Darn Good Yarn is proud to be part of an inclusive and diverse community of crafters. In celebration of Pride Month in June, DGY invited LGBTQIA+ fiber artists to share their work and stories with us for the DGY Pride Scholarship. We are grateful to all applicants who took the time to tell us about their crafting practice and experiences.
Three artists were selected to receive a $1,000 DGY scholarship to put toward their next creations. Over the next month, we’ll be highlighting these three individuals and their creativity, artwork, and insights on crafting and community. We are pleased to introduce our winners!
Kitty Quitmeyer has created pieces highlighting environmental sustainability, from her original patterns for rarely-seen ocean organisms to functional items made of upcycled plastic yarn, or “plarn.” With her tech-savvy partner, Kitty has also explored the mental and physical effects of crafting. “The acceptance and liberation I’ve found through the LGBTQIA community has taught me to be more open to making things that inspire me without worrying about what other people will think,” says Kitty. Her work can be found on her website, wellreadpanda.com.
Emma Oliver is an MFA student at Illinois State University. Her pieces explore communication in interpersonal relationships and analyze the power of the words we use, then quickly forget. She says yarn helps soften the sometimes harsh messages in her work, which takes such forms as telephones, scarves, and double-necked sweaters. While human communication takes new forms in the COVID-19 pandemic, her work is also shifting. In a recent yarn-bombing project, Emma put masks on public statues throughout her current city of Bloomington, Illinois, in an effort to spark conversation and normalize wearing masks. Her work can be found on Instagram at @EmmaOliverArt.
Maryssa Capelli took a deep dive into fiber arts last year, using fiber found around the house and a loom made of cardboard and a bobby pin. Using a dreamy pastel aesthetic, she aims to invoke a sense of nostalgia and invite viewers to explore things they may have given up on or forgotten about. “My existence as a "creative" and my identities within the LGBT community are inextricably intertwined,” says Maryssa, who identifies as a non-binary lesbian. As a teenager and young adult, her work explored themes of despair and a desire to escape or transcend as she came to terms with her sexuality and discovered inner truths. These days, she finds herself returning to themes from her childhood art: otherworldliness, magic, warmth, and welcoming. Her work can be found on Instagram at @maryssacapelli.