For the series Good Folk on this blog I have sent interview questions to some really wonderful people who are either making things, running shops, or generally promoting sustainability. I think you will enjoy reading their answers as much as I have, and I hope they inspire us all with the knowledge that there are people doing good in the world!
This interview is with Clare from Clare gets Crafty. A maker of crochet goodies using colourful t-shirt yarn, Clare is committed to using sustainable yarns for her beautiful creations.
Tell me about yourself and the work that you do.
Hello! I'm Clare, I'm a Birmingham-based crocheter of colourful and sustainable baskets, hanging planters, plant pot covers and mandala hoops. All of my items are made using t-shirt yarn, which is a form of chunky yarn that's made from recycled textiles that would otherwise be discarded from clothing factories.
How or why did you get started?
I first learned to crochet in 2012, when I was new mum and needed something to keep my hands busy between feeds and nappy changes. It started off as a hobby but then people started to ask me to make things for them and it was a natural progression to open an online shop on Folksy in 2014. I quit my day job as an events manager in September 2015 and I've been working on Clare Gets Crafty since. I first hooked up baskets made from t-shirt yarn in 2016 but it's only in the last year or so that I've made a very conscious effort to move away from man-made fibres and focus on only using sustainable yarns in my work.
What is your favourite thing about the work that you do?
I'm all about colour and I love experimenting with new combinations. The most exciting thing about t-shirt yarn is that you can't always guarantee finding the same colour again, so each basket I make is unique. Hooking a basket is also a great arm workout!
Take me on an imaginary tour of your workspace.
I work from my craft room, which is in the attic of our Victorian terraced house. It's a tiny space and completely full to the brim with craft supplies. I just about have space for my desk, my treasured chest of drawers (inherited from my grandparents) where I store all of my yarn, and the ubiquitous Kallax storage unit from Ikea. I try to keep it tidy but I don't often manage it! The wall in front of my desk is covered in colourful postcards which inspire a lot of my colour combinations. There's always 6 Music on the radio and a big mug of tea on my desk.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I try to fit my work into the school day so that I can focus on my two boys when they home from school. The morning is for admin and catching up with emails, while the afternoon is set aside for making. More often than not, I'll migrate to the sofa in the afternoon and watch something on Netflix while I crochet. I always use the excuse that my optician recommended this so that I don't strain my eyes on too much close-up work!
How/has working sustainably impacted your non-business life?
Since making the decision to move away from man-made fibres, I've been much more aware of our impact as a family. I now try to only buy clothes from sustainable sources, and I've switched a lot of our toiletries and household products to plastic-free options. There will always be more we can do to reduce our impact but we're heading in the right direction.