Week 11 Challenge: What do you use / how do you like to set the maker mood for your creative process?
Prize: A copy of the Visuvios Crafts Chiaruscuro Cowl (knit) pattern or Inbound Cowl (crochet), 2 skeins worsted weight sw merino yarn (Brooklyn Boy Knits colorways), 1 colorblock Notions Pouch, and a CUSTOM set of 4 Seniya Studios stitch markers/progress keepers
How to Enter: Post your challenge photo and tag @visuvios_crafts + @knitbrooks, using hashtags #CreativeRootsChallenge + #CreativeRootsWeek11. You have until Monday, November 9th @ 1pm EST!
What do you do when you get ready to knit and crochet? Do you simply clear a space to sit on the couch? Do you wake up early before the world and your family starts their day? Do you brew a pot of coffee or tea? These often subconscious routines play a huge role in your maker journey!
When I found my way to the fiber arts, and completed my first project, I wanted to turn to crochet and knitting as a way to relax and find peace-of-mind amidst my school studies. A large part of that relaxation came from what I did BEFORE I even started to work the first stitch. I turn on a candle, pop on some jazz or soul music, and make a cup of tea. If you don’t set the mood for your making, I hope this will challenge you to give intentionally “setting the mood” a try! I don’t think you will regret it.
Hey everyone! I am Vincent, the crochet/knitwear designer and instructor behind Visuvio’s Crafts, which was born from my longing for stunningly timeless knits that’ll keep you warm in the coldest of mid-winter horse pastures. When I’m not crafting, I’m working with dogs, horses, and playing music. So if you ever see me without headphones and a tapestry crochet design in the works, you are truly in for a treat!
Visuvio's Crafts Maker Q&A
When you first started your maker journey, what was your goal? How has it changed?
When I first started my maker journey, I wanted to make myself the coolest crocheted and knitted wraps to don while outside in chilly early morning weather of horse pastures and use knitting/crocheting to be a relaxing escape from my science studies when my brain needed to rest. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d become a designer and instructor creating patterns that inspire others with those same sparks of maker magic that pulled me into this yarn world in the first place. Now I can’t wait to take Visuvio’s Craft to the next level!
What is your favourite inspirational (or creativity-related) quote?
“Embrace, Spread, and Stand In Your Light!” -Vincent Williams
This quote literally embodies my entire life experience. There is only one “you,” and even if there aren’t those who look like you, speak like you, are interest in the same things as you, simply learning to embrace, spread, and firmly stand in the light of who you are will catapult you to places that you couldn’t even think of aiming for. Being a 6’3” tall black man with locs in a hobby, degree, or space where every single one of your peers is a petite white woman or someone who hasn’t experienced life through your perspective can be very unsettling to navigate. But standing in your joy, doing what is right, and treating others with respect can eliminate many of those feelings of “Hopefully I’m not making so-and-so uncomfortable? Who is there to make me feel comfortable/not afraid/not in danger? I am here to play music, learn about horses, or knit this shawl just like you, but is it my responsibility to always validate my being and interest?” Those sorts of worries and internal questions can be dangerously debilitating to a child or adult just the same. So always embracing your passion, standing in your joy, and choosing to share (or not always share) your light with others is such an inspirational and empowering way of life.
What is your main creative struggle, and how do you work through it?
At the beginning of my designing journey I was really rattled by the thoughts of my patterns “needing” to be unique enough or “fancy” like the big designers to be worthy of being a “for purchase” pattern. The comparison game and imposter syndrome are two rude and shifty bullies that can test your will to believe in yourself, and asking if your original creation accomplished the goal of the original intentions has helped me keep those two struggles in check.
Now I’d say my main creative struggle is really following through with knowing when to say “no.” There is an empowering and comforting respect that is tied to saying no. And though my maker heart can dream up all these super fun and intricately thoughtful designs, there are only so many hours in a day, outside of your standard work schedule, that you can dedicate to things before you begin to neglect taking care of your mind, heart, and physical body. So as a person who THRIVES on being creative within a sense of structure, paper agenda planners have been my best friend since the dawn of time. I try to plan many months ahead what my design and content calendar will generally look like, and pencil in realistic windows of time that offer a comfortable buffer for life things to happen amidst the journey.
Tell us about a total maker FAIL. What did you learn from it, and how did that failure help you grow?
