KOEL Kid – VaskavullaKnit – Part II
How does living in Denmark influence your creative process?
I live an hour west of Copenhagen on Sjælland (Zealand). Denmark is known worldwide for our famous architects, our Nordic style and good taste in just about everything. It can be a bit boring though, since there seems to be a consensus about what is pretty and what is not. So I like to rock the boat sometimes and make something really ugly – in Danish understanding at least – with a lot of glitter and glam and odd colours. Take my Fabel sweater for instance (the one with the unicorn sleeve). People LOVE it. Yes, we all like the style of Nordic noir, but sometimes we just need to let ourselves loose and play a bit more. We tend to play it safe, and I often react to that in my designs.
Was there a particular moment that your style became distinctive? Has your style evolved over the years?
My style was quite clear to me very early in my business. Perhaps not the aesthetical part, but more the part regarding how I communicate my work. I want my work to be for everyone. My own knitwear designing career was born out of the rage I felt, when I didn’t understand a simple pattern as a new knitter. I think in a lot of my designs and embroideries you can see that I try to flip the rules and do something else to make it more fun to knit and wear. I actually like rules when they help you be creative. For instance I find it fun to use as few techniques as possible to get a certain shape or so. Because it forces you to think out of the box. In Danish we call that “benspænd” translated to “obstructions” I guess, but it’s meant as rules you set for yourself to force yourself to be thinking differently.
What would be your dream project?
I like writing books, because you have enough pages to really grasp a certain atmosphere. I love writing and telling stories to go with the fiber part. But it can be hard to find the time to write a book, so a dream project of mine would be to have the time to just do that for months, having the time to just dive in to the materials, the photographing and so forth, not thinking about anything else. Then I would write a book with embroidery on knitwear. One day!
What’s your favorite step in the making process?
As a knitter it’s casting on and binding off, and when I embroider it’s also the beginning and the finish. I wish I could say that I’m a process kind of person. That would sound way more mindful, but I’m really not. I love beginnings and I love when I finish something because then I can move on to my next idea. I’m a monogamous knitter for the same reason. If I cast on too many projects nothing gets finished. As a knitwear designer the first 1/3 of the work is so exciting, because then you see, if the idea you had works. So yes – making a good cup of coffee, finding the right needles and casting on a new project in pretty yarn. Nothing beats that.
Describe your studio space for us.
We moved from Copenhagen to Holbæk 5 years ago. I still work in Copenhagen, when I’m at the magazine. But when I create for Vaskavullaknit I work from home. After having lived in our house for 2 years, we decided to empty our living room since we only used it in the evening. So we transformed it to a creative space for all of us. It’s the best room of the house, with large windows on both sides and a door directly to the garden. There are two big tables and I can knit and write while my kids paint, draw, plays and so forth. Our couch and television were moved to a darker corner of another room. I also have a big stash room with all my materials, but the light in our creative room is much better.
How do you engage with your local community of makers?
I’ve gotten to know a lot of fellow Danish knitwear designers via Instagram, for instance Mille Fryd (@Millefryd_knitwear), Signe Kamper Kankelborg (@Plummum) and Mette Wendelboe Okkels (@PetiteKnit) and crochet designer Jeanette Bøgelund (@LutterIdyl). And although we live in different cities, Denmark is quite a small country, so we manage to meet from time to time. We often talk business and see ourselves as colleagues just as you would with regular office colleagues. As for Jeanette Bøgelund, we ended up writing a book together. But besides from that I’m actually not good at engaging with other people when it comes to my creating part – I love being alone and focusing on my craft when I have the time.
What will we see next from you?
Right now I’m making a book on knitted Christmas ornaments, which will be out in Denmark and Norway by September. When the book is finished I would love to make some embroidery patterns.
Well lucky us, because Thea will create an innovative and exciting knitting x embroidery pattern for our next KOEL Magazine Issue 10. But we don’t want to make you wait too long. So in the meantime Thea designed a really cool embroidery project for you: a Leaf Embroidered Tote Bag.
When I grew, I wanted to be …
… a journalist if I had to be realistic but looking back I think I just didn’t dare to say out loud that I wanted to be a stage actor. Now I work as an editor, so I guess that’s almost a journalist. I never thought I would be a knitwear designer.
Favorite contemporary artist …
…I like the music of Brandi Carlile and listens to that a lot when I work from home, and I really enjoy the drawings and books by Danish Maren Uthaug. She has a daily comic in the news paper Politiken which is so dark and so fun. And she has written some extraordinary weird, grotesque and wonderful books as well.
Must read …
… Sally Rooney: Normal People. I think it’s a new classic.
The future needs …
… Soft people with more time
Best local gem in my city / neighbourhood …
… You should go to my city for the the silence and the fjords, which is the reason we moved here five years ago from Copenhagen. In Copenhagen you find a lot of fantastic shops and galleries. My favorite part of town that was my home for 10 years is Nørrebro.