Interview: Noreen Crone-Findlay

In my travels as a blogger I’ve come across many fantastic folks, and Noreen Crone-Findlay certainly falls into that category! She’s incredibly creative and talented, and I never cease to be inspired by what she has to say. Noreen has a new book out now called The Woven Bag: 30+ Projects from Small Looms (Writers Digest Guides).

The publishing industry is changing and like many authors, Noreen has self-published and also worked with a traditional publisher. Authors have many choices today, and for some projects (and writers) one method may be preferred over another. Noreen talks about that, crafts, and blogging. I know you’re going to love her advice to writers at the end. By the way, the first part of Noreen’s interview is over at Frugal Home. She talks about creativity, crafts, and life. It’s a nice accompaniment to this interview. Enjoy!

Tell us about The Woven Bag.

I am a passionate small loom weaver. Small looms are accessible because they are portable, easily stored, and affordable. You can take some of them with you when you are out and about, so it means that you can weave in ‘stolen moments’.

I also love bags of all descriptions, so designing more than 35 bags for this book was pure pleasure.

What level of crafter is the book geared toward? Can people of all skill levels find projects in this book?

I wanted the book to be like a primer of small loom weaving techniques. My goal for it was for it to be a series of workshops that were nestled between the covers.

I was very focused on inspiring entry level weavers and knitters, and crocheters to sample some new techniques, and to think outside the box with their approaches to yarn crafts. BUT, it was also important to me to offer complexity and inspiration to seasoned weavers, as well.

I have been working with small looms for decades and have developed some innovative ways of working with small looms that really increase the creative potential of small looms. It’s essential to recognize that small looms do not limit the size of the finished project that is created with them. Small looms have been historically used to create modules that are then stitched together. That opens a world of exhilarating design possibilities!

I adore the humble potholder loom, and it delights me to have created ways of working with it that are completely deliciously complex. Just because a loom is small and square and thought of as being a child’s loom doesn’t mean that we need to stay stuck with that way of working!

You’ve been a successful blogger and author for many years now. What do you enjoy about blogging? About writing books?

I love the immediacy of blogging. To be able to ask my readers what they want and then to respond to them immediately is awe inspiring!

For instance, I asked them whether they wanted paper books or eBooks and pdf. Hands down, the response was a huge vote in favour of pdf’s and eBooks. I wish I had asked that before I had bought a heap of now unused equipment! LOL!

I also love learning new technologies to support my authorship. I am now working on including little video tutorials in some of my patterns – only people who buy the pattern have access to those videos. I think that multimedia approaches to book creation is essential now, and it’s thrilling to have the technology that supports that!

I love books because they allow me to create a cohesive body of work that is an extensive exploration of a specific technique or cluster of techniques. It’s intoxicatingly delicious to immerse myself in an extended design process. I also love the balance of the intuitive, imaginative design part of the projects for the book, as well as the intense complexities of pattern writing, editing, formatting, and ‘engineering’ side of the book production.

Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?

I am working on more books of designs of small loom weaving projects, as well as a complicated multi-faceted, multi-media project. My son is a film maker, and he and I want to work on several series of how to DVD’s and and and…..

I like the balance of self publishing at the same time as working with a mainstream publisher. We shall see what happens in the publishing industry. The recession has hit publishing hard, so we are all scrambling to rise to the challenges that that presents.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

Well, that question stopped me in my tracks…. I am a voracious reader and read across a wide range of topics. I really love poetry, so if I had to live with just one small shelf of books, certainly The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: A Poetry Anthology edited by Robert Bly, James Hillman and Michael Meade would be on it. I would also need to have the complete works of Jane Austen, Beatrix Potter, Terry Pratchett, Rumi, Mary Oliver, Pema Chodron, A. A. Milne and and and and and….

I think I finally decided that truly the most interesting book has to be the dictionary as my first choice. (I just found a wonderful little hardcover pocket dictionary from the forties with line drawings- I love it), and my second choice is probably one of my most favorite books of all time- it’s a small hard cover book of line drawings of plants, animals and insects. I constantly refer to it when I am designing. It was given to my husband when he was a little boy, and he gave it to me. It’s a treasure.

And, speaking of treasures, I also dearly love my Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology. I bought it second hand (it was already old old old) when I was a teenager, and have loved it well and long!

Book you’re currently reading?

I am always reading one or another Terry Pratchett, and I am reading a book about Sacred Geometry, as well as Pema Chodron’s ‘The places that scare you’. Just finished re-reading Lucy Boston’s Children of Green Know series, and my husband found a wonderful complete works of Jane Austen (I still have the first Jane Austen that I bought when I was 11 years old). The new ‘complete’ version weighs a ton, and is a great ‘pile up the pillows and bend your knees up to support it in bed’ book. A friend just gave us a copy of Pablo Neruda’s Love Sonnets, so I am immersed in them. Talk about visual and visceral writing! Delicious…. simply delicious.

In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?

That the passion they feel for what they write about simply pulses through their book/s.

Where can we learn more about you?

Facebook page for The Woven Bag:

Anything else you’d like to add?

I wrote my first and so far, only novel, when I was 7 years old. I wrote a story that my Grade 2 teacher liked, and she said that she would give me as much paper as I wanted, if only I would keep writing the story…. I was hooked. I drank up that paper and just kept writing and writing. By the end of the year, the story was inches thick…. and I can’t remember a word of it. But I do remember the magical experience of being carried away by a story that just flowed out of my pencil onto those lovingly offered pages.

So… if your passion is writing, then by gum, write! WRITE! W R I T E! and may it bring you joy!

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1 Comment on "Interview: Noreen Crone-Findlay"

  1. I’m a huge fan of Noreen’s, and this interview is just great! I’m constantly inspired by how many art forms she is a master of 🙂


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