Editor's Note: Tsia Carson is a partner in the multidisciplinary design firm Flat and an accomplished designer with an extensive background in the fine arts, semiotics and new technologies. Flat's clients include the New York City Marathon, Red Cross, the Tang Museum, Knoll, the Brennan Center for Justice, Creative Time, and ESPN. Tsia has taught at Yale's Graduate Program for Graphic Design, Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons School of Design, and Hunter College. She has served on several nonprofit boards, including the Board of the New York chapter of the AIGA. Tsia is the editor-in-chief of SuperNaturale, an alt DIY site created by her firm, and author of the recently published Craftivity: 40 Projects for the DIY Lifestyle, out from HarperCollins.
I thought i would spend the next five days sharing all the things I am currently obesessed with with you. I think it will be more fun and probaly more revealing then telling you about my rather humdrum life.
After writing/curating a book on the alt DIY/craft couture scene I have inadvertently set myself up as some kind of expert on the topic. I have never been much for expertise. But I would be remiss if I didn't live up to expectation in this regard. You would think after working on this book for 2 years I would be burned out on making stuff but actually I am more excited now than ever. I like to make stuff, I like the people who make stuff, and I like their stuff. I definitely advocate not making stuff and instead supporting other people who make stuff. In fact, most people make nicer stuff than I can make ? which is why Craftivity has 40 phenomenal contributors.
There is some stuff that I have seen recently that isn't in the book that has blown me away. I thought a few tidbits would be nice for you. Ana Voog makes these incredible free form crochet hats that are out of this world and dude, she accepts commissions. I totally love her work. Check out this chain link fence by Joep Verhoeven ? it is just so beautiful I can't stand it.
I also recently saw these images of vertical gardens, which really got me thinking. And have you seen Zoë Sheehan Saldaña's work? She remakes everyday things like paper bags and Kmart shirts by hand and then returns her items into the original context.
I love the conceptual making. I like to call what I do high concept crafting. I almost always start with an idea ? like I want to make teeny tiny issey miyake clothes because I can't afford the real thing. In the past I extended this idea to teaching myself some ghetto version of feng shui and now I am on an ayurvedic kick (more on this in a later post). As I put together this book that drove a lot of my decision making process in terms of other contributors. Craftivity is a project-driven book so there are 40 projects to do in it that are very defined but generally the people who made them started out with an idea or in some cases a conundrum ? what should I do all these moth eaten sweaters? I wonder if I can crochet a skull? There's a tree stump in the sidewalk, it looks lonely... And so on. But most projects in the book started out as gifts ? from one individual to another. And I think this kind of generosity is powerful and immediate when you see it in action.
But after all this prattling on I do have a craft crush on something ? Tunisian Crochet AKA afghaning AKA granny squares AKA Shepard's crochet. I have always been partial to crochet, perhaps because I learned it as a child. I also think it is very easy to learn and therefore democratic. Tunisian crochet is probably the mother stitch to both crochet and knitting, proto knitting I like to call it, the mother of all stitches. It is elegant, strong and fun to do. You use a very long needle with a crochet hook on the end and you essentially cast stitches on and off the needle with a crochet stitch holding the yarn as you do in continental knitting. It has a knit and purl side like a knit piece but it looks almost woven. You can easily transfer the work onto a knitting needle (on a cast on row) and just start knitting with the piece. It's a very open system. Generally people make ugly ass afghans with this technique (granny squares) but I really think that it can be used for much more interesting things. I recently did a project of Amy Spencer's new book where I made "yarn" from yards of fabric and used a broomstick to Tunisian crochet so I had a super chunky scarf. With its density it lends itself to something like a rug, which I think, might be my next project. Although I am totally backlogged here... I still haven't finished my 2-year-old daughter's baby quilt. Darn book!