to take care of yourself and your family in more fulfilling ways. Essentially, contentment comes when you’ve found your own creative voice and can use it in your daily life.
SMA: How has Mary Brooks Picken inspired you specifically?
AB: Mary made me look at my career as an entrepreneur and inspired me to get back to what I’ve always found the greatest fulfillment in--helping and encouraging others to discover their creativity. She inspired me to be a better teacher and showed me the value of sharing your life, loves and creativity with someone else or a group of like-minded folks. Personally, she reinforced my commitment to my family and in making sure I nurture my own creativity too!
SMA: Do you have a particular favorite project that is shared in Vintage Notions?
AB: The Fabric Flower from the April Chapter is easily my favorite. It’s an extremely versatile project that’s easy to make as well as being attractive. In fact, as I’m out and about promoting the book, you’ll often see me wearing one of the many I’ve made.
SMA: You've contributed so much to the handmade world, including this fabulous book -- what can we look forward to next?
AB: As I mentioned earlier, I am dedicating 2011 to refocusing on teaching and education. I genuinely hope that more women (and men too!) will discover their creativity through the fabric arts, whether it be fashion sewing, quilting, or cross stitch...it doesn’t matter. To that end, we are currently in production on dozens of instructional videos you’ll be able to watch on IndygoJunction.com--everything from adding grommets and creating bias tape by hand to using stencils and taking accurate measurements.
You’ll also see a ton of new patterns at Indygo Junction, more Vintage Notion-inspired posts on my blog at AmyBarickman.com and, while it’s still a little too early to give-a-way too much detail...we’re going to be significantly expanding The Vintage Workshop. I can’t say too much yet, but we’re expanding the categories of items we carry, bringing in some of unbelievably talented artists to share their work and becoming more of an educational resource for folks who love vintage and want to expand their creative horizons. It’s all very exciting (and exhausting)!
Thank you, Amy! I hope you all enjoyed hearing from Amy as much as I did. I promise that this book does not disappoint. It far exceeded my (high) expectations, and is a fabulous book for women both old (not that any of you are old, of course) and young.
You can go here to purchase Vintage Notions, and Amy is even giving Sew Much Ado readers a 20% discount with the code "SLB"!