Meet The KOEL Kids: Emily Nicolaides

Emily Nicolaides did not start off as a weaver. Like many other makers, she has travelled through a series of different crafts search of what would work out best for herself and her art before ending up where she is now. It may have been an arduous journey, but it is through these obstacles that she is able to rise up bigger and better than before. Get inspired by Emily and her growth as a weaver through the interview we had with her below.

Tell us more about your background and what led you to choosing weaving as a craft?
I loved knitting, sewing, and crocheting as a child. My mother and grandmothers taught me these skills at various points throughout my childhood. I went on to study ceramics and art history. Towards the end of college, clay just didn’t feel right for me anymore. I was taking a feminist art history seminar and began to realise that textiles could be art. The first thing I did after graduating was attend a two-week weaving workshop at Penland School of Crafts. I immediately fell in love with the process and have been weaving ever since.

What makes you a KOEL Kid?
I’m not concerned with keeping my techniques to myself. I love sharing my secrets because I believe it makes us all better weavers. This is why I teach workshops. I find it inspiring and energising to share what I know with others.

What is the creative process behind each of your projects.
I always start by choosing a yarn palette. I have shelves upon shelves of yarns and they are organised by color, so I’ll peruse my collection and start putting together colors and textures that I like. Then I’ll arrange everything on my table and photograph it. In this way, I’m able to imagine the pieces and what proportion of colors, contrast, and texture I’d like to see. I add and remove yarns as needed. Once I’ve decided on a palette, I then start on weaving. It’s a lot of trial and error and unweaving what isn’t working out. During the weaving process, I enjoy listening to audiobooks. They keep me engaged and help the time pass.

About your designs…

The inspiration behind this design is… Summer and the beach.

The dream store in which I would like to stock this design is… No store. I’d love to see this piece in a modern colorful beach house.

If this design made it big, I would… Continue to make more weavings inspired by these colors and textures.

If this design could talk, it would say… It would say that it was woven among friends during long talks and deep breaths.

Great things take time, so how much has changed since you first started weaving and where do you see it in the next five years?
A lot has changed since I started weaving. In the beginning, I was weaving functional textiles. I was trying to do what I saw other weavers do. When I stopped trying to make the journey’s of others my own and started looking at what I loved about weaving and what my strengths are, I started to see so much more growth. It’s so easy to replicate what others seem to do well in, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you.

In this age of digital entrepreneurship, there are so many ways to make a living doing what you love. I think we’re still uncovering what those ways are. In the next five years, I want to be able to support my family by teaching online workshops and weaving commissions.

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