Créateurs de Perles en Fils

All yarns used are either from natural or reclaimed materials. Most of them are hand-dyed and as much as possible organic, hand-spun and locally sourced.

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22 August 2011

Vynn who?

It is my habit to say: “I am a yarn artist!”.
At best people imagine some extravagant form of expression like yarn bombing (in which i incidentally indulge). At worst, they look puzzled.
And it’s still better than the old rusty doily image conjured up in their mind if i say: “I am a crochet artist!”.
Old, musty, dusty and desperately out of fashion.
Maybe i should try : “I am a hooker!” or “I am Captain Crochet!”, but then it’ll just be confusing.
I have worked with thread and yarn as long as i can remember. In my family all the needle skills are lovingly passed on to the next generation. It starts with an uninterrupted chain of crochet stitches and then moves on to knitting, embroidery, sewing… you name it.
Mistake? Unravel and correct. Irregular tension? Undo it all, start again. Frustrating discipline, yet effective.
I have become a perfectionist in those arts; i can identify at a glance stitches crossing the wrong side on a piece of embroidery. Rather embarrassing, though, when a friend shows me her mom’s work, proudly… and all i can see are those flaws jumping at me.
Thanks, Granny.

Before i started the Ravelings i hadn’t touched a knitting needle or a crochet for 15 years.
After my baccalauréat (French matric) i studied graphic design in Paris, my hometown. During that time I was also an avid role-player, which is where the name Vynn comes from (The rune Wunjo means joy). Then I went to study Theatre in Central Saint Martin’s in London and partied a lot. I became a set designer and a costumier assistant for pantomimes, meanwhile i did a lot of barmaiding to pay for my studies. I still partied a lot. When i went back to Paris i became a model-maker for film and i did some graphic design again to make the end of the month go smoother. Lastly i saw an opportunity in Interior Architecture for the Emirates, so i was part of an architect's office. I now work as a draughts(wo)man for mechanical and chemical engineering technical drawing. Scary. Yet sounds so much cooler than “crochet artist”, huh?
I landed in Durban, South Africa seven months pregnant with Faye. On the other side of the world from Paris that is. I don’t do things half-heartedly. Courageous or nuts, choose one.
I left my creative career behind me simply because i wanted to see my children in real life, and not as the background image of my desktop. I have two little girls to dress up!
So here i am, picking up my grandma’s knitting needles again and looking for yarn. Not any yarn. You see, i have become a yarn hugger. I confess to hugging balls of yarn in the privacy of my workshop. Quite indecent.
In another life i must have been a cat living in a basket of yarn.
I boast a collection of natural yarns that dribbles through every corner of my workshop. Angora, bamboo, banana, cotton, merino, mohair … And now i am learning to spin my own. The ultimate happiness would be to have my very own flock of sheep. My hubby is already looking for a border collie. He doesn’t know about the flock of sheep yet…shhhhh.
So here i am, again, with my needles, accumulating yarn and projects, having an affair with my crochet hooks as my hubby would put it (I think he’s secretly happy about my choice for an extra-marital relationship even though he grumbles a lot). And we moved to Assagay where i was introduced to the indigenous flora. In Paris the flora is crammed in pots on the balcony of one’s flat. Yep. And as warning against wannabe nature lovers, all the public parks boast a “KEEP OF THE GRASS” sign. Paris is beautiful, but it is famous for its museums and its architecture. And its flying fauna whose poo is so acid they have to repair the damage on the statues every couple of years. Nature is not nurtured in Paris. Here i discovered the world of trees and flowers.
The Ravelings are the result of this encounter between yarn and nature. Well, most of them. Some are just a play with yarns. I started to wonder what these magnificent indigenous flowers would look like if they were crocheted. The designs naturally became jewelry designs, because those flowers, to me, are as precious as any gemstone. In fact if we’re not careful they might just become more precious than gold. You can live without gold. You can’t live without vegetation. I especially honor those flowers which are endangered, like the strawberry spider head (Serruria Aemula). I have many flowers in my head. The challenge lies in turning them into crochet jewelry. I dye my own yarns and threads, or else i buy hand dyed yarns, because in nature colours are infinitely different. Dyeing is quite a chance driven process, the resulting colour will vary with the everchanging conditions of temperature, quality, weather… Most of my first designs were also experiments with wild-crochet. Even now a design will take a while to mature in my mind before it comes out through my hook. You see, crochet doesn’t have to be a dusty doily (and by the way i love doilies, even dusty ones). So i can proudly say : “I am a crochet artist”!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Vynn! Nice to meet you. Your work is amazing! I would like to tell more people about you. I'll do it on my blog at You are an inspiration! Cornel


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