Today I am so excited to have Vanessa Lauria here today, answering a few interview questions. I love getting to know my fellow indie artists and crafters! Vanessa weaves the most beautiful scarves and accessories so I can’t wait for you to get to know her! Also, after you’ve read through her interview, there is a giveaway at the bottom of this post!
Who are you? Where are you from?
Hello there! I’m Vanessa, a weaver and maker living in upstate NY. I hand weave modern scarves and accessories that merge the craft of traditional weaving with joyful, inspired color stories. With every piece I design, I hope to create the perfect handwoven accessory for anyone who loves bold color, pattern and texture – truly unique wearable art!
Do you sell your handmade items?
I sell my handwoven goods year round in my online shop, pidge pidge. During the busier autumn and holiday season, I attend local craft fairs, immersing myself in a rich artistic community. The winter months are usually spent replenishing inventory- and that means weaving! I live in a colder climate, so it’s a perfect time to bundle up and work with wool. Summer months are spent working on prototypes and new products. This past summer, I designed and developed two new products I’m excited about: handwoven key fobs and wee tapestries.
When/why did you decide to sell your work?
In college, I majored in illustration, but chose to sew my assignments by quilting, embroidering and appliqueing instead of more traditional mediums. I discovered fiber arts my junior year and spent the summer after graduation in the studio, weaving for hours every day. I have such gratitude for my fibers teacher and mentor who gave me the freedom to explore my craft and go wild with color.
For five years after graduation I worked an assortment of jobs to fund my passion for weaving. After helping a friend at a craft show in Chicago, I came home with new friends, business connections and loads of colorful inspiration. I took the leap and began my weaving business, pidge pidge, in 2008.
What does the term “Indie” mean to you?
To me, “indie” means fresh, inspired and made by hand. Every part of my process, from design & production to marketing and customer service, relies on my passion to learn, experiment and work hard to keep my business moving forward. Having a curious spirit means I can constantly explore new mediums and ideas; being able to engage with folks interested in my work and textiles inspires me to keep creating.
What is your favorite type of crafting?
Anything with fibers is a favorite of mine. Depending on the season, my focus usually shifts, from quilting in the summer to knitting in the winter. I began playing with calligraphy recently and am smitten with it. I can use a decorative or illustrative style and incorporate a little art into penpal letters or thank you cards.
What does your workspace look like?
I weave on a vintage LeClerc floor loom about the size of a small desk. I purchased it secondhand and love that it creaks, squeaks, and has little quirks. My life is so technologically driven; it’s wonderful to work on a piece of equipment that doesn’t require a computer or even electricity. When something isn’t working right, I know I can just tighten a screw, replace a bolt or improvise to fix it.
I prefer to weave next to a window for natural light and to spy on the garden for color ideas. My studio can be quite messy with hundreds of bobbins and skeins of yarn surrounding me. Weaving is quite meditative. I can be alone with my thoughts, brainstorm, or experiment with pattern. Although sometimes, I’ll admit, I weave while watching Netflix or listening to podcasts!
Can you give us a small description of your crafting process?
Every day in the studio looks different. So much of my work is preparation for weaving- winding bobbins and warps, dressing the loom, and designing colorstories. My favorite studio days are weaving days. I design the initial flow of colors for scarves by lining up bobbins in stacked cardboard box lids (nothing fancy). I’ll work through bobbins, adding repeats and playing with color proportion. Mistakes and glitches in a pattern can become happy accidents when I intentionally repeat them.
In the evenings, I usually pick up another fibers project to relax with. Knitting, quilting and tapestry weaving are go-to crafts. This week, I’m trying my hand at needle felting lil acorns! After the holiday rush, the studio will migrate into the kitchen, where I’ll be exploring natural dyes. My freezer is stocked with nasturtiums, marigolds, hibiscus and avocado pits which will hopefully dye beautifully colored yarn. I’m excited to see what colors I can coax from flowers and food.
It’s often in these creative and experimental afterhours that I come up with and develop new ideas for pidge pidge.
What inspires you?
Color is everything! I’m always excited to experiment with unique fibers and play with unexpected color combinations. My imagination is sparked by the world around me and I keep my camera and notebook handy to capture the way colors interact with each other. I’m influenced by my surroundings, paintings, patterns in nature, fashion, and home decor; they all have potential design inspiration. Working with bobbins of yarn as my palette, I can arrange and rearrange different shades and proportions of color. I purposefully let my designs flow and evolve from one end of a scarf to the other. Colors, patterns and repeats change so that, depending on how you choose to wear your scarf, it will look completely different!
And lastly, where can we find you on the web?
Join the newsletter: hellopidgepidge.com
I love to connect with fellow and aspiring textile-loving friends. I have a weekly newsletter as a way to keep in touch with customers and admirers of pidge pidge. Here, you can get the first peek at new products, behind the scenes in my studio, artist spotlights and free downloadable smartphone wallpapers. I also encourage folks to email me about anything weaving! I relish conversation about fibers, weaving questions and suggestions; sharing my passion for modern color, texture and pattern is my favorite part of the biz! I invite readers to subscribe at hellopidgepidge.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GIVEAWAY! Enter to win a piece by the talented Vanessa Lauria- a Wee Tapestry! Aren’t they so adorable?
How to enter to win:
- Comment below with your name and email address.
- For an extra entry, sign up for the Pidge Padge newsletter and leave a SECOND comment here telling me you did so, with the email address you used to sign up.
Good luck! USA only, Giveaway will end 01/12/16.