Here is the next installment in our Meet the Maker series. Let's meet The Squirrel Collective!
1) Who are you and what do you make?
I'm Tessa, the crocheter at The Squirrel Collective, and I live in Somerset with my husband and six year old daughter. I crochet colourful things - mostly home wares, such as vintage style granny square blankets and floral cushion covers, but also bright and funky baubles, hats and scarves in the winter.
My favourite colour is actually black, but when it comes to crochet, brighter is better! I enjoy experimenting with colour combinations and patterns, and there's nothing lovelier than seeing a brand new tiny human wrapped in one of my rainbow blankets, or my baubles hanging on a tree, a part of someones Christmas.
2) What first got you into making things?
I had tried to teach myself to crochet many times, it was on my list of 'Things To Do Before I'm 30', but had never been able to grasp it as I'm not a naturally crafty or practical person. One of my awesome and very patient friends had a go at teaching me, it clicked, and now there's no stopping me! I've struggled with my mental health for many years, and crochet has become a fantastic coping mechanism for me.
When my anxiety is at its worst, I can grab a hook and some yarn and distract myself, busy my mind constructively, and have a beautiful item at the end! Surrounding myself with vibrant colour is a fabulous mood booster, and the sense of achievement when I create something that's well received is such a buzz! Crocheting itself is almost a form of meditation, the rhythmic stitching. It has seen me through some very dark days, I cannot begin to express what it means to me.
3) What does a day in the life of The Squirrel Collective look like? (if there is such a things as a standard day?)
My day to day life is a jumble of parenting, crochet, boring admin type stuff and occasionally some tidying up! I love that I can plan my own time (although I'm a master procrastinator), as it means I can fit my work around school runs and family and as many coffee breaks as I like.
I must crochet every day, I feel a bit out of sorts if I don't. I have projects that are more long term, that I do a bit of each day, such as my 2018 temperature blanket, so I allow time for that. And I'm usually working on several things at once, so I pick whichever one is most urgent, or I have enough time for, and settle down for a Netflix binge. I'll check emails and social media while the kettle boils, take product photographs when the sun decides to shine, nip to the post office with customers parcels, and from 3pm I'm doing the Mum thing, making it up as I go along. I'm often up late hooking away watching ridiculously cheesy TV like Dawson's Creek.
4) What hopes and plans do you have for your handmade business the future?
When I first started crocheting, I didn't imagine this ever becoming a business, so I never had goals in mind. I've certainly never had huge financial ones, or aspirations of massive success or fame. I keep my hopes small (my pesky anxiety doesn't like to think too far ahead), so at the moment I'm focused on launching my new logo very soon, my upcoming market event and lots of plans for my autumn/winter range.
I have a blanket that my great, great grandmother made that we snuggle up with on the sofa and it is loved so dearly. It's wonderful (and a little overwhelming!) to think that something I made may have a similar place in someone else's home. I'll be happy as long as I'm able to hold a hook and yarn and use my hands to keep making things that people may keep for generations.
You can find Tessa and The Squirrel Collective online at www.thesquirrelcollective.co.uk as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
If you would like to be included in the Meet the Maker series, please send us a message!