24. Januar 2017
Besides interviewing hand-dyers for My Year of Mitts, I decided to show you some of the other creatives I like and get chance to ask them about their creative endeavor.
Jill Wolcott is an US knit designer whom I of course first met online, in Tara Swiger's Starship. Last year, she took a trip to Europe and we had a lovely breakfast together in De Bakkerij in Amsterdam.
Osswald Design: What do you do?
Jill Wolcott Knits: I’m a fashion designer, turned knitwear designer and teacher. I’ve been designing knits since 1994! I turned to knits when I became fascinated by creating fabric with a knitting machine. I first did machine knits, then as the market for hand knits expanded, I went in that direction because it was hard to sit at a knitting machine all day. I learned how to knit at age 6, but mostly hated it. I knit off and on after that, mostly when I wanted a particular sweater. I picked it up again after I started machine knitting in the early 90s when I wanted to be able to keep knitting while on vacation. I designed a sweater which I made and was hooked!
Osswald Design: Where do you sell your patterns?
Jill Wolcott Knits: I sell on Ravelry.com, on my own website, JillWolcottKnits.com, on LoveKnitting.com, Craftsy, and Patternfish.
Osswald Design: How did your hobby turn into a creative business?
Jill Wolcott Knits: I started out designing and making clothes. I have a fashion design degree, but I started sewing my own clothes at about age 8 or 9. I would say that both knitting and sewing were avocations, not hobbies. Reading was always my hobby.
Osswald Design: What came first, teaching or designing?
Jill Wolcott Knits: I never considered being a teacher, although the idea of having an atelier where students came to learn always intrigued me. I started teaching in 2000, with no real experience. I had taught other students how to do things, and even written an intensive workshop while in design school, teaching other students how to work through the sewing of a design.
Osswald Design: Which part of designing do you like the most?
Jill Wolcott Knits: I always say I’m a problem solver, and once the problems are solved I kind of lose interest. I love coming up with the idea, then figuring out how to execute it. One of the aspects of knitting that most intrigues me is creating both fabric and shape at the same time.
Osswald Design: What future projects are you dreaming of?
Jill Wolcott Knits: Well every yarn I see gives me new ideas, but I think the future project I am most dreaming about is creating a knitwear design education platform. I’m also writing a book—or something like a book—but it is really designed for the person I see pursuing the education. In my conception it has a hobby knitter component along side a designer component.
Osswald Design: What does creativity mean to you?
Jill Wolcott Knits: It is a thirst to explore and resolve. It is having ideas, finding ways to share them using whatever medium the maker chooses. I love my creativity and am surprised that my way of seeing is different from others. Creativity is a way of thinking.
Osswald Design: What other hobbies do you have?
Jill Wolcott Knits: I’m not sure I have real hobbies anymore. I say that because everything I do seems inter-related. I love to read. I watch a lot of TV and movies (I can knit too!), and my husband and I go to lectures and theatre. I love to travel and to eat! I also cook, and am more interested in it than I used to be, but I think that is because my skills have reached a point that I can do almost anything I want to (I cook three meals most days). I am working on my drawing and other types of artwork again after a lot of years away from it. I’m also learning how to take photos, thanks to Instagram. I like how both those things are working together to help me see things differently.
Osswald Design: What advice do you have for people wanting to make a business of their designing?
Jill Wolcott Knits: Oh, I think I am not the best person to give advice on that! I have always done what I loved and not been much of a business person. These are the things that I think help the most:
1. Plan. Spend time thinking about what you plan to do and how it will work.
2. Do the best work every time, but don’t be held back by being perfect. It is usually not necessary.
3. Let every project teach you something. That is how we grow creatively. The benefit to me of doing creative work is that I discover things that help me do better work each time. It means I am always anxious for the next project to practice what I learned.
4. Listen to yourself. I often forget that I probably know best what to do for me.
5. Don’t work for the money, but do be sure you are paid fairly for your work.
6. Find people who will give you good advice and support when you need it.
Neben meiner Interviewserie zu Handfärbern von My Year of Mitts will ich Euch jeden Monat auch eine andere kreative Person vorstellen. Für diesen Monat fiel mir die Entscheidung leicht: Jill Wolcott kenne ich nun seit etwa anderthalb Jahren und als sie letztes Jahr in Europa Urlaub gemacht hat, haben wir uns sogar persönlich kennengelernt.
Osswald Design: Erzähle kurz, was Du tust.