Friday, July 15, 2011
the wonderfully whimsical crochet art of Angela Carr for Grace and Favour and Where There's a Wool: MADE in Ireland!
Welcome to the wonderfully whimsical world of Dublin-based Scottish ex-pat Angela Carr. She is the artist (and trained architect) who crochets luxurious materials such as alpaca, mohair, silk, and eco-bamboo fibers into confections that are perfect for weddings.
Grace and Favour. You can find her at craft shows and vintage fairs across Ireland, and also on Etsy and her webpage.
I first came across Angela's creations when I was sourcing items for my Etsy Ireland shoot at Burtown House in Athy, which was styled by Pearl & Godiva. I thought the crocheted lavender hearts and jewelery would be perfect. I loved the jewelery so much I bought earrings for myself and my mom! Angela gave me a heart as a little present and I can assure you, it's just beautiful and would add a touch or Irish to your wedding or event (or even your home). It would even make a cute ring pillow as I thought when I photographed the antique reproduction rings from The Vintage Goldsmith.
More of the Etsy shoot can be seen in this fantastic artistic video by Rodolphe of Best Day Productions.
secretgarden from best day productions on Vimeo.
Here is a little interview I did with Angela. I think we'll be seeing a lot more of her in our wedding world here in Ireland!
1. When did you start crocheting? I remember being taught to knit by my Aunt Rose when I was quite young with a ball of pink wool and my brother with a ball of sludge green. He wasdisgusted at the idea of a boy knitting but I was fascinated by the way the yarn could be transformed into a material and different shapes, and it wasn't long before my dolls were decked out in a series of bulky, unflattering garter stitch garments! I continued knitting and crocheting
into my teens when a traumatic incident brought it all to a temporary halt. I'd been working on a large sloppy Aran style jumper - it was the '80's, after all - and to make sure it was large and sloppy enough, I kept adding stitches and rows to the pattern as I went. When it was finished - it was beautiful - V-necked with a large single cable running down the front and each of the sleeves. It was also so large that when I slipped it over my head, it slithered all the way down my body and landed at my feet! My brother, at this point 6'4", and my sister, 5'10", were able to stand side by side in the jumper, with room to spare. It became such a running joke within the family, I couldn't look at knitting needles with any pleasure for a long time! I took them up again in the Winter of 2008 - I'd just set up my own business and the knitting was intended as a distraction to keep me from spending all my time at the computer. By the following year, I'd starting making items for the home - tea cosies and cushions - under the banner Where There's a Wool', having by this time knitted more scarves than one woman could ever possibly use. For Valentine's Day this year I created a line of crochet hearts filled with lavender and was invited to supply these to a Wedding Fair in the UK - I recognized an opportunity to take my work in a different direction, making fancy things for special occasions, and Grace & Favour was born. The current range includes hand crocheted collars, capes and shawls, felt brooches and hair accessories, crochet jewellery, as well as the lavender crochet hearts.
2. What inspires you? I trained as an architect, at Glasgow School of Art, where I learned take inspiration from all kinds of influences - buildings, photographs, paintings, poetry, music, nature... For me anything that creates an emotional response can inspire. I think the architect's discipline is to walk a line between the practical and emotional - taking inspiration from the unusual or the everyday, translating that impulse back into a material form which will then inspire a new set of emotions in someone else. With Grace & Favour, the emotions I want to create are joy and delight - I'm very much exploring a new set of materials, playing with them to see what they can do, and taking my inspiration from that to imagine the next piece or to push my ideas further. I use high quality natural materials - alpaca, mohair, silk, bamboo - because I want to make things to last and also nowadays as consumers, we're more aware of the comfort and sustainability of natural fibres, over man-made, and more careful about the choices we make. I've also discovered an eco-felt made from recycled plastic bottles and I love the idea of taking a material that is essentially unsustainable and transforming it into something beautiful instead. The felt pieces are quite structured and it's here that the architect's instinct starts to show through! Mostly, I'm inspired by nature - the natural world builds and replenishes itself, so there's a lot to learn from it. My work is for anyone who is looking for something individual to wear, who enjoys colour, expressing themselves, and values the quality and attention to detail that comes with hand-made pieces. A new range of crochet and beaded pieces are designed to be flexible and can be worn as a brooch, a hairpiece, a corsage or on a sash - to be adapted by customers to suit an individual look, style or occasion - and I'm always happy to take on commissions or customize pieces, on request.
3. What's next for Grace & Favour? Well, I want to continue developing new pieces and growing the range of products and I'm currently exploring the use of recycled materials for new pieces. Also, I'm looking at possible locations and outlets for selling my work - at the moment, I have a Facebook page and Etsy shop where my work is on display, and can be ordered, but I'd love for customers to be able to view pieces in the flesh. I'm doing various markets and events around Ireland, over the coming months, the next of which will be 'Frock Around the Clock' Vintage Fair in Belfast on 7th August.
Thanks Angela! Watch out for Angela's work in an upcoming eco-chic wedding look created by One of a Kind Weddings and photographed by Christina Brosnan (click the link for a peek on Christina's blog with Angela's headpiece!).