Got Craft! Interview: Beyond The Felted Magic Of Hold Handmade

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GotCraft! approaches. The annual gathering of local artisans selling the latest of their handmade designs goes down at the Royal Canadian Legion (Commercial and 6th) on Sunday, May 2nd. As sponsors of this much-loved community event for the second time running, Scout tracked down a few of the exhibiting artists and asked them a few questions. We begin with Maria Roth of Hold: Modern Crochet Goods.

Maria’s current work focuses on crocheted, felted wool bowls and runners, as well as painted panel studies of indigenous plants. She learned how to crochet from her mother, who made and sold her own baskets in the 1970’s, and by watching her 99 year old grandmother make countless pairs of pom-pommed slippers, baby afghans and lace wedding bedspreads. Say hi after the jump…

SCOUT Q&A

Three things about your neighbourhood that make you want to live there: Just off Granville Island: I’ve lived here, on land and on the water, for 20 years. It’s a village in the middle of the city, pedestrian-oriented, and diverse.

Where do you enjoy shopping in Vancouver? Food: Granville Island and the government wharf. Clothing: The share box in my housing co-op, Salvation Army. Jewelery: I try to buy things I love direct from the maker.

Is there a local designer that you admire? Anat Basanta. She’s a jeweler whose strong, sculptural, organic work takes my breathe away. One of my favorite ever things is a pair of earrings I bought from her many years ago. People always ask about them. Anat is also this really amazing person, positive and encouraging, and has been my inspiration as I try to balance things with my family and my design practice.

What inspires you? The outside world, especially the beauty of the inter-tidal zone.

Tell us about your favourite space to work: The beach on a sunny day.

What is your favourite ‘Hold’  creation right now? It’s usually whatever I’m working on or thinking about working on next! At this moment, it’s swag for the GotCraft! show on May 2nd (I’ve accumulated a lovely pile of colourful little bowls) and an in-progress painting on wood veneer of mussel shells, seaweed and barnacles.

What sort of music do you listen to when you are working? When I am working alone, blessed silence. The rest of my day, my kids, who are 6 and 9, never (and I mean never!) stop talking or asking questions.

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Why is Vancouver a good city for indie design? This is a hard one for me to answer, because as much as I love Vancouver, it is a very challenging city with its high cost of living and lack of affordable housing. It’s been, for a long time, difficult for indie creatives to do their work and properly support themselves, and for indie owners to run a shop or business. And it gets tougher every year.

Describe your favourite part of a typical ‘Hold’ day: Felting my wool bowls. The transformation always feels like magic to me. They go from being these big, floppy things to a firm, felted fabric. Just from hot water, soap, agitation and time. I love it.

If you were to choose one of your creations to send to the Queen, which one would you choose, and why? Answering honestly, none. I don’t think my work is really her style!! If I could, I’d nominate someone else at this year’s Got Craft, and send a donation, on behalf of the Queen, to the 3H Craftworks Society, who has done great work for so many years.

If you were going to recommend a Vancouver artist/designer/musician/personality for Scout to interview, who would it be? Heather Bruhn-Dahl, an artist and potter. Her work is wonderful, she actively promotes others’ work, and she keeps a lovely blog – check it out here.

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