Welcome to Shop Stories! In this series of weekly blog posts Etsy Originals will be quizzing some of the most talented & famous small shop owners and Instagram super stars to find out exactly what makes them tick. Make sure you follow this blog to ensure you never miss out!
This week is brought to you by Kristina, the talented crochet artist behind Tiny Curl. Kristina makes some of the most whimsical and fun crochet dolls and other items I’ve seen online and has a truly wonderful eye for colour! Read all about her story below.
Hi there, Kristina! Welcome to Etsy Originals, thank you for taking part. Why don’t you kick off by telling us a bit about your background and how you got started?
Hi! I’m Kristina and I make all things Tiny Curl. Tiny Curl is a celebration of bright color and quirky design brought to life by crochet. My main medium is crochet because I love its endless versatility and getting to play with colorful (and squishy!) yarn. Unlike knitting or sewing, crochet can only be done by hand, making it a truly 100% handmade art form. Since I was young, I’ve loved making things with my hands. Whether I was painting rocks or knotting friendship bracelets, I was always making something. I have tried almost every craft in the book – cross-stitch, embroidery, sewing, needle felting, illustration, pottery – you name it, I’ve tried it. But nothing has captured me as much as crochet.
I started crocheting in 2012 because I was looking for something I could do during a long road trip. I taught myself by watching YouTube videos. I first learned how to make a simple granny square, then how to read patterns. My first project was an African Flower blanket that I still haven’t finished. After that road trip and many African Flower hexagons later, I was hooked (pun intended!). Although I love all types of crochet, making amigurumi (or dolls that are crocheted or knitted) is my favorite. Most amigurumi designs are made up of various geometric shapes. I love the freedom this provides – my imagination is the limit! One of the first amigurumi I made was my Cheese Puff doll. The Cheese Puffs are a simple ball shape, but after making them I realized I could combine my love of drawing characters with my love of crochet.
I decided to take my love for crochet design to the next level this January when I opened my Etsy store, Tiny Curl Shop, and started blogging and posting on Instagram more frequently. It is an exciting process and I am learning a lot every day: from SEO to packaging, there are so many things to consider and learn for a small handmade business. My favorite part has been the amazing community of makers I have connected with through Instagram. The maker community is endlessly supportive and always willing to give advice!
Tell us about your creative process?
My creative process usually starts with a spark of inspiration. For my Party Snails, I started thinking about why you only see snails come out at night and I imagined it was because they are huge party animals that rage all night long and sleep all day. Obviously a quick Google search told me it’s so their bodies don’t dry out in the sun, but this thought led to the creation of the Party Snail!
What gets you our of bed in the morning. Tell us more about your inspirations!
When inspiration doesn’t come to me, I have to go find it! I am very inspired by animation – some of my favorite TV shows are Adventure Time and Rick and Morty and I love Studio Ghibli movies – the level of detail is exceptional. I also have Pinterest boards FULL of inspiring color palettes, illustrations, fashion, photography – really anything that catches my eye. Looking through my Pinterest boards always gets the inspiration ball rolling! After I get an idea, I will usually sketch out what I want the piece to look like and break it down into shapes. For the snail, I used a flattened sphere for the shell and a long tube for the body. Then I’ll go to my yarn wall and pull the colors I want to use and get to work! It usually takes me several tries to get the design where I want it.
And what top tips would you give those of us wanting to follow in your footsteps?
The best advice I would give to new crocheters and hand-makers in general is to do what you like to do and HAVE FUN. If you’re having fun and loving the work you’re making, people will take notice. Make your work for you first and foremost and not what you think people will like. Another piece of advice would be to present yourself professionally from the start. Taking your art and business seriously will help others take you seriously, too. Because crochet and other crafts are hobbies for most people, you need to work extra hard to elevate yourself as a professional. Branding, photography, and packaging can have a huge impact on your work!
If you’d like to hear more from Kristina and Tiny Curl, as well as follow her work, you can do so at the following links:
Website – www.tinycurl.co
Instagram – @tinycurl
Etsy Shop – www.tinycurlshop.etsy.com