This week we’re chatting with weaving wonder, Vanessa Lauria of pidge pidge. I found Vanessa by listening to the Elise Gets Crafty podcast, where she was interviewed. I remember listening to her answers in the car after driving my boys to school, and wanting to run out and get a loom myself! I almost did, then I remembered, I just started this embroidery thang – let me go deep into that first. As Vanessa and I were exchanging emails for this interview, we got into all kinds of loom talk. She’s very easy to chat with. Let’s get to it, shall we?
How did you get started with pidge pidge?
I took my first weaving class in college, but have been working with fibers most of my life. The summer after graduation, my teacher gave me access to the studio and you can bet I took advantage of that opportunity! I’d walk to south campus every day after work and weave for hours.
I found my first loom, a vintage fixer upper, on Craigslist and worked an assortment of jobs to fund my passion for weaving. After helping a friend at a Renegade Craft Fair, I came home with new friends, business connections and loads of colorful inspiration. I took the leap and began pidge pidge in 2008.
What do you love about weaving?
I love that weaving lets me explore, play and experiment with color. I welcome happy accidents and glitches to create new patterns and techniques. I can design as I weave, letting a degree of intuition and spontaneity keep things fresh. I also really enjoy connecting with a traditional medium that doesn’t relying on electronics or advanced technology to work.
What kinda drives you crazy about weaving?
Up until recently, if I wanted to weave, I had to be sitting at my floor loom. Not being able to change my surroundings, like weaving outside in beautiful weather, can be frustrating. Now that I’m exploring tapestry weaving, I can bring my craft with me wherever I go! Last fall, I planned an artist retreat in Joshua Tree, CA, and brought a small loom with me. I wove at the airport, on the plane, and in the desert!
I think that the amount of set-up and prep it takes before you can actually start weaving may stop a lot of people from trying to learn. Winding a warp, threading and dressing the loom can be tedious. But, I enjoy meditative, detailed and repetitive work, so it’s a perfect fit 🙂
What craft would you like to try other than weaving?
I’m dying to learn to spin my own yarn! It seems like a natural next step on my fibers journey. I’ve recently started to explore natural dyes and have loved putting my “kid scientist” gloves on. Right now, I’m working with foraged dyestuffs (avocado pits, onion skins, and flowers from the summer garden), but I’d love to learn the more involved/complicated techniques of indigo dyeing.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wanted to open an online handmade shop?
Engage with your creative community. Reaching out to people you admire or have questions for can give you the motivation and confidence to try your hand at anything. What have you got to lose?
What inspires you, or how do you keep your creative mojo going?
Color gets me every time. I’m always on the lookout for interesting and unexpected color combinations. I keep my phone and a notebook handy when I’m out and about to capture the way colors interact with each other. I love to play with bobbins of yarn as my palette, arranging and rearranging them for design inspiration.
Once an idea gets traction, the anticipation of wanting to see the completed project usually propels me forward. Big projects can be overwhelming, so if I can break them down into bite sized pieces and think, “one step at a time”, they become much easier to cross off my to do list.
Where can we find you?
I love to connect with fellow and aspiring textile-loving friends. I have a weekly newsletter as a way to keep in touch with customers and admirers of pidge pidge. Here, you can get the first peek at new products, behind the scenes in my studio, artist spotlights & free downloadable phone wallpapers. I also encourage folks to email me about anything weaving! I relish conversation about fibers, weaving questions and suggestions; sharing my passion for modern color, texture and pattern is my favorite part of the biz! I invite readers to subscribe at hellopidgepidge.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I bet you want to start weaving too! I have to tell you, her newsletters are color jewels in my inbox. Wherever I am, I open it up and soak in her color inspiration and behind the scene looks! I do hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I enjoyed getting to know Vanessa a little better. Until next week!
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