Artists ~ Caitlyn Thompson ~ Providence

Artist’s name: Caitlyn Thompson
Shop name: Hooded and Bound
Website: www.etsy.com/shop/hoodedandbound and www.ctobooksandboxes.com
Blog: ctobooksandboxes.com



1. Tell us about your work:
My job as a bookbinder involves a commitment to creating unique products that maintain a superior level of sentimentality over the mass-produced digital competition. The more tactile an experience, the more emotion can be evoked. Hand-written words, paper texture, the anticipation of turning a page, all have an allure that scrolling and clicking do not. There is an elegance in my products that stems from my clients’ desires for something that can be theirs alone. Chic and timeless, handmade books become unique, treasured objects upon contact.
My crochet work is mainly a longtime personal hobby that has flourished into a small business this year. When my binding projects slow, crocheting keeps my hands moving, thusly retaining my speed and strength.

I absolutely love the wintertime because I can cozy up indoors and out. I have never loved layering my clothing, especially my arms – t-shirts, long-cleaves, sweaters, etc – they are cumbersome and bulky under winter coats. I originally designed a neck scarf with an attachment resembling a bib – I did indeed name this a “Barf” (Bib + Scarf) hoping to reclaim the term. My goal was to warm my neck and chest without any extra arm bulk. It worked, but the name did not, and I found that my head was still cold. To solve this problem I crocheted an infinity scarf and added a seam at the back, which created a hood. Now I can cover my head and warm my chest, still without any arm bulk. They’re incredible with jackets that have no hoods, and work great as a cowl with a sweater in fall before the frigid New England winds arrive. And of course, the name Hooded Infinity is more appealing than “Barf”, although the latter name did grab a lot of attention.


2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
Growing up as one of seven children, craft and design were essential requirements to be a unique member of the household. My siblings and parents are incredibly creative and quite scrupulous in their respective fields – science, general contracting, architecture, tennis, education, and stop-motion animation, to name a few. The trait that would lead to my artisan career, hand strength, speed and control, revealed itself through piano playing. I wish I had known how strong my passion for meticulous repetition (a crucial element in binding and crocheting) would grow – I may have practiced my scales far more often.
Fast forward—after studying visual art at Brown University, I attended the two-year intensive bookbinding program at North Bennet Street School in Boston, MA, where I earned a diploma as a certified tradesman. Since then I have worked as an independent contractor creating albums, guest books, journals, and specialty boxes.

My crocheting craft began as a child. My mother taught me when I was around eight years old. She made every blanket in our home - I began small with purses and mug holders. Twenty years later, my crochet business has grown from the curiosity of my peers.
My independent professions have also led me to my upcoming endeavor – I will be attending Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts next spring, where I will be a Masters candidate for Art Education.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?
A great deal of my crochet inspiration comes from working with children. I associate color and fuzziness with the kids I’ve worked with over the years; especially their bright red cheeks in January. My scarves are rather large and occasionally goofy looking. Children I’ve worked with aren’t afraid to look a little goofy, and neither am I. We have fun with it, proudly, goofily, and most certainly, warmly.



The inspiration for my bindings is limitless. From the actual book content, to movies, to random associations on the street or color schemes, the cover designs are created to fit my personal ideas or passions, or my clients’ desires.



4. What’s your favorite item to create?
My favorite item to crochet is my hooded infinity scarf, and my favorite book to bind is called a Fine Binding, which features a full leather cover, gold tooling and various leather designs. See my site www.ctobooksandboxes.com for details on the structure.

5. What’s your best seller?
My best sellers are my hooded infinites, small books with cereal box covers, and leather journals.



6. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I have lived in Rhode Island for twenty-five years (three spent in Boston).

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
1. The small community – who don’t I run into at the East Side Marketplace (which I still refer to as the IGA—cheers to the older Rhodies who do the same!)?
2. Crunchy leaves in my neighborhood.
3. Coffee milk.
4. Newport Creamery Awful Awfuls.
5. The house I grew up in.

8. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
I’m an enthusiastic person. I want to say hi, and chat, and giggle about something new, something curious. I openly don’t like kindles and my feelings get hurt when I see even a mass-produced soft covered book being abused. I have a strong passion for critiquing movies and television – I even wrote reviews for www.ForcesofGeek.com in recent years. I love working with children, and as an art educator hope to encourage positive worldviews through creative artistic innovation for the next generation.

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