Art but not exactly as you know it this week – bespoke vintage inspired crochet wall art created by Emma of Pineapple Fibre Art. Using gorgeous hand dyed yarns, these intricate art pieces are certainly pretty and you can see the painstakingly amount of work that has gone into each mandala. And the size of them! I was gifted the Pale Green Penny mandala (thank you Emma) and it amazed me how big it was and how stunning it looks too. I couldn’t wait to ask Emma about her works of art … Hi Emma!
Hello, my name is Emma and I live in Devon halfway between Dartmoor and the sea.
What inspired the setting up of “Pineapple Fibre Art”?
Pineapple Fibre Art is based on my love of vintage doily patterns and gorgeous hand dyed yarn. No one really has white doilies under their fruit bowl anymore, but the patterns are so intricate and beautiful that I wanted a way to allow them to be enjoyed in a more contemporary setting. The ‘pineapple’ in my business name comes from a motif that is frequently found repeated in my work and loosely resembles, you guessed it, a pineapple. I love to crochet, I love turning a skein of yarn (merino/nylon blend for preference) into something beautiful, the possibilities in that skein of yarn are endless and that is so exciting.
Your crochet mandalas are made using gorgeous hand dyed yarns in a variety of doily patterns. What mandala patterns and colours are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?
This season the colours have been more muted, and my most popular pattern has been the Maggie, with her tight central swirl and pineapples around the outside. This is a 60cm design, a stunning statement piece of art. I’ve also seen an increase in my pattern sales, which makes sense with the world still partially closed due to Covid-19.
Out of all your collection, do you have any favourites?
I’ll always have a soft spot for the Fran, a graceful 70cm hoop. She was rather tricky to get right at first, but it was so worth it. Despite her size she is light and airy and looks beautiful in any colourway. This one in the soft mint green was the first and I love her!
As you are based in the UK, are your products available to purchase overseas?
Yes of course! Obviously Brexit has made shipping to the EU more expensive, and prices for shipping have been shifting, but I am happy to set up shipping to anywhere; my parcels are light, but big so courier services are usually required.
When designing the doily patterns to add to your mandala collection, do you base your designs on original vintage pieces or do you prefer to make up your own pattern combinations?
It’s a real combination! Many of my hoops are based on vintage patterns, tweaked to fit within the perfect circle of my wooden hula hoops. Over time I may amend the pattern further to suit my tastes and tension, the sizes of hoops available and the size the customer wants. I have designed from scratch my own 60cm hoop, Patience, named for the time and effort required to get it right! I also sometimes use motifs from various patterns in tandem to suit the yarn and size I am aiming for.
How long have you been crocheting? Can you also knit?
Ooo, I’ve been crocheting for around 12 years now I think. A friend started me off and I got the rest from Youtube. Knitting however… that’s much more tricky: I have knitted a scarf, and one sock. I can sort of knit I suppose, but it’s hard going and I’d rather have a crochet hook in my hand!
Growing up, did you always want to be a designer/creative field or did your aspirations lie elsewhere?
I think like many people I didn’t come into my creativity until later. I don’t paint or draw and wouldn’t have called myself artistic or creative when I was younger, despite always making jewellery and, later on, bags. I don’t think I ever had a particularly firm idea what I’d do as an adult after the two weeks work experience in a primary school when I was 15 told me I didn’t want to be a teacher. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, and I’m 36 now, I’ll just keep making it up as I go!
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Dresses! In winter I love colourful tights especially Snag mustard ones, yellow legs make me happy, in summer some chub rub shorts. Less worry about what goes with what, and more comfy! Teals, navy and purple figure predominately. I’ve worked out what I like and tend to stick to it now, even if I can be a bit predictable!
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
I love Folksy and Etsy for beautiful unique hand made things, Seasalt for clothes, but I’ve never been much of a high street shopper and 2020 removed my desire to shop in person even further. I could do with a couple of more summery dresses though, so I might have to brave the shops soon!
Boots or Shoes?
Boots, with crochet socks! I hate wet feet and boots mean I can walk the dog without my feet freezing off. And I don’t do heels, I never really learnt to walk in them. Am I allowed to say that here?!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Pineapple Fibre Art
Thank you very much for the crochet mandala ( it is very beautiful) and thank you for telling us all about your crochet works of art. My Nan always had lots of crochet doilies scattered around her house and she would have adored your work too.
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Pineapple Fibre Art (apart from the header photo and the Pinterest photo which were by Linda Hobden).