Deb is an incredibly well rounded artist, and expresses herself through crocheting and knitting, as well as drawing, painting, jewelry making, singing and even creating her own puppet. My absolute favorite creation of Deb’s is her currently un-named owl puppet, with eyes that bring his personality to life the instant you see him. If Deb weren’t working with us at WEBS, she’d be banging down the door at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop for a job. (Her favorite Muppet is Pepe!)
You can read more about how Deb’s owl came to life in her interview below.
What fiber crafts do you do? Do you have a favorite?
Crochet is my go-to, but I also knit and spin on a drop spindle occasionally. I’ve also wet-felted beads. I get inspired by the raw materials, the fiber or the yarn. Usually it tells me what it wants to be. For example, if a yarn colorway reminds me of a semi-precious stone color, I try to utilize it in jewelry. Mesh-tube constructed yarn is really fun to experiment with!
How long have you been knitting and crocheting?
My mom had been trying to teach me to crochet for years. (My father’s mother had taught her how to crochet when my father was stationed with the Army in Vietnam, to use up nervous energy.) About 8 years ago while watching my favorite holiday movie “Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas” with my mom, I noted that one of the Muppets was wearing a granny square scarf, and that I wanted one. The next thing I know I have a bag of yarn in my lap and a hook in my hand. Within a few days, I finished my first project!
Left: Deb and her Owl puppet smile for the camera. He’s made from Prism Plume yarn, paint, and Shrinky Dinks.
Right: Deb’s paintings of Bill Murray, Steve Buschemi, Christopher Walken, and Steve Martin in progress. Painted on small wooden tiles.
What fiber project are you working on right now?
I am racing to finish a yarn bombing project! Basically, “yarn-bombing” is fiber-art graffiti. My project is part of an art festival in Holyoke, MA, and will be installed on a bench outside of the public library on the second floor of their city hall. I am crocheting morning glories to cover this bench that sits in front of beautiful stained glass windows.
Do you have a favorite fiber project?
I’m proud of the Nevermore Window Panel that appears in the Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders book. It was my first published pattern, and though it took a while, it was really fun to chart out and watch it come to life with the Malabrigo Sock yarn.
How else do you express yourself artistically?
Everything I do is an artistic expression! I majored in visual art in college, I have been drawing and painting all my life. I make jewelry, crocheted with wire. I’ve done some scrapbooking, paper-making, and sewing. I love mixing mediums! My paintings will sometimes include fiber or collage, my crocheted items will have beads…
Oh! And I’ve started to build puppets. Basically, my dream job for years has been to work for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. My current project is an owl. There is paper mache, Prism Plume yarn, paint, and Shrinky Dinks involved in its construction!
Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you have completed?
Well, I guess my favorite one(s?) of the past few months is my series of tiny portraits on wood tile beads. Bill Murray, Christopher Walken. It takes a few sessions for each one to get to the point where I’m satisfied with it. I still have a few in progress.
Deb has been working with us at WEBS for about five years now, and loves to talk about color with our customers. Her talents don’t stop at the arts. She’s recently taken on the challenge of training for roller derby. She says, “I’ve never been athletic, and it’s different from anything I’ve ever done. It’s a challenge in a whole new way.” She’s managed to find some parallels between derby and her comfort zone of the arts. Learning how to crochet is all about building muscle memory, learning to skate is the same idea. Keep building muscle memory. She boils it down really well, it’s all about practice. “When I can’t hit a note in a song, it’s just more practice. When you try anything new, all it takes is just more practice.”