Crafting together for a better community
Girls on craft founders Flo and Cami became friends just over a year ago when they attended a punch needle workshop together, and since then they have added embroidery, macramé and origami to this growing, talented friendship.
Flo is originally from the French Alps and has always been involved in crafts, as a young girl she was taught embroidery and as an adult she saw crafts like punch needle and origami as a way to relax. Cami is a fashion designer and originally comes from Italy. She has an adorable little girl who inspired her along with her love of crafts to start her own kids clothing line which she hopes to expand into an adult clothing line in the future.
The Girls on Craft (www.facebook.com/girlsoncraft) workshops are held in a stunning apartment in the middle of Thao Dien, with a large open plan living room, crafters have a great view of the Saigon River while they work on their designs.
For the punch needle workshop, each crafter receives punch needle tools, which are difficult to find in Vietnam, that they can take home afterwards. “We have to order the punch needle tools on Amazon, get them delivered to the UK and then we have someone who will bring them to Saigon for us,” says Flo.
The lesson begins with crafters picking out their designs. Flo and Cami provide simple sketches of avocados, strawberries and lollipops or crafters can use designs they have found online. Next is choosing the yarn. Placed on the table is a large bowl of yarn with a large assortment of colors, their yarn is sourced locally in District 5. By catering to only six to eight people at a time, the workshops are small meaning Flo and Cami can spend time with each person.
Everyone then begins to sketch their designs onto the material they will be punch needling. This is where crafters have to decide if they want their designs to be fluffy—by punch needling on both sides it can create a 3D effect—which can make shapes or text pop. This requires sketching the part of the design that will be fluffy on to the back of the material, however, lettering can be tricky to get right because if they are too close together they can merge and become nonsensical.
Cami and Flo show the crafters how to thread the yarn on to the punch needle tool and how to start the designs. Actually, working with the punch needle tool can be tricky at first especially when the freshly punched yarn comes loose but Flo and Cami were great at helping everyone get the technique right and it becomes very easy to find a rhythm. The trick is to punch the needle all the way through and twist it a little before pulling it out again.
Throughout the workshop Flo and Cami check in with everyone, helping them to rethread their yarn, start a new section of their design or correct a mistake. Cami explains that punch needling is quicker and easier to do than embroidery because you don’t need to thread the material through every hole, in punch needle you can thread it through every other hole.
After the three hours, and with Flo and Cami’s encouragement and guidance, the crafters are pleased with the final results. Flo and Cami are extremely happy with how the workshops are going and they have had a huge amount of interest so far, including a group of students at the weekend, Cami explains why crafts like punch needling are important for young people, “We feel it is a great way for kids to get off their phones, do something with their hands and be creative.” In the future, Flo and Cami would like to partner with fashion brands to customize accessories, handbags and clothes.