Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
I’m Gurusurya I work as a professional photographer and spend pretty much all my free time with friends or crafting or both. I have always felt a strong pull to create things with my hands. I love the magic in a thing that was created by hand rather than produced. My grandmother taught me to sew at a young age but I only started to sew clothing about a year and a half ago and I have fallen in love with the process. You can see more of my crafting and photography on my Instagrams: @makeeatsleeprepeat and @gurusurya
Why do you sew?
I have always been a maker of some sort, often diving deep into one form or another. I spent years in a love affair with knitting and it seems that this past year Sewing has grasped my interest, and tightly! I was exposed to sewing from a young age. My grandmother was a prolific quilter and seamstress all her life. She would often spend time in our home over the summer tailoring clothes, mending things and indulging me in joint projects where I would design a doll quilt and she would sew it together. Only recently have I picked up sewing in a meaningful way for myself. I made a few pieces of clothing for a trip to Turkey and Morocco last year and was instantly hooked. I love how empowering and gratifying it is to make my own clothing.
What do you like to listen to when you’re working (and why)?
Podcasts! and sometimes music or TV. I am a victim of never being able to do just one thing at a time. If I am listening to something or watching something my hands are always working. I joke this is why I don’t read as much because I can’t sew or knit at the same time!
A few of my favorite podcasts include; 99pi, Reply All, Criminal, The Daily, Armchair Expert, Endless Thread, Not By Accident, My favorite murder, and so many more!!
As a child, what was your first encounter and memory of beauty?
This is a hard one. I’m not sure I have ever taken the time to truly reflect on this. The most visceral thing that I am remembering is a deep sense of feeling the beauty of music. My father grew up in Zimbabwe and exposed me to wonderful African voices and rhythms, I studied classical Indian music in India as a child and of course, I have always loved a good catchy pop song. Whether it is folk music, dance music or pop songs, if it’s got a good beat I can’t help but sing and move my body!
Where is home and how does it affect what you do?
Home is so many places but for now, it is Portland, OR. Before that, it was San Francisco and before that Amritsar in India. Each of those places feels a bit like home. I think my time on the west coast informs my relaxed style and open mindset and growing up in India gave me a nuanced understanding and love of color and craft.
Name a book that you’ve recently read which inspired you and why?
I was recently sent 2 boxes full of old quilting books from my grandmother’s collection. I am always in awe of and daunted by the math and precision of quilting. There are so many beautiful motifs I would love to incorporate into clothing items. Perhaps I will make a linen quilt in the future!
What was the first thing you ever remember making on your own? Tell us about this memory.
It’s hard to say what was first, I was a pretty crafty and industrious kid. I really loved making beds and houses for my stuffed toys and dolls. I learned to crochet around 8 years old and I loved the mechanics of it. Unlike knitting, I felt free to experiment making my own patterns for hats and stuffed toys without fear of dropping a stitch!
Who are your muses and inspiration?
My grandmother both for her infinite creative energy and her compassionate yet no-nonsense outlook, and anyone who has managed to carve out a life where they have time and space to do their craft weather or not it is what earns them a living.
Do you have a community of crafters/ makers around you or do you find you are on your own?
I work from home and find that I do a lot of making on my own but I am also very fortunate to have very talented friends who I can make with on occasion. I love sewing with others so much that recently a friend and I started the Portland Sewcial Club which brings together makers to sew together monthly!
How important is it to make something with your hands?
It is vital, I feel an urgency to make things when inspiration strikes. This makes it hard to go to museums and art shows sometimes because I often walk out wanting to attempt to make most of what I saw. It is both an addiction and therapy in one.
What does success mean to you?
To me, success is defined not by an outcome but by the presence of self to enjoy the doing of a thing. That thing could be sewing a garment or living a life!
What have you chosen to make out of FS linen and why?
I have made many things out of FS linen but for this particular project I used FS SPICE Softened Mid Weight 100% Linen to make a Grainline Willow Tank paired with the Made By Rae Cleo Skirt. I have been wanting to make this top for a while now and I love how the linen gives it an instantly lived-in look. it is so comfy and cool and I know it will be a staple for me this summer.