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Self Expression Through Crafting

Whitney Anderson

Whitney, Holding a crochet doll

Let's get right into it! Today I'll be writing about how I express myself through my crafts. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have my hands in quite a few different things!

I have been into crafts for as long as I can remember, and I have always used my creativity as a way to express myself. Lately, more than ever, my crafting is a direct reflection of both my personality and my spirit. For me, art is my go-to form of self expression.

self-expression

[self-expression]

NOUN
the expression of one's feelings, thoughts, or ideas, especially in writing, art, music, or dance.
"they create art primarily for their own enjoyment and self-expression"

 

There are some recurring themes that can be seen across the board in all my crafts: my love of color (especially yellow), size inclusion, and representation of Black people. I noticed a lack of representation of people that look like me when I created my business a few years ago. So I made sure that I do my part to make myself, and others like me feel more seen in the crafts world.

Last year, I was beginning a beanie design for LoveCrafts and Operation Gratitude when I decided to go on the hunt for some stitch markers that stood out from the crowd. What I really wanted was some stitch markers that made me feel represented. I didn't find any, so I decided to buy some clay and make them myself! I started out just making black womxn, but have since branched out and created men and non gender binary stitch markers as well!

Here are the first two stitch markers I made.

Two Stitch Markers Hanging from a textured knit project in progress

Shown below is a handful of the stitch markers that I have collected for myself over the last year of creating them.

A handful of polymer clay stitch markers

My most prominent (and quite possibly my favorite) craft is crochet. I spend a lot of time working on crochet projects, and even more time thinking of new designs! Of course, my themes of color and representation show up in my crochet as well! Here is a picture of my first published crochet doll design, which is available as a pattern.

A hand holding two crochet doll with the sky and a palm tree in the background

I am planning to release a DK version, using Paintbox Yarns Cotton DK. It will be an exclusive LoveCrafts pattern collaboration, coming soon for the month of July!

A hand holding a crocheted doll wearing a peach dress and yellow shoes

A hand holding a crocheted doll wearing a peach dress and yellow shoes

I am also working on this special doll design called the  "Stay Home Doll" inspired by the uncertain times we are experiencing through the Covid-19 crisis. This doll is all about comfort and relaxation, something we can't get too much of these days! This design will be released in a pattern book with detailed patterns for her and all of her accessories which can be seen in my digital artwork below!

left side, a hand holding a doll. right side, digital illustration of the doll and accessories

Another area in which I express myself through crafting is hand embroidery. I am fairly new to embroidery, but YouTube has taught me so much that I took the plunge! My first two projects were hand embroidered this using images I drew as guidance. Both embroidery pieces use the french knot to create the unique texture of Afro hair.

After practicing the basic stitches, my first project was a Black woman, nude with a big bouncy Afro and flowers in all the right places. I made sure to give her curves and used plenty of color to bring this piece to life. 

A Black woman wearing an afro, nude, with flowers

My second embroidery piece is a little Black girl getting her hair done. I sewed this one into a zipper pouch. 

 zipper pouch with hand embroidered artwork of a little Black girl getting her hair done

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Overall, my self expression through crafts is an ever-changing thing. As I learn new techniques and new crafts, my self expression evolves into new and exciting projects. I look forward to completing the projects I have going now, and I also look forward to the future of my business. Creating unique items that highlight the beauty of Black people will always bring me joy, and I hope that I can continue to spread that joy to others. 

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LoveCrafts is hosting a contest to grant one craftsy person with not only money to go toward their crafting, but priceless opportunity to learn from their experts on the subjects of pattern design, content, and honing in the power of social media! This is something that really spoke to me because I would love to expand my business further, and gain the skills to connect with more people online!
 

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