On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about kits and craft books with my guest Cynthia Treen.
Cynthia Treen’s charming felt animal designs are classics in the making, with their own stories waiting to be imagined. Explore her threadfollower kits and patterns or her new book, Wind in the Willows Felt Friends. Her passion for teaching and drafting comes through on every page, with detailed instructions and illustrations perfect for guiding beginners and advanced makers alike. Time will slow down as you ramble through her projects, letting your imagination wander while stitching new adventures into life!
For over 25 years, Cynthia has designed and taught makers everywhere, in front of and behind the camera. From Martha Stewart Living magazine and TV to her first book, Last Minute Fabric Gifts (2006), her line of threadfollower hand-stitching kits, and finally, to a growing community of maker friends on Patreon. Cynthia’s ability to organize, illustrate, and distill projects makes them approachable and inspiring to all experience levels, giving makers a feeling of success and mastery.
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A scene from Cynthia’s new book.
At the start of our interview, Cynthia talks about growing up artistic and attending the Rhode Island School of Design. She explains her years working for a clothing designer in California and then going to work for Martha Stewart in New York. We discuss how her first book came about and how she felt writing it. Later, when we get to her new book’s inception, we compare and contrast the two experiences and it’s so interesting! Definitely tune in if you’re interested in craft book publishing.
A selection of supplies for making the felt animal projects.
We discuss the business Cynthia built in between the publications of her two books and why having a robust business that aligns with the content of a book really helped for both writing and marketing purposes. We discuss the photography of the book and her collaboration with a friend to create the adorable sets that each felt animal is shown inhabiting. Cynthia also talks about how she is marketing her new title, especially her approach toward embracing short-form video on Instagram.
Cynthia’s new book illustrates a classic tale.
Cynthia has created a Patreon community of folks who love her work and want to support her and get special access to what she creates. She talks about how she went about doing this and why it’s important to the life of her business.
In this chat, we reference:
- the first time Cynthia was on this show in July 2014
- dosa inc.
- Zak Foster’s episode where we talk about Patreon
- my interview with Ame Verso who was Cynthia’s acquisitions editor
- Cynthia’s book will be in Anthropologie stores this fall
And, of course, I ask Cynthia to recommend great stuff she’s loving right now. Cynthia recommends:
- Sharon Ojala’s videos on YouTube
- drawing with Derwent-Inktense watercolor pencils on felt
- Little House pins and Tulip sewing needles in sizes #8 or #9
Keep up with Cynthia on her Instagram to see her most recent updates.