project ten: take five
December 3, 2010
“I talk to ghosts and furniture, and I think bugs have feelings.
My first babysitter almost broke the world’s record for seeing star wars in the theatre the most, but was just beaten out. She did however drag me with her every time, and so sometimes I recite the movie while I am sleeping.
I sing on stages & ride in buses for a living.
I knit every spare second I have.
You’ll find me on tour,
knitting little white mice and batting them around,
chatting up hamsters, or somewhere near the magic tree.”
know who this is? no?
well, you know that anyone who writes that about themselves,
has got to be on interesting bitch!
thankfully, miss spillyjane turned me on to this designer,
and she graciously agreed to an interview.
happy to be!
ready to get started?
lets go for it.
1 – we begin with the inevitable first question: english or continental?
i started continental because i am a crochet bird from birth, but i switched to english when i started teaching. people seem to pick it up faster for some reason. now i go back and forth like a vacillating maniac because i get bored easily. you should see my handwriting; it’s just as inconsistent.
2 – you’re an american citizen right? so how did you come to be living in britain?
about four years ago i met my record producer online. after we made an album, i came over to do the mastering. after that i started touring and working with other bands and buying tiny antique books at flea markets. i guess one thing led to another and seems i just never made it back to the states!
3 – looking at your designs, it’s easy to see that you have a love of the fantastical side of things. where did this love come from?
i think its one part snow white, one part tinkerbell and one part dorothy from the wizard of oz. they were really my best companions when i was very little, add the fact that i grew up literally in the woods with no other little girls around me, just makes me a bit of a reclusive fairy head in the clouds type it think? i spend my days making up songs to my cats and hanging up twinkle lights. i wish i wasn’t such a twee nerd but i cant help it in any way. i’ve tried to be hermione but i cant. im luna lovegood from tip to toe.
4 – i have to ask, do you actually believe in gnomes and such? or is it merely part of the tiny owl persona?
there is literally no end to what i believe in because i don’t really believe in anything and yet believe in everything all at once. it is all so insane isn’t it? the fact that we are stuck to a giant hot and cold spinning ball in space, and we care about each other, and we care about our cars and toys. and we die, and babies come flying out of our bottoms! its preposterous really, how we survive here, how we made cheerios and tacos, cars and escalators. gnomes just seem obvious and a lot easier to imagine existing than an ice cube maker don’t they?
lol, i guess that makes sense.
5 – if you had to label your personal aesthetic in three words, what would they be?
earthy, ethereal, pale
6 – how much of your design aesthetic is organic and how much is cultivated? by which i mean how much (if at all) of your new designs are confined within “the look” you’ve already established?
ah that’s a really interesting question, i think maybe i really just design what i want to have for myself, and so far it kind of goes together. i am pretty intense about what colors i have around me. all of my knickers match, all of my plates match. if my book covers don’t match my other book covers, i cover them with fabric. i’m hyper organized since toddlerhood, is toddlerhood a word? anyway, i like my shit to match. and if it doesn’t i get anxiety, so that might be part of why everything blends as i go through phases.
7 – i feel like these days, anyone who knows how to knit thinks they can design. what do you think of the proliferation of “designers?” and what effect do you think it has on knitting as an art form/craft?
i love the fact that everyone is designing, because everyone always has! it’s just that we never got to see it. sometimes, i think of the victorian genius that we never got to witness because it was created by little girls confined to attics, and thrown away before it ever hit the light. what fantastical magical dolls and trinkets did the hope chests of yesterday hold!? what needlework, quilts and clothing were thrown away and lost in war and fire. now the internet is a big glass window and we can peek in to see what everyone is making! It’s so exciting and inspirational every day there is something new. it’s like going into everyone’s secret under-bed boxes, and looking at their creations. and it compounds and folds over upon itself so we get multiple versions of things. it’s all free too, inspiration is free and creation is free. it’s part of human nature to invent and make things, that why we have so much crap around that doesn’t grow on tress. there will always be enough shoppers to go around, there will always be enough. i also love that something interesting is happening. it is so much fun to be in the middle of an arts and crafts, homey, re-use, re-fashion, whimsical, vintage loving, rose and magic filled, plush-tastic wave of creative madness brought on by economical and technological changes. yeah, some of it is low-standard but i don’t really care. i cant imagine how many times other peoples creations given me a heart-rush and actually made my day better for seeing them. the only negative it has i think is that it can be overwhelming, and can make a person feel like they aren’t doing something as good as doris in norway or something. but that’s a personal battle for each person to overcome i suppose.
8 – for some reason, i’m tickled by the fact that you’re in a band, that you express yourself artistically in different media. can you tell us a little bit about your band, snowbird, what your sound is like, who your influences are?
i put out a few solo records and had some amazingly talented hot girls in my band, but after i started working with massive attack i put my solo stuff on hold, only to lose my solo-mojo and my hot girls to other projects. after the dust settled simon raymonde (from cocteau twins) and i just decided to do a laid back project. we’ve done a bit of touring and are still working on the finishing touches of our first record. there will be some really talented people making guest appearances such as robin pecknold from fleet foxes. also, phil selway and ed o’brien from radiohead are also going to sprinkle some magic on a few tracks.
9 – as you know, it was spillyjane who nominated you for this interview. in her interview she said, “i’d like to know how she takes such simple knitted objects and imbues them with so much beauty.” care to take a crack at that one?
oh god for some reason my first thought was “lots of mayonnaise” but that doesn’t make sense does it. i do love mayonnaise though. for a long time i didn’t know that it was just eggs. i try not to think about it. ah thanks spillyjane! she and i have become friends and she is so creative! i love seeing what she comes up with… as for me… aw shucks.. ya really think so? heh heh thanks! all i can say is its like decorating a cake, you gotta know when to stop and eat it.
10 – and finally, if you could interview anyone for project ten, who would it be and what would you ask them?
i’d interview cirilia rose (“skrillaknits” on ravelry) and ask her what she feeds the pixie army in her head to create her gorgeous arsenal of fantastic designs.
thanks steph for being here.
it was great to meet you, if only virtually.
thanks! great questions! it was so fun i didn’t realize i never left home.
*stephanie dosen (ageless) is an american singer living in london. when she is not on tour with her band snowbird, she spends her time designing knitwear, and publishing
knitting patterns under the name tiny owl knits. she also spends quite a bit of time with the gnomes. they play “catch the frog” and “hopscotch.” though, they tend to leave out the hop bit and concentrate more on the scotch. you can find tiny owl knits knitting patterns for sale on her blog, on etsy, & on ravelry.