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Designer of the Month: Meet Robyn Cockburn!

September 13, 2010

Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of Designer of the Month!

This month I have another very special designer, Robyn Cockburn. You may remember the Snowy Egret I did (shown to the right), that pattern was created by Robyn. Robyn was also recently featured in Parchment Craft magazine, and she has quite a number of patterns for sale, here. Robyn was also a contributing designer to the book Best of the Best Parchment Craft – A Classic Collection 1. It is with great pleasure that I bring you this months DotM!

CEP: Robyn, welcome to Designer of the Month. Let’s start off with a fairly easy question, how did you first get interested in parchment crafting?

Robyn Cockburn: About three and a half years ago I saw a parchment fairy on a general card making forum. (A design by Adele Miller). I thought it was amazing, having never seen parchment craft before. I thought it looked like a difficult technique and never imagined I would be able to do it. I searched the internet for more samples and saw a wide range of patterns and designers. Then I managed to get two Martha Ospina books out of the local library. I had no parchment and only a medium ball embosser but that didn’t stop me. I ordered parchment and a few tools online but in the meantime I started embossing ordinary vellum! Needless to say I was more than surprised how different the results were with proper parchment paper!

CEP: I know that you are interested in other paper crafts, how much does your work with other paper crafts influence you work in parchment crafting.

RC: I think it helps with general design layout and card making techniques. Sometimes though I actually convert a design from “non-parchment” to a parchment pattern – and vice-versa! This year I have designed quite a number of card making sheets (the print at home style). I saw some beautiful graphic art in the form of roses and orchids and bought a tutorial on how to create such graphic images. Learning how to do that made me look at images in a new way and I found the effect flowed over into my parchment craft.

CEP:As I recall from another conversation, it wasn’t long after you started parching before you started designing your own patterns. How did you make the decision to design your own patterns?

RC: Initially I found a lot of simple, free parchment patterns on the internet. These were just basic line drawings with no instructions. Having a career in computing, I thought gee I could turn all sorts of my favorite pictures into line drawings – I wonder how they would turn out? So I just started fiddling. One of my earliest patterns was of frangipanis. They’re a very popular flower here. I’m always keen to take on a challenge and try new techniques so designing patterns added another exciting dimension to parchment craft for me.

CEP: Would you take my readers through some of your design process. For instance, where do you find your inspiration?

RC: Most of my inspiration comes from my other hobby, photography, which in fact, got me into card making in the first place! I have been interested in photography all of my life. This comes from my parents’ interest in photography. Many of my patterns are based on pictures I have taken myself. For instance, my two most recent patterns (Cymbidium Orchids and Vanda Orchids) have the colored work taken from photos I took at Changi Airport, Singapore on our last holiday. When I have a photo I particularly like, I import it into a graphics program that allows me to trace the outline of the key part. Then I resize it, rotate it, add other components etc until I get a main design I like. Lastly I create a border. This is usually the hardest part for me since I don’t have something specific to inspire me. After trying a few ideas I come up with a border that I think works with the central design and then I print it and sit down to make a sample card. I generally work from the original photo for the coloring, although sometimes I experiment and try my own color scheme!

CEP: What would you say gives you the most pleasure about parchment crafting?

RC: What I find the most fun is transforming my own photos into hand coloured original designs. I love doing any coloured work with prismacolor pencils and every time I finish a design I think “Gee did I do that?” I have never considered myself artistic – crafty maybe. Ending up with cards that I’ve created myself from a blank piece of parchment never ceases to amaze me! Another aspect that I enjoy is the endless variety of techniques that can be used. There always seems to be something new to try!

Thank you Robyn, for taking some time out of your busy schedule for this interview. If you haven’t seen Robyn’s website, please hop on over for a look around. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Thank you all for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed this issue of DotM.

  1. September 13, 2010 6:22 am

    Another awesome interview C!! I have known Robyn since way back when we were both on the same crafting forum and I have so enjoyed watching her progress from wondering if she could even do parchment craft into the totally AWESOME designer she is today. This interview brings back very fond memories of those early days and I’m here to say…..CONGRATS, ROBYN….you’ve come a long way, baby!!!!!! Continue your beautiful designing and I’ll continue to watch to see where you go next :))


  2. dorita permalink
    September 13, 2010 6:56 am

    Amazing! In only 3 and half years Robyn comes from knowing nothing about parchment to a such creative designer!
    Thank you, Chiara! Those interviews enlighten our craft passion and gives it a new dimension!
    Robyn, I’m sure you will surprise us again!

  3. SueJ permalink
    September 13, 2010 7:39 am

    Lovely interview, thank you.
    Just been on the website, really nice, some lovely patterns and resources.

  4. Dawn Haylock permalink
    September 14, 2010 12:19 am

    Great interview. Robyn is a great inspiration to parchers with her wonderful designs and instructions.

  5. September 14, 2010 2:56 am

    Thankyou ladies! And yes, Vickie and I go way back! I’ve always admired the beautiful (and prize winning) work that Vickie does. I feel humbled by such lovely compliments! Parchment craft continues to amaze me – always something new to learn!

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