watercolor pencil

Tools & Talismans #79 — Cal Patch

I get very attached to objects; most of my tools are to some degree talismans as well, often handmade by someone I know. In the photo are my Gingher shears — I use these almost every day, to cut (only!) fabric. I've had them nearly 30 years, since college. A few years ago I crocheted around the handle to make them more comfortable when cutting a lot.

There's a plaid tomato pincushion I made — one of several pincushions I use. It was meant to be sold at a fair, until my pup Pippi chewed on it and it had to be adopted. Secretly I'm glad, because otherwise I wouldn't have kept one. The candy tin is a portable sewing kit; I try to never be without a needle and thread.

I treasure my wooden crochet hooks, handmade by friends, woodworkers Linda + Stephen Willette. They are always my first choice to use for my projects. I feel that using handmade tools imbues an extra bit of love and magic into the pieces I make. I have a lot of plants in my studio; watering and fussing over them is a ritual that helps me transition into making mode. A few months ago I started a bunch of baby succulents from some of my bigger plants, and I'm obsessed with watching them grow!

The crochet-covered stone was made by Margie Oomen and is one of my most prized and special possessions. I used to keep it tucked away in a cabinet, but lately I use it as a pattern weight so that I see it and interact with it more often. You could say it's a talisman that's become a tool.

And finally, the needle book was made by my friend Rebecca RIngquist. I keep it filled with embroidery floss and needles, so that I'm always prepared to put a touch of stitchery on anything, anywhere, at any time!

Cal Patch considers herself a Maker of Clothing, Crochet Crusader, and Textile Arts Teacher.

Tools & Talismans #70 — Marie Perkins

1. Digital Radio: This is an Orla Kiely digital radio that my family bought me as a birthday gift.  I find working on a laptop all day, whether designing or blogging, you cannot watch anything as you can rarely look up from your work, so sound is essential instead. I listen to the radio a lot during the day to inform me of the news and of course for music. I listen to a mixture of BBC Radio 2, 6Music, and Five Live.

2. Digital Camera: I have around 4 of these particular cameras which I use for taking ‘Store snaps’ (a regular Print & Pattern feature where I photograph what is new in the shops). The camera is old but despite purchasing more modern cameras these Konica Minoltas never let me down. They are discreet and shoot in very low lighting without blurring.

3 and 4. Bowie Mug and Cadbury's Flake: Tea break is always a happy part of the day for me. The David Bowie mug is part of a series where I am collecting all my musical heroes from the personalised pottery range by Emma Bridgewater where you can have any name you like hand painted onto a mug. I was so lucky that through Print & Pattern I was able to tour the Bridgewater factory in Stoke-on-Trent with Emma herself. After being a fan for years this was a real treat. I use it for tea and never drink coffee. Cadbury's Flake is my chocolate bar of choice, and in 2013 I also found out it was one of the things my hero David Bowie missed most about England.

5. Notebook: I get through lots of notebooks and love to change them with the fashions. This current one is a favourite with it's neon pink triangles and was from Tesco.

6. List Pad: I am super forgetful so writing lists of tasks to achieve everyday is a must. This one if from Paperchase and was a little free gift given to all the journalists at their last press show.

7. Pencils and Pen: I always write and draw with a Paper Mate Flair (a sharp black felt tip) as I really dislike using ballpoints and biros. My current pencils were purchased at the theatre in London and are from the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.

8. David Bowie postcard: I have this framed on my windowsill. It's a reproduction of a 1970's car bumper sticker and was purchased at the David Bowie is... Exhibition at the V&A in London in 2013. Bowie lived his life with a constant creative aesthetic and I have been inspired by him all my life to keep creating and changing style with the times. I also love a good pseudonym to hide behind and so did David.

— Marie Perkins aka Bowie Style is the author of the Print & Pattern blog and series of books.

Tools & Talismans #66 — Catherine McIntyre

I use the camera every day — it’s looking a little the worse for wear now, having been dropped and splattered in body paint from nude shoots. I back up the day’s work onto the hard drive every night (I have three more, all identical — very belt and braces). The most personal item here is the necklace, which I always wear. The rings belonged to two of our greyhounds; they wore them on their collars. The fossil is from Charmouth beach - my favorite place in the world, the one place where I never worry — and I wear it in the hope that it will ensure my return.

Catherine McIntyre is an artist and author. 

Tools & Talismans #64 — Alisha Sommer

The beauty of simple rituals. I don't know that I ever really thought about each individual item and how they in turn help create the structure of my day. But the first thing I do, before I even begin making my warm water with lemon, is light some incense. It sits on the windowsill and curls in front of my nose while I slice and peel and gather the lunches for the children. This mug is one of many that floats around the house and in the car—never empty. As much as the burning of incense signifies the beginning of a new day, so does the first cup of coffee. And it's usually integral to the first photograph I take each day. Which leads me to the camera. I've had it for just a year now and it is incredible how big of a piece it's played in my creative life. It has not only changed the way I see the world, but taking pictures has also made me a better writer — really, a better everything. These Pilot G2 pens with a medium point are the only pens I write with. They are inexpensive but the ink is good and smooth. Any other pen just won't do when it comes to translating the heart. And then this leather bound journal. I buy them from Barnes & Noble 3 at a time. The leather is strong and the interior pages are this antique white color and thick and unlined which allows for all kinds of dreams and ideas and feelings to be captured.

Alisha Sommer is a Freelance Writer & Photographer, Seeker of Beauty & Light

Tools & Talismans #61 — Eva Stattine

I practice a form of Biodynamic Acupuncture and Craniosacral therapy. The Tools that I use for my practice are, beautifully, also Talismans that represent everything I love and stand for within myself and my life. I believe that the greatest gift we have to give the world is to be ourselves, authentically, boldly, perfectly imperfect. I believe that it is only through the experience and expression of our true authentic self that we can fulfill our personal destiny. The Tools I use, are used with the intention of activating and clearing the path towards our truest self and our most vibrant, indwelling health and wholeness.

Acupuncture needles: access our source of health and open up blocked Flow (everything's gotta FLOW!).

Medicinal Essential Oils and Herbs: revitalize, strengthen, clear stagnation and balance our bodies.

Crystals: radiate the magical, mystical, beautiful, powerful force to heal, enhance and harmonize.

Pendulum: enhances and supports knowledge and intuition.

Sage and Palo Santo: aid the process of clearing what is being released and metabolized, energetically and physically.

-Eva Stattine L.Ac., acupuncturist, craniosacral therapist and nutritional counselor