DIY Alert's blog
This week, we have an excellent Valentine treat, for not one but TEN DIY Alert! subscribers.
To win a set of two cards, all you have to do is be one of the first ten people to email me at email@example.com.
We'll announce the winners right here on Monday, February 12th. I hope it's you! Email me!
These were the lucky winners: Christa Kangas Alesia Zorn Missy Hayward Ladygo Melissa Lim Lancea LaPorte Kelly Guimont Stacia Secretariat Kelly Akin Katie Spear Rebecca McShane Congratulations and Happy V-Day, everyone!
This week, we profile Jen Neitzel, who can be seen at craft fairs all over town with Knot Ugly Designs, her beautiful crochet-wear label. Many of you also know her as the proprietress of the DIY Lounge, which offers classes in all kinds of making to PDX creative-types.
Tell us about your business, Knot Ugly Designs.
Knot Ugly began as a way to keep myself busy with something that was mine when I decided to stay home with my son. The first sale I did, a store approached me and ask if they could carry my hats. I realized I was on to something. I began crocheting almost all of the time until my hands were wrecked. I wasn't sure what to do as my work was in a number of stores and I was starting to build a reputation as something of a yarn wrangler. Meanwhile a met a woman who loved to crochet, she really wanted to just sit at home and make things. Kim State came into my life at the perfect moment, so I felt I should give it a go with someone else doing the crochet, which freed me up to develop other aspects of the business. These days Knot Ugly Designs has a lot of sewn deconstructed sweater detailing, which was a way that I could still be involved directly with the creative aspects of the business without compromising my hands.
How did you get started crocheting?
I began crocheting as a child, but didn't make it past the chain stitch until I was in my 20's. As a kid, I spent most of my time crocheting, knitting, sewing and any other craft I could get my hands on. My mother isn't very crafty, so I really didn't have any rules or expectations placed on me around my creativity, which I feel is one of the reasons I still enjoy being creative as an adult. My creativity was always mine. I have been compelled to make things since I first discovered my hands and mind were hard-wired to create.
What is your approach to your work? What kinds of things inspire you?
I like to make wearable, comfortable, slightly sexy things that are worked in a couple of different mediums. It keeps things interesting for me. I might wink at the "grandma crochet" but there is so much to be expressed with new interpretations of typically traditional crafts. I use the words "retro-modern" to describe Knot Ugly Designs.
What inspires me . . . new life for old things, new ways to express oneself. I am in love with the "deconstruction, reconstruction" movement. Taking something that is unwearable and making someone fall in love with it once it has been reconstructed is totally satisfying! Having people pick up a hat and say, "How did you do this?" I like that too.
You're also well-known as the proprietress of DIY Lounge. What's happening at the Lounge these days?
Well, I am not at liberty to discuss all the changes that the Lounge will be going through in the next few months, but I can give you a little something to chew on in the meantime . . . . The sad news is, DIY Lounge's Alberta St. location will be closing at the end of February. This is because the lease is running out for Frock, which has been our home. Frock will move to a new location, but we won't be moving with them.
But with every ending comes a new beginning. DIY Lounge will be moving to a location that is close to everybody! What does that mean? I can't say more at this moment, but all will be revealed in time. If you are not already on the DIY Lounge mailing list, sign up today to get some sneak previews as well as wonderful crafty projects for FREEEEEEE!
How would you define the difference between "Art" and "Craft?"
Oh God, that old question? Well, I guess I have to answer it two ways. There is the way that I define them and the way they have traditionally been defined. Historically, crafts were typically utilitarian, more functional, such as a quilt or a rug. Art was much more of something you hang on a wall or put in a glass case. Somehow the function projects, the crafts, got the red-headed stepchild stigma. This is even true to some extent today. Nowadays, many quilts are referred to as "art," which in my opinion continues the negative stigma. It is my guess that because crafts were everyday items, they were given less value. This, by the way, makes no sense to me -- the fact that something can be both beautiful useful seems like a bonus.
I feel that arts and crafts both have great value. I wish there were more opportunities for artists and craftspeople to connect, as we have so much in common. The craft stigma does seem to be breaking down with younger generations, but I think there is still an invisible barrier. We live in a country with so much division, when the fact is we all breathe, have hearts, minds and our own creativity! We are much more alike than different.
What is your favorite creative spot in Portland?
