aka YA Literature

Friday, June 1, 2007

Author Interview: Hannah Rogge

About a month ago, I received a copy of Hardwear: Jewelry From a Toolbox for our YA collection. Sheryl and I were both intrigued by the fun projects in the book (you can find Sheryl's review here). One of our fellow librarians was so inspired by the book that she sewed washers to the hemline of her skirt! I contacted the author, Hannah Rogge, via her MySpace page and she very graciously agreed to an author interview (even though she was on vacation in Thailand at the time).

How many of your creations do you wear yourself and how often (from both books)?
I wear my own stuff a lot. The jewelry is the easiest to throw on with an outfit, and the shirts I wear when I feel like it is a good day to wear them. Sometimes I think I've abandoned my real jewelry (trading in gold for zinc) and I wonder if my co-workers and friends get tired of seeing my stuff, but I keep on wearing it. (My mom does too.)

Have people sent you pictures of their projects? Have you seen any particularly cool "twists" on your originals?
I haven't seen too many twists on my projects but I did host a workshop in Boston where I brought materials for the Hardwear jewelry and the participants ran with the basic ideas and made their own stuff. That was a great experience because I like inspiring other ideas. I have also seen some pictures of variations that were posted on a beading blog. That was also very cool for me as I have never met the person who was showing off their work.

What do you think makes your book and/or your designs different from similar books?
My craft book was actually awarded a spot on the American Library Association's "Reluctant Reader" list for 2007, so I would say that foremost my books are both attractive and clear. The format of each books are both attractive: Hardwear has a metallic cover with cardboard dividers sectioning off the book like isles of a hardware store. Save this Shirt comes with a nicely packaged T-shirt. I know from experience that it is very important for instructions to be very clear and I think that comes across in both the words and the illustrations. I also very much enjoy the idea of making something out of nothing, which is true for both the Jewelry book and the T-shirt book.

What do you do when you're not writing books?
I have a full time job working for a company that is a custom design and fabrication company. We do mostly animated Christmas windows (which takes about an entire year from concept to install), but we also do other visual merchandising windows, corporate parties and trade shows. I work in the design department but wear many other hats, from building props to bringing in new clients.

Have you had any craft project disasters?
When I was working on my T-shirt book and experimenting with new ideas, my boyfriend Kevin gave me a pile of his old t-shirts to work with. I had my pile and his pile and the scrap pile and the pile of designs I didn't like or didn't work, etc. There were piles everywhere. One day I wanted to show Kevin what I had been working on that day and when he looked at me his mouth dropped. Apparently I had completely cut up one of his favorite shirts. Oops. That was a bit of a disaster… until I decided to remedy the situation by buying him another shirt that matched colors of the logo on the one I had cut up. Then I cut out the graphic of the shirt he liked and used it as a very large patch on the new shirt. Ha Ha. He LOVED it. The new shirt was WAY cooler then the old shirt. Phew. I think there is even a photo of that shirt in my book, Save This Shirt- it is red with a flag of Thailand in the back, if you want to look for it.

Thank you, Hannah! We are looking forward to your next book, Save This Shirt: Cut It. Stitch It. Wear It Now!

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