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Designer of the Month: Meet Mary Price!

July 9, 2010

Hi all! I am really excited to bring you the next edition of Designer of the Month. This month I sat down with Mary Price (via email – isn’t the internet wonderful?!). I first saw various patterns by Mary in the Parchment Craft magazine, including this one I completed a couple of years ago, and you can also find her patterns here. Besides designing, Mary is a Registered PCA Tutor, a mentor with the Association of Parchment Crafters, and a Graduate of the Parchment Craft Guild. Mary is so involved in the parching community that I couldn’t resist having her here as Designer of the Month.

CEP:Mary, Welcome to Designer of the Month. Let me start off by asking what first attracted you to the art of parchment crafting?

Mary E Price: Way back in 2004, my daughter started work in a branch of a large craft company (now sadly lost to the recession). She was told to get to know all the stock and their use. So, with me helping she began..she started on parchment craft while I had a crack at decoupage. Then we swapped over and I began to get hooked on parching. The annoying thing is that she was really good at it (don’t you just hate smart kids?) but has given up. I just loved and still do the way you can start with what is basically a sheet of paper and produce such a varied array of beautiful cards and objects. I don’t think any other form of craft is so versatile.

CEP: Was there any specific motivation for you to start designing patterns?

MP: Daughter and I used to enter craft items in a local show and in 2006 one of the categories was for a miniature Easter bonnet. So, I made one in parchment and it won the top prize in the section. Purely on a whim, I sent a photo of it to the then editor of Parchment Craft Magazine just to tell him that since getting the mag, I had really got into parching and this was the result. To my amazement he asked for the pattern….oops…I didn’t have one! 🙂 I had to sit down and figure one out plus the instructions which I think is the hardest bit. I was gobsmacked when it was published. From then on, I have come up with a design when  inspiration strikes and have been lucky enough to have had some others published too.

CEP:In addition to designing patterns, I understand that you are a Registered PCA tutor and a mentor with the Association of Parchment Crafters. What helped you to decide to become a tutor and a mentor?

MP: Becoming a tutor was again due to that mini hat. When he saw it in the magazine, my daughter’s boss asked if I would do some demos and/or workshops but I didn’t feel I was qualified to do either at the time. Then I discovered both the Parchment Craft Guild and Pauline Loweth’s PCA UK course….both thanks to the Parchment Craft Magazine Forum. I passed the initial Guild exam first time which was a surprise as I was self taught. I finished both the second exam and the course within days of each other in the summer of 2007 and then did some demos at the craft shop which progressed to teaching which I love. I went on to pass the Graduate Guild exam and am now trying hard to pass the final one which is the Fellowship. I have a few small groups of ladies who now come to my house for lessons and we have a great time. We have become firm friends and have a good gossip and giggle as well as managing to do some parching. Designing is really second place to teaching for me. The idea of mentoring came about with the formation of the Association of Parchment Crafters to provide support and encouragement for those who don’t have access to a tutor. A similar ‘buddy’ scheme is now being set up on another crafting forum. Its a great way of getting to know other enthusiasts and making friends as well as sharing tips and hints on techniques.

CEP: As a tutor, you have started using a webcam for teaching. Would you explain to my readers why you started this.

MP: The idea of expanding mentoring by using Skype as well as e-mails has been discussed by the Association. I thought it might be worth experimenting with using webcams, not only to allow folk to get to know one another better, but to see if you could actually demonstrate techniques rather than just try to answer queries verbally.

CEP: How do you feel this has helped your students?

MP: A friend and I have tried it out. To be able to see something in ‘real’ time and be able to ask questions and have the person showing the technique repeat whatever action needed for clarification is worth a dozen e-mails or phone calls. It needs a bit of patience from both parties to get the best use of the webcams and screens, but is worth the hassle. I have been able to teach my friend the perga-liner and dabbing techniques this way. Obviously, it would not be possible to do full scale lessons this way, but for problem solving it is very useful.<

CEP: Finally, if there was only one piece of advice you could give to another parchment craft enthusiast, what would it be?

MP: If you are a new starter, don’t be tempted to buy everything out there from the 2 main brand names. Take your time to decide if a certain tool is really necessary to you…all hobbies can be very expensive and parching is no exception. You don’t need every multi needle tool to work over a pattern for instance..with a bit more time and patience, a single needle tool works wonders. Look out for cheaper alternatives to items like oil based pastels, blendable and water colour pencils and inks.

I’d like to thank Mary for taking the time for the interview. While you can still find her patters here, and in various issues of Parchment Craft Magazine, Mary’s patterns will also becoming available via another outlet which will be announced in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you all enjoyed this month’s edition of DotM!

  1. July 9, 2010 7:08 am

    Superb!! Thanks so very much Mary for sharing your thoughts and thank you C, for putting it all to another awesome article!!! I also use Skype to teach and assist and I agree with Mary in that it does take a lot of patience, but it can be done and is well worth the effort.

    I also find it quite interesting that yet another designer, who we all love and admire, is self taught!!! It’s very inspiring to know where everyone actually began their journey in this awesome craft.

  2. Dawn Haylock permalink
    July 9, 2010 5:00 pm

    Mary wondeful to see the interview and get to know you better, after following you on the forum and the magazine. You are a very talented artist being self taught and your love of parchment craft comes through in your work. xx Dawnie401

  3. July 9, 2010 5:20 pm

    A wonderful article Chiara, thanks so much for sharing all the links with us. Mary’s work is gorgeous! I have been swamped with commitments with my guys this summer and haven’t gotten to “play” in a while. We’re travelling all month and school starts within the first two weeks of Aug. for one and I leave for another trip to Nashville Aug. 20 taking the oldest back. I’m thinking it’ll be early September before I have some down time. Hopefully I can still a few hours in between, I’m missing my craft!

    • cepet permalink
      July 9, 2010 6:17 pm

      Jerri, I do remember those days. Enjoy your time with the boys. The days will go by faster than you want them to.

  4. Mary Price permalink
    July 10, 2010 7:25 am

    Thank you ladies for your very kind comments. Can you see me blushing? 🙂
    I don’t think of myself as an artist Dawnie, particularly having a science background. Just goes to show what anyone can achieve with parchment craft. Perhaps it should have a health warning due to its being addictive.

    • cepet permalink
      July 10, 2010 1:40 pm

      Mary, it’s funny you should think artistic ability may not mix with a science background…I’ve taken several personality career tests (ie meyers-briggs type test) in the past and always come up with a mixture of science related and artistic related career suggestions. it is a little disconcerting to see “coroner” and “photographer” in the same list of suggestions. LOL But, in the long run, I believe science and art do overlap each other quite a bit more than we realize.

      I must agree parching is very addicting!

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