Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Meet Craft Riot Vendor: Pixie Worx

Julia Chambers
My own website with galleries:

  • Give a brief product description.
I'm a juried and published crochet designer who occasionally has a few digital projects on the side.  Sometimes my 13 year old daughter and I collaborate on projects.  She draws and works with polymer clay.  My handmade products, patterns and supplies are largely related to advanced crochet design.  I use a variety of custom tools, fibers and techniques to achieve my one of a kind designs and lecture occasionally on the variations these elements of the art achieve.  Working with 3-dimensional fiber is different than working with a flat surface and the way we perceive color changes based on texture.  My most popular items are my soft and stylish newsboy and eared hats, and my gothic jewelry designs and during the Fall season, my spider webs and costume accessories.  However I create anything from tapestry crochet wall hangings to muffatees and about 1/3 of my business is driven by customer requests, from scarves and headbands to guitar straps.  I also carry crochet patterns of my designs and supplies and hope to be adding handmade crochet hooks to my product line soon.  ZombiesAtPlay is for cannibalized parts that receive a new after-life.
  • How did you get started?
I've been crocheting and creating all my life.  My crochet tutelage began at the age of 5, with my left-handed Mom and two crafting gurus as grandmothers for guides. I was immediately enraptured by the hook, and crochet has been with me ever since.  My grandmother always supported in me the idea that I could do anything outside of the box if I really wanted to.  And that set me free.  I began seeing that I could crochet with almost any fiber and turn it into almost any shape.  It became what I call today yarn sculpting.  Selling my work was almost an accident.  I crochet constantly anyway - it's very meditative to me.  Even when they were little, I often had to wait somewhere for my kids with their various projects, classes and activities.  And after a car accident, I spent over a year weekly seeing doctors and in physical therapy to regain use/strength of my left hand.  Then and now, I often have my yarn with me and crochet while I wait, even getting input from whoever's around.  It was good therapy too!  People started noticing what I was making and wanted me to make one for them too.  Before I knew it, I was selling my crochet!  
  • Where do you get your inspiration?
I'm not sure I always know.  All my crochet work is designed by me - often without even knowing for sure what I'll make until the yarns are in hand.  Much of my work designing hats, however, is influenced by the needs of chemo patients.  There have been many victims in my family, my grandma Dorothy being quite an example as she crocheted herself a new hat everytime she went through a round of chemo and lost her hair.   I now often crochet with their needs in mind; choosing the softest, highest quality materials I can find for the tenderest skin going through chemo. Things that are easy to care for and yet don't look like chemo caps and are more comfortable for their sensitive skin.  I've heard from too many women, I just want to look in the mirror and see a pretty lady again.  I don't want to look like I'm dying.  I’ve also received a lot of highly appreciated input from survivors over the years that has led to the development and creation of these unique designs.  I guess my inspiration in part comes from the need for comfortable beauty during times of stress.  I truly wish to infuse my creations with healing and joy and make a difference for others.

  • Describe your workspace/workroom.
Most of my work is very portable, so my workspace is anywhere I can get a seat.  I am often seen working while waiting for appointments or my kids.  My local coffee shop is also nice.  Otherwise my couch or kitchen table. I look forward to having a real studio someday.
  • What has been your favorite winter holiday gift to make or receive?
If we're being specific to holiday fare....  Some of the kids from school got eared hats from me one year and then wore them on a ski trip over Christmas break.  Apparently the ski instructors really liked their funky hats and they received a lot of comments from other skiers.  They were the coolest (and warmest) kids on the slopes and came back from their trip on top of the world.  It's smiles like that I strive to give people through my designs.  That felt pretty good for a mom who lives in Central Texas and hasn't even skied in some 25 years.

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