Beverly and Gale met recently to finesse their two Fiber College workshops—Friday’s Social Media Solar System: Writing and Photography to Keep You in Orbit and Saturday’s Crafting On-Line Shop Product Pages that Pop and chatted about questions posed by Fiber College. Gale is also offering Digital Photo Collages on Sunday morning. There’s still time to sign up for one, two, or all three of their classes!
Who are you? Tell us about your fiber journey.
Gale: I often introduce myself professionally as a commercial photographer who happens to be a knitter. I’ve worked as a professional photographer since college. I’m also a lifelong knitter and maker. I grew up in a family of artists and makers. Everyone knitted, sewed clothing, painted, and made things. We can’t help ourselves! My grandmother owned a dry goods store before I was born, teaching legendary sidewalk knitting lessons. It kills me that I missed those days!
For a long time my professional work as a photographer for magazines and The New York Times rarely intersected my knitting life. I brought the two passions together in the past decade. These days, I spend a great deal of my time photographing books, websites, marketing and advertising imagery for the knitting, sweater, and yarn industry. Although I’ve worked with a wide range of art and craft media, knitting has remained my go-to love. If you visit my professional website www.gzucker.com you’ll see how my worlds have come together.
I should add, apropos to the classes I am teaching at Fiber College with Beverly this year, that I started a knit blog in 2005, called She Shoots Sheep Shots. I can draw a direct line from it to so many amazing opportunities, jobs, friendships, and new directions for my work and art. These days I am active on several social media. They all play a role in my photography and fiber artwork. The Photo Editing class I’ll be teaching on Sunday morning is another example of tying together my professional photography expertise with art & craft. In it, I’ll share how easy it is to make images that look good from your camera become fabulous through online photo editing tools, tricks, and techniques.
Beverly: My love for words and textiles began at about the same time, but it was only once I started my first blog that the two intersected. I learned hairpin lace crochet at about age 7. On a road trip when I was a teen, my gram, Jennie May taught me to crochet delicate doilies. I was an avid quilter in the 1990s, but a move to a small apartment caused me to tuck away my sewing machine. I taught myself to knit in 1997 using an article in Martha Stewart Living. I now have my own studio in the back of the house, which I share with my sewing machine, spinning wheel, and a rigid heddle loom. When I’m not crafting fiber, I craft words.
I teach writing, including digital writing, at a small university, work as a writing consultant and freelance grant writer, and teach creative writing workshops both in person and online. While in New York, I worked in public relations writing internal and external newsletters, press releases, speeches, and other communication pieces. As a grant writer I authored and co-authored grants on all funding levels. My clients have included visual artists, musicians, and non-profit organizations. I have published articles about knitting and crochet in Interweave Crochet, Knitty.com, and The Smart Knitter, and as a ghost writer for other textile artists. My patterns have appeared in Craft Sanity and Madame Defarge Does Shakespeare.
I began blogging in August of 2005 and enjoy sharing my crafts, minimalist fashion projects, book reviews, adventures in the kitchen, and reflections on striving for a meaningful 21st-century life.
What’s integral to your work as an artist?
G: My short answer is my camera and my eyes.
B: My answer is short, too: curiosity.
G: Yes! Curiosity!
What’s your favorite piece of work that you have created?
B: Whatever I’m working on is my favorite, at least until I start to hate it. I’m revising my novel right now, and I love it again, but while it was with my writing consultant, I hated it.
G: Isn’t it interesting how we can look back and think something is worse than it is?
B: Or better!
G: I know. Sometimes the light is great, I’ve had a great time with my clients, working someplace beautiful, and I think the work is going to be my best, but it’s really about my feelings while creating it.
What would your Fiber College students be surprised to know about you?
B: I’m a rule follower.
G: I don’t believe that.
B: It’s true. I’m a rule follower. But I do tend to make my own rules that I have to follow. Here’s something to comfort my students: I am a terrible speller. I can’t hold i-before-e and other such rules in my head! How about you, Gale?
G: I’ll share a silly one. I am the queen of parallel parking, but I can’t back out straight! Also, students might be surprised by some of the places my work has appeared. Forbes sent me to the White House for a day. And I’ve also worked in a prison.
B: Me, too! I taught in a prison college program for a year.
How do you manage/balance your work self and your creative self?
G: There is no balance.
B: So true. It’s all the same. It’s a matter of doing what needs doing at any given moment.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
G: Don’t work cheap. Early in my career I was told that if I work good and also cheap, I would be the person clients called when their budget is low, but they’d call someone else when they get a bigger budget. My business plan when I started was just to get work, but that is different now.
B: I used to write anything. Now I limit myself to work that I enjoy doing.
What was the best advice you’ve gotten?
B: Last summer while hiking with my dogs, I met a woman in her 80s. I told her how much I admired her for being out in the woods, how I wanted to be just like her. She said, “you’ve got to keep moving or you won’t be able to move.” I love that her wisdom applies to physical movement, as well as creative movement.
G: Right. You have to be there for work to show up. Isn’t that 90% of life? Showing up?
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