going through an alpaca fleece // photo by Meagan Abell
that’s the current state i feel some parts of my creativity are in. not for a lack of passion, but simply because i cannot do everything at once.
depending on how long you’ve followed me, you might not even know that i’m a fiber artist and knitwear designer.
i started an Etsy shop in 2011 which was part of my full time work until about 2015. it grew into a very successful side of my business. i designed seasonal collections of knitwear centered around themes of inspiration (examples: On The Road, Gypsy Soul and OOAK pieces inspired by my travels), i was on the front page frequently, became a featured shop, interviewed in a book, had pop ups with the likes of Madewell and Quirk Gallery, was featured in various publications and by all appearances had “made it” in the Etsy scene of success.
but it didn’t feel like success. i was overworked, staying up until 4am knitting to fulfill holiday orders, warring with the desire to remain small so as to have my hand in all of aspects of my business and wanting to create each piece myself but unable to keep up with the demands alone. not to mention still running my photography business which entailed primarily shooting weddings at the time. and then Etsy went public and i quickly grew frustrated and disenchanted with a platform that used to be exclusively for handmade and vintage wares and was now blurring lines by allowing factories in China to open up shops and claim their mass produced goods as “handmade”. (this is a simplified rant of the many complicated changes that have happened at Etsy over the past few years but it was definitely an element in my frustration and stress of maintaining my own shop)
and then of course too there was the realization of not knowing how my yarn was made that led to my pursuing sustainable knitwear. learning how to process wool on my own, spin it into yarn, dye with natural dyes and plants and create pieces that felt like true representations of me as an artist and embodied my ethics and beliefs.
(which is what these woven pieces are—all yarn i hand spun from a wide array of fibers and some i even processed from raw fleece!)
but other than a few custom orders, i never fully went all in with that venture. perhaps because i was hesitant to grow it to the size of my previous endeavor, or because it was too different of a market for my current customer base, or because it simply became an art form that was just for me-and not something i had to monetize and sell.
or perhaps because it just wasn’t the season for this dream. who knows?
my Etsy shop is technically still open, i’ve slowly been letting the listings expire and i plan to close it fully after selling all of my extra inventory this fall.
but this type of creating is still such a huge part of me.
until recent years i knit almost every day from the time that i was 8 years old.
i still want to work on a sheep farm to learn a more in depth way to incorporate the whole “from sheep to sweater” idea in my fiber art.
i still am so turned on by textiles and meticulously study sweater construction.
but as a person with endless interests and passions, i am learning that each have their season. just because i am not full-time pursuing one doesn’t mean that it’s any less a part of me or less valid because it isn’t recognized by others and in the public eye.
i’m a little all-or-nothing with most things in my life, so this isn’t always easy for me. but it’s a lesson that’s good for my hands to learn how to hold.