I can't answer this with one answer because there are too many! Here are my top 5:
1. My home studio
2. DIY Lounge
Each week or so on this blog, well offer an interview with a creative Portlander. There are so many of us all over this town, making all kinds of things. . . DIY Alert! wants us all to get to know each other. Our first profile is of Beader Extraordinaire Teresa Sullivan. Teresa transforms beads into three-dimensional sculptural works that defy gravity and delight the eye. Shes a teacher, a gallery artist, and can sometimes be found at Bodacious Beads in Hillsboro. --------------------------------------- Teresa, your beadwork is so unique -- how would you describe it? I'd call it a distillation of things I find fascinating, and things I might not be consciously aware of. I like to tell stories with beads, and I find that people sometimes tell their own stories when they see pieces I've made. Where do you get your inspirations? From literature, especially William Burroughs and Phillip K. Dick; recently my husband bought a book of French poetry by greats like Verlaine and Rimbaud that's bilingual, so with the one year of French I took in high school, it fleshes out the enjoyment of it. After all these years of hearing about them, I finally started reading them! From history, politics and religion; from music especially. It would take hours to name favorites, but I usually listen to music while working. Except when Perry Mason is on, there's a lot of great fashion, the occasional TV-ified beatnik and of course all those killer pre-'66 cars! My dad is also inspiring; he still takes college courses at age 75. He'll never run out of things to do. He's not a visual artist but he thinks like one. Especially Joyce Scott, my teacher and mentor. Years ago I got to wear a pair of her "people" earrings, which are like wearing the coolest cartoon you can think of, and that got me interested in seed beadwork art. The first beadwork class I took was her "Fearless Beadwork"; and my attitude toward life expanded! Art from what used to be called "primitive" cultures, in Southeast Asia, China, and the African continent. All those great custom cars from the 1950s and 1960s from greats like Ed Roth and countless unsung citizens who got creative in their garages. I read a "where-is-he-now"-type interview with him in an early 1970s issue of Street Rodder magazine, and it would bring tears to your eyes to read his self-assessments, they were so genuinely humble and just galaxies away from any sort of pretension. His level of guts and creative genius is unmatched.
Were you making these wonderful, sculptural pieces when you first began beading, or has your work evolved? The first thing I made after a few learn-it samples was an eyeball with the optic nerve coming out the back, so I started out with sculptural work. I have made flat pieces also. I go back and forth. The second big piece was the necklace with the green barbie-type legs, and the third incorporated a tach/dwell meter.
What is your favorite thing you've ever made?
Something I haven't made yet, perhaps---the Dao De Jing advises "Despise thy masterpieces..." What would you say is the difference between Art and Craft? One has three letters and one has five, haha.... At the very least there is crossover among the two, to different degrees according to how each one is defined. In some cultures, there is no differentiation between the two. For me, it's art if it communicates to me profoundly, which can be something transmitted through live or recorded sound, live or recorded body movement, visual images, etc., and it can of course include things that are commonly thought of as craft pieces. What is your favorite creative place in Portland? My stereo and worktable; the neighborhood streets I walk through; Church of Craft at Rimsky-Korsakoffee House -- creativity is not necessarily a function of location, though.
Well, our first weekly prize drawing is done . . . which means it's time to start up another one. We're good like that here at DIY Alert!
So this week, we'll have a random drawing of DIY Alert! members, for a copy of Craftivity: 40 Projects for the DIY Lifestyle, by Tsia Carson.
If you'd like to get some background on this awesome book, you can listen to a podcast interview I did with the author here.
The drawing happens on Monday, February 5th. The winner will be notified by email. I hope you win.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Lancea LaPorte, who won 'Craftivity'! Hope you enjoy it!
Hello, Crafters of the Northwest!
Welcome to DIY Alert!, and thank you for stopping by. We are so excited to bring this creative hub to PDX, and we hope it creates lots of new connections among all the crafty folks here.
So, the first thing to tell you about is, if you have an account on DIY Alert!, you are eligible for weekly prize drawings. Each week, we'll offer up a different crafty gifty and have a random drawing. The winner will be notified by email each Monday.
For or first drawing, we have an awesome prize -- a brand new Cold Heat Cordless Glue Gun Oooooooooooh! These babies rock!
If you don't have an account on this website yet, just click the "create new account" link to your left, and set one up now!
UPDATE: Congratulation to Claire Patoine, who won the Cold Heat! Happy Gluing to you!
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