We are so pleased to have Michelle Galletta, creator of Kiriki Press, be our first featured guest of 2014 for our monthly “In Your Stylish Craft Kit”.
Lauren had the pleasure of meeting Michelle early last summer. Visiting from Toronto, she stopped in to check out Pins & Needles and brought along one of her Kiriki Press kits to show us – which we of course immediately fell in love with! Lauren was particularly drawn to the little ‘Horned Owl’, and working on this kit (which she shares about here) re-confirmed how much she enjoys embroidery and actually she has not stopped embroidering since!
Michelle’s kit collection includes unique patterns and the packaging is really modern, fresh and playful. We knew these kits would be perfect for our clients – - we could not get an order in fast enough and have not been able to keep the kits in stock since!
The kits are all handcrafted and feature Michelle’s signature contemporary and fun illustrations. There are various skill levels available, ranging from 1-3 (beginner to advanced). Each kit includes detailed instructions, thread, and stuffing. Complete kits including a hoop and pretty embroidery scissors are also available.
Michelle suggests that the animals be made into adorable mini stuffed dolls, but they also make fun decorations. Lauren turned hers into an ornament by adding some string to the top. You can also frame them as wall art and sachets are another great idea, just add some lavender in with the stuffing provided.
With all the excitement around the kits at the shop it we were so happy that Michelle agreed to be our guest and share about her favorite crafting essentials, what inspires her and her growing business, Kiriki .
One question we could not wait to get answered was – - what does Kiriki mean? Michelle said, “I love roosters and chicchirichí (pronounced ki-kirikí) is Italian for cock-a-doodle-doo … so I guess Kirikí means “doodle-doo”.” How cute is that?!
A new shipment is expected to arrive soon! The most popular Kiriki kits include: the SLOTH, the MONKEY, the HORNED OWL, the BUNNY, the BARN OWL, the FOX, and the BEAR!
Ok, time to turn it over to Michelle…
Where do you get new project ideas from?
Rummaging through thrift shops. I’ll always find an old book or a piece of fabric at the buy-the-pound Goodwill that sparks an idea!.
What inspired you to get into your craft? Or was there event that prompted you?
A couple of years ago, I wanted to make something really special for my youngest niece. I’d just found my mom’s old hoop and an embroidery how-to paperback so I took a chance. I immediately fell in love with it and ended up designing three little owl dolls for my niece as I was learning how to stitch. My artistic training is in printmaking, so I eventually combined these two passions and Kiriki Press was born.
How do you go about choosing your materials for each project?
Since I hand print all of my patterns, I choose fabrics that will simultaneously take ink well and embroider nicely.
What’s the one thing you would love to learn how to do?
Weaving. There are more practical skills I should learn first, though, so I am taking a beginner pattern sewing class at my favourite fabric shop in Toronto, the workroom!
What is the number one thing you must have in your kit at all times?
A 0.5 mechanical pencil. Every design starts with a pencil drawing.
Do you have a favorite pattern?
I’d never really done any crafting before starting my business so I’ve actually never worked on a pattern besides my own. I do have my eye on Fancy Tiger’s needle-felting kits though!
Do you have a favorite place you like to buy supplies from?
I definitely like to support small businesses in my area, so I try to buy my inks and art supplies in town.
What is your favorite tool that you use all the time?
My triple durometer squeegee (fellow screen printing nerds will get this!).
What is your favorite creative tip?
If you’re going through a creative drought, learn a new skill. You’ll see everything you already knew in a different light.
Where is your favorite place to work?
As much as I love my home studio, getting away from Toronto and going on a quiet artist residency is the best. I’ve been to two terrific ones in Ontario: Rue Studio on Manitoulin Island, and Sparkbox Studio in Picton. Having a dedicated workspace surrounded by nature is so inspiring.
Just like a chef with his pantry essentials, can you list what your crafting essentials are that you have to have on hand at all times?
India ink, pencils, needles, hoops, a good rotary cutter, DMC floss, stork embroidery scissors, Micron Pigmas, watercolours, linen.
A big thank you to Michelle for being our guest and for allowing us to share her beautiful designs with our community! We wish her continued success and feel lucky to have her as part of the P&N family!
Be sure to stop in the shop to check out our Kiriki Press and many of the other great kits and gift ideas we have this year. Learn more about Michelle and what she is up to on her website.
p.s. check out her Embroidery Stitch Library - it is a wonderful resource for all embroidery skill levels