Creatives Group Introduction
As the founder of the IWAM Creatives interest group, my main motivation was to form a creative community starting with women who already shared a sense of belonging within the IWAM environment. I made Modena my home in February 2016, and although I didn’t join the association until I heard about it in 2019, I had always been searching for a way to continue to immerse myself in a creative community. Fortunately, I met my co-leader of the group, Eva Young, while working at Unimore University in Modena. She encouraged me to join IWAM and since then we have formed the group. With her support, our small community is beginning to emerge.
One of my main aims for the group, was to support and encourage others to express themselves and inspire others and myself. Sharing skills is also another key goal for me personally, as since leaving the UK, I have found it difficult to continue my extra-curricular activities in the artistic world. Over the years, I have tried many different techniques, materials and processes, but I have no intention of stopping. Therefore, organising our first skill sharing workshop for the 18th October was a great success from my point of view.
Desire to learn how to crochet
Crochet is a technique which I have always known about and wanted to try. However, with my experience trying to learn how to knit as a child with my nan, I thought it would be just as difficult. This year, I took to YouTube to learn finger knitting and was very pleased with the results. Then a few months later, an enquiry in the IWAM Creatives group chat prompted a mini sub-group of ladies interested in learning to crochet. With Lena as our guide, and hosting us at her wonderful home (where she’d been for just over a month), our “close-knit” group began the collective learning process. She provided excellent guidance and support for a few members who were either complete beginners, or had a little experience before and wanted to push their knowledge.
Skill sharing workshop and personal progress
It was a great social event, and with a wonderful collection of crochet items to look at made by Lena; it would have been tough for anyone NOT to be inspired! We learned how to start with chain stitch and then joining rows together. A couple of us also learned a second stitch which was slightly different and learned that crochet is very flexible as a process. I experimented without boundaries, and started to turn the flat panel into a vessel form. In order to try to correct a design flaw, I also created a hole in the design to investigate details which could be included in a piece. We used chunky jersey yarn which has various degrees of stretchiness and thicknesses which allowed progress to be evident reasonably quickly.
Crochet items and achievements
One of Lena’s items that we were shown, was a gorgeous quilt in which she herself had experimented with. She used a wide variety of techniques and stitches which demonstrated to us all just how diverse the technique can be. In addition, Lena has also made bags and baskets of varying sizes and colours, all of which we loved! I for one, was so inspired and enjoyed the event so much, that I went straight to my local haberdashery store to buy 3 different sized crochet needles. With my current collection of yarn at home, I was good to go on a new project. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet up in person and bond over yarn!
Eva explained that she loved the experience and the idea of the curious possibilities it offered. After arriving home, she also went straight online and bought a collection of bamboo crochet hooks and also shopped for some wool to practice with. Reflecting on her attempts, she described them as “a right pig’s ear, but that’s what happens when you try to walk before you can crawl!” She very much looks forward to the valuable experience of sitting down together to try again. For now though, she is binging on Instagram and Pinterest crochet ideas to inspire her future creations while having a play around with the skills she has gained already.
We look forward to organising more skill sharing workshops and encourage any other members to join the group. Please contact Kelly or Eva to be added to the IWAM Creatives interest WhatsApp. Any creative interest is welcome!
Check out our International Artists Day social media post to see a couple of crochet examples too!