Learning that you have to WIND yarn that comes in hanks into a ball of cake BEFORE you actually start to knit or crochet with them. We all know that dreaded sense of doom and “we’ve passed the point of no return,” that comes along with not removing all the ties from a hand. Or removing all the ties, putting the open hank of yarn in a grocery bag to start working a scarf and mere moments later finding a spider web of a mess that resembles the aftermath of a hurricane and tornado playing pattycake with your yarn.
What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment?
The opportunity to inspire others, one heart at a time! Whether that is through my creations/patterns, a thoughtful conversation, handcrafting a one-of-a-kind gift that can be passed down from generation to generation, or helping someone do knitting surgery to correct an error 8 inches down the fabric, I love to see that spark of maker joy and inspiration.
What is one goal you’re working towards right now?
Honestly, one of my more personal goals is perfecting a seamless work flow, planning the rest of my 2021 Collections, giving my 2021 agenda planner this WORK, and creating fun/thoughtful collaborations, while continuing to honor my overall health/wellness!
Name three creative people who inspire you, and why? (include IG / site link)
- Toni Lipsey of @tlyarncrafts , whose hands were the first pair of brown maker hands I saw on Instagram way back when, inspires me with her dedication to being a top notch boss/entrepreneur, how passionate she is about teaching others her craft, and OF COURSE her creation of all the beautiful designs.
- Adella Colvin of @lolabeanyarnco inspires me with her jawdropping works of art that we call handdyed yarn, her drive and dedication to being a hard working role model for her family, and how she fosters a community of genuine love and support. #WhenOneOfUsWinsWeAllWin
- Jackie Aina of @forvrmood inspires and enhances the energy of my knitting and crochet time with her absolutely luxurious, and affordable, hand-poured candles, and her authenticity as a Nigerian-American entrepreneur. Candles, and scent, play an integral role in my creative process.
What is your best piece of advice for someone who has lost their creative mojo?
As makers, many of us turn to our crafts as a source of joy, peace-of-mind, connection, escape, a way to work through grief/stress/sadness, simply to relax, and so many more reasons. When you feel like you have lost your creative mojo, I think that’s often a reflection of something in your life becoming a bigger bite than your knitting/crocheting can chew. So take a moment to step back, break down the source of that stress into an ever so slightly smaller chunk that you can address, work on the part you can control, step away from the part you can’t and create a safe space for your mind and heart. After taking however much time you need in that safe mind/heart space, surround yourself with meaningful “everyday” sources of inspiration to spark creativity. These everyday sources could be waking up earlier than the kiddos to make a fancy breakfast (or drink like tea/coffee), turning on a candle, listening to the sounds of the nearby birds, or running river, massaging on some hand balm, watching your favorite nostalgic movie, taking a good inhale/exhale, smiling like a puppy frozen in the middle of playtime zoomies to simply smile as the breeze caresses you. Don’t forget to genuinely take in these everyday sources of magic, then scoop up some squishy yarn and simply stitch away for 30 minutes. Put your project away and repeat that 30 minute session until you feel like, your inspiration has graced you once again.
Share five fun non-maker-related facts!
- I’ve been riding horses for a decade and my favorite discipline is cross country/eventing. For non-horse people, eventing is like an equine triathlon, where cross country jumping is one of the three phases that endurance tests the speed, stamina and jumping ability of the horse, as well as the rider’s knowledge of pace and effective communication/use of their horse.
- My favorite color is green! I love all kinds of greens but those olive greens almost always snatch my heart up without fail. When I find a gooood green yarn, I often daydream of supermarket sweeping as many as I can into my shopping cart to make ALL THE THINGS!
- I have successfully raised 7 guide dogs for the blind and seeing how impactful our training is for someone who receives a guide dog is so so special. You never know how empowering “independence” is until you don’t have the option of being independent. Many of my guide dog friends are patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for me to successfully raise 10 guide dogs.
- Two of my favorite instruments to play are the double bass and cello. I’ve been playing instruments for almost 20 years and these two always feel like extension of my soul and singing. String players unite!
- I have never been to the hair salon/barber shop. My parents showed me how to care for and style my hair so that I never have to be at the mercy of paying someone else a crazy and absorbent amount of money to maintain my locs. My shoulders definitely DO feel the burn on and after wash and retwist days though. Hahaha.