Meet the Artist: Mary Ballard

February 13, 2018 0 Comments

Meet the Artist: Mary Ballard

You may remember seeing this tantalizing woven scarf pattern we released a few months back. We couldn't help but be awestruck when we saw how Mary Ballard (better known as @goldfinchwoven) used our Lace Weight Cabito Wool Yarn to create new patterns, textures, and styles with the yarn.

Mary, a fiber artist with a focus on sustainable textiles and handwoven goods, has designed a fresh, new scarf pattern that will be perfect for spring and summer wear. This vibrant, colorful scarf is made using our plush, recycled, Cotton T-Shirt Yarn and our Sport Weight Linen 2-Ply. 

Continue on to learn more about how Mary began weaving, and get your UV Strips Scarf Kit here!

WHEN DID YOU START WEAVING? HOW DID YOU LEARN?

I began weaving about 3 years ago. I’ve always been an artist- I first studied Fine Art and Printmaking at College for Creative Studies here in Detroit but in my mid 20’s, I found myself without a studio space. I picked-up knitting needles for a quick creative fix and once I delved into fiber, I never looked back!  For a few years I had a successful small business making knitted and felted toys. After the birth of my second daughter, I took a break from it and started reevaluating what I wanted to be when I grew up.  A childhood visit to a weaving studio had stuck with me for years and I found myself watching youtube videos, reading books and learning everything I could about weaving.  I was absolutely fascinated by it.  I  bought a rigid heddle loom but it took me close to year to set it up and start weaving.  The freestyle exploration of Saori weaving appealed strongly to me as a way to combine my Fine Arts background with love for fiber so I started there. Before I knew it, I was selling my work and getting commissions from my home studio.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY INVOLVING CROCHET?

I’m always drawn back to my first introduction to weaving as a young child.  My elementary school Brownie troop visited a weaving studio in the Detroit area and I was so struck by the colors and textures and how these amazing woven pieces had been created out of what seemed like thin air.  It was absolute magic to 8 year old me. The memory of this giant floor loom warped with what looked like thousands of glowing red threads has stayed with me for close to 30 years.  To be able to sit at a loom in my studio space, look at the work I’ve done and see how I’ve come full circle back to one of my earliest creative experiences is pretty amazing.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE YOUR OWN SMALL BUSINESS?

Honestly- it started because I wanted extra money to buy more yarn so I could make more things!  I'm a process person and driven by the need to create, learn and grow more than anything.  Being able to have a small business to support what I love doing is incredible.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU HAVE FACED SO FAR IN YOUR FIBER ARTS CAREER?

Balance.  Trying to find some semblance of balance between motherhood and creating,  being true to my art while trying to grow a business, making and marketing, laundry and looms…. It’s not easy but I mostly find a way. Maybe?  Ha! 

WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER CRAFTERS WHO ARE LOOKING TO TAKE THEIR ART TO THE NEXT LEVEL?

Keep learning, embrace your mistakes, accept challenges, be patient with yourself and just go for it!  This is a journey and every small step is you working towards something bigger- whether it be learning a new technique, working with a new material, making a sale, navigating social media, etc.  All that effort, experimentation and determination can open up so many opportunities along the way.  One day you’ll look back and be pretty darn impressed with all you’ve done.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR 2018? 

 I have a few upcoming collaborations with Darn Good Yarn that I’m very excited about.  Creating weaving patterns using recycled materials has been a really cool experience and something I’ve been thinking about expanding on.  I’m looking into doing a few workshops locally while expanding my little creative biz and hopefully spending a lot of quality time weaving in the upcoming months. 

 

Be sure to follow @darngoodyarn and @goldfinchwoven to stay in the loop about upcoming partnership updates, including more patterns and tutorials! 

 


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