I cannot remember a time when I did not know how to crochet. Even though I neglected it for some years in my 20s and 30s, I never really abandoned crochet. My current crochet journey began 20 plus years ago while I was researching a completely different needlework project. I happened upon a book of Victorian style lace crochet and instantly became fascinated. The style became the basis for all my work that followed. Since 2016 I’ve added spinning to my repertoire. My intent is to transition to handspun only in my crochet work. In addition to crochet and spinning I knit, weave, sew, and occasionally do lucet or kumihimo braiding. Except for weaving, I’m pretty much self-taught.
I could give a long explanation of how I classify myself and my work, but I will refrain. I use the term fiber artist when identifying my work to most people. Artisan is the term I prefer in reference to myself: using traditional methods and materials to craft wearable (utilitarian, if you will) pieces. Artistry is involved, certainly. But I consider myself a craftswoman first. The argument regarding terms continues, but this is my personal view of my work.
Now that I spin, I am designing a pattern each year for my handspun, to offer for sale in kits that include the pattern, yarn and beads. Smoky Mountain Spinnery in Gatlinburg carries the kits. For 2019-2020 I chose a lightweight open work scarf. I also love beads and incorporate them in most everything I design. Not only are they pretty, but when used in a wearable, beading aids the drape of the finished piece.
In addition, I am very humbled and honored to be asked by Arrowmont to complete a crocheted granny square throw begun many years ago by Mary Frances Davidson. Each square contains a sample of her natural dyed yarn. Mary Frances was a master of natural dyes and instrumental in the development of Arrowmont as a craft school. She is a legend among fiber artists in this area. My plan is to have the additional yarn spun and the project completed for a display during the Handweavers Guild of America Convergence 2020 in Knoxville in July. I decided on a more contemporary layout of the colors to showcase the wide range Mary Frances achieved with her dyes.
Over the past year my inspiration seemed to stall. It was time for a re-boot. I reviewed my style, motivation, technique, materials, and any other aspect of creating the lacy type work I enjoy. There is a new path before me, and I have no idea where it will lead, but the beginning is the creation of a series of ponchos from my handspun yarn. Each poncho will be inspired by a moth or butterfly from our region, and when possible, the Smokies. Stay tuned.
Thank you, Victoria