Craft Snippets: Photography and bookbinding with Sarah Reimer

Sally reports back from the last Craft Snippets event at Upper Riccarton Library. The next event on Wednesday 29 September will feature contemporary artist, Hannah Jensen

We found out about Sarah Reimer and her work from a colleague after they went to the Green Lane Markets in town.

Originally from Canada, Sarah first studied interior design and loved it. She found her creativity flourishing. Upon graduating, she began her career in kitchen design only to find out this might not be the path for her. She found it too technical and it often felt stale.

Travel and inspiration

After marrying her husband Zack, Sarah and her husband moved to the UK and took time there to figure out ‘what next’. Sarah stated during Craft Snippets that she had a ‘lot of creativity bubbling in me’. Sarah dabbled in different creative projects and fell in love with photography while travelling Europe. She did a photography course at a local college and this led her on a journey of travel and creative endeavour: four countries and four million ideas. She expanded on this journey with four snapshots. 

While living in Cambridge Sarah experimented with what to do with her photos. She did a travel blog and started making simple cards featuring photos of her travels and selling them in her Etsy shop. The cards were made very simply with the photos being printed by a local print shop in Cambridge and stuck on to card. Easy peasy - and a great way to showcase her photography. A young man at last night’s Craft Snippets was very interested in the camera Sarah uses and she told us it is a digital SLR camera with a manual zoom. Sarah said to use whatever you have, you don’t need to have a fancy camera.

The travel bug had bitten and Sarah and her family decided to move somewhere they had never been, ending up in Chiang Mai Thailand. While there Sarah started printing her photos on to handmade paper. She loved the uniqueness the paper brought to her cards, and got her cards printed at a local paper shop in Chiang Mai. 

Sarah has also experimented transferring photos onto wood and taught herself different techniques through watching video tutorials. While exploring, Sarah came across a small book binding shop which led her to her latest passion, book binding. 

New Zealand, photography and macramé

At this time Sarah and her family moved to New Zealand which opened up a whole new world. In New Zealand they travelled and Sarah took photos like crazy - everything was so beautiful! However, Sarah felt she was losing interest in photographs. Her love of book binding was growing and so was her desire to use her hands. Sarah talked about allowing ourselves to try new things and walk away from things you are not interested in anymore. During lockdown Sarah took up macramé and brought along one of her creations.

Connecting with people through bookbinding workshops

Sarah likes to connect with people and began to feel quite isolated as an artist. She wondered if there was something more. 

The idea of teaching her craft came about and so was born her book binding workshops! At these workshops, participants create one of her ‘Gratitude Changes Everything’ journals. Sarah teaches the binding technique using double leaves of paper and coptic stitching which is a very traditional way of binding. 

The covers are made from pine plywood which she sources from a small business,  Refined Handmade. The lettering on the front is printed using a simple rubber stamp and standard ink then covered in varnish. The stamp was made locally for Sarah by Montarga on Ferry Road. The wax linen thread is sourced from Thailand and Sarah is about to run out, so keen to find another supplier. Sarah uses different types of paper including enviro paper from Warehouse Stationary and a few sheets of handmade paper from Thailand. The paper from Thailand is made from different fibrous substances including elephant poo, coconut shells, and banana peel. Sarah likes that it is textured on one side and smooth on the other and that each piece is unique. Sarah has thought of making her own but knows how time consuming the craft of papermaking is. One of our audience, Chris, suggested the Paper Mill in Amberley as a place for handmade paper.

Taking time for gratitude

The reason behind the Gratitude journal came from the sad loss of Sarah’s brother to cancer. Sarah put things on pause and wanted to do something more. During the workshops there is time spent talking about gratitude and gratitude journaling. Even if we can be grateful for small things, says Sarah, this can make us happier.

Other experiments

Other items Sarah had on display included coasters made by sticking one of her photographs onto wood and then backing the wood with cork. Sarah has also experimented with transferring photos onto wood but found this was labour intensive and the result was quite rustic. There was quite a bit of chatter at this point about different ways to transfer photos onto different mediums. One of the nice things about the Craft Snippets events is the sharing of ideas and contacts.

New crafting titles: July 2021

Angela did a round-up of the latest crafty books and magazines in the Library, you can put a hold on any of these. 

Craft Snippets July 2021

List created by CraftSnippets

New items shared at our July gathering







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Crafting events

Sally did a run down of what is happening in the crafty world around Christchurch, and people added more. Here is the list for this month:

  • The Great Stash Swap – at South Library on Sunday 15 August and Upper Riccarton Library on Sunday 22 August.
  • Sustainable Gift Wrapping - at South Library on Monday 9 August. Embrace zero waste living with this workshop as we explore together, sustainable gift wrapping solutions including furoshiki, the traditional Japanese technique of fabric knotting.
  • Tool Lendery Workshops including flower arranging, make a fabric planter, life of bees, cut and spray stencil art, learn all things houseplants, fermentation basics, build a floating shelf and intro to joinery, compostable pots and intro to vegie gardening.
  • Assembly Point pop up craft shop at Cathedral Junction in the city, featuring many local Christchurch crafters and crafting workshops.
  • WEA workshops including amurigami crochet, Sashiko Japanese embroidery, needle felting, print making, mending and more.

Angela talked about the wonderful collection point that has been set up at the WEA for bread tags, wine bottle tops, milk bottle caps.

As mentioned above our next Craft Snippets will be on Wednesday 29 September, where we will hear from Hannah Jensen. Hannah is a powerhouse of creativity, with a passion for the great outdoors. Her carved works that she is known for, are often inspired by her time spent in nature. Hannah intricately hand carves her images into layers of acrylic paint on boards; a technique she created in 2003 at Auckland University of Technology. She now resides in Christchurch, NZ, where she carves from her beachside home, a stones through away from ocean and mountains; her favourite place to be when she’s not carving.

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