Making Conversation with Quayln Stark
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/ giveaway: purl soho /
This week's giveaway is sponsored by Purl Soho, and we're giving away 5 skeins of their Tussock yarn in Blue Fjord - a deep navy blue 60/40 superfine kid mohair and silk blend. The winner will also receive a pair of Purl Soho Rose Gold Fabric Shears made in Sheffield, England perfect for making precise cuts on your most precious fabrics.
To enter this giveaway, download our new app, Making, and leave a comment on today's podcast episode post. Find us in the Apple App Store with a search for "Making." And if you don't have an iPhone–not to worry. We'll be releasing the Android app in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can enter by commenting on the episode blog post at makingzine.com.
The biggest of thanks to everyone involved in this weeks episode, Quayln, Purl Soho, the Making team and our producer Alice Anderson. I hope you'll join me each week as we talk and learn from more fascinating makers. For podcast notes and transcription, visit makingzine.com. Have a wonderful week!
Click to show transcript.
Ashley [00:00:05] Welcome to Making Conversation, a podcast for makers where we share with you some incredible people within this community we love so much. Here's where you get to listen to a little part of their making journey. I'm your host, Ashley Yousling. Today, I'm talking with Quayln Stark of QUOE. As an artist and designer, Quayln's passion for self-expression and inclusivity shine through each of his creations. From sewing and quilting to knitting and crochet, Quayln pairs traditional fiber arts techniques with imaginative designs, colors and textures. You can find his free Crochet Lentil pattern–an adorable amigurumi cat designed for Making–when you log in at themakingapp.com. Quayln is featured in the inaugural issue of our newest publication, BRIGHT, a bi annual magazine centered on diverse voices, repurposing, craftivism and the future of making–now available for 2022 subscriptions at makingzine.com. You can follow Quayln's process on the Making app and on Instagram @PORTQUOELIO and on TikTok @QUOE, and on his website at QUOE.US. And with that, here's Quayln.
Quayln [00:01:28] So, I have two different places I think that my love of what I do now started. Firstly, my grandmother on my mother's side was very into dolls and fashion and that kind of stuff. She had an antique store and that's really where I fell in love with doll clothes and I wanted to make them. And then that really kind of transitioned into my great grandmother on my father's side, doing a lot of hand sewing for herself and I was always interested in what she was doing, and I wanted her to teach me it. So we would take like that old cookie tin full of the sewing supplies everybody's great grandma had, and I would pull out some threads from it, and she would teach me how to handle sew on paper plates. And I remember just like drawing out designs on these paper plates and just hand embroidering them. And that really was my very first introduction into anything fiber arts related. And this was probably when I was like three or four years old, whenever I started that. I had a bit of time, probably around six or seven, where I started doing more hand stitching just for myself, and I would try to hand stitch dolls and that kind of stuff. And I mean, I was six or seven, I wasn't the greatest, but it definitely was the beginning of me really loving my fiber arts crafts and cultivating that. And I would always be crafting, no matter what. I was a very lonely child. I didn't really have a lot of friends outside of school. And because of that, I really focused on making things. And that took on a lot of different forms that used to be decoupaging or painting, sketching, that kind of stuff. And then in freshman year of high school, my summer before freshman year, I actually ended up moving across Texas, from West Texas to East Texas, where I live now. And in that timeframe, I really didn't have anybody at all. I was completely alone for like three months. Did not even have any friends from school because school haven't started yet. So in those three months, I needed a new hobby to keep me busy. So I went to a thrift store and I ended up picking up a skein of really nappy nasty acrylic yarn. There was this red skein of yarn I will never forget from like the 70s, and a double ended the crochet hook that I still have. And I think I spent like a dollar or something on both of it together. I came home and I taught myself to crochet from YouTube and books. And ever since then, it has been just like a whirlwind. So I have not stopped.
Ashley [00:04:32] Yeah. Going back to the influence that your grandmother and great grandmother had. Have you seen that crop up, that influence, and those experiences as your creative journey has kind of grown and blossomed?
Quayln [00:04:47] I definitely even though my great grandmother was the one to show me more of like a fiber arts kind of thing, I definitely see a lot more influence on my work from my grandmother. She was just a powerhouse and her creativity, I definitely feel I took inspiration from. She was amazing at doing things like floral arrangements and just crafting in general when it comes to like a arts and crafts kind of thing, not necessarily fiber arts, but just crafting, and her like fashion sense and the kind of things that she would gravitate towards when she was collecting antiques and that kind of stuff I definitely see in myself a lot of the time. And she also was a crocheter. It never came up whenever I had started crocheting and actually came up fairly recently. In 2019, I actually spent like a month with her after she had been diagnosed with cancer. And in doing that, I learned a lot of stories from her that I never knew. So she was a crocheter. My mother was a crocheter. And my great grandmother was a crocheter. And not only was she a crocheter, but she was actually an avid crocheter who would design really intricate doily patterns that I had never seen or heard of before. And by the end of that month, I ended up having like a huge bag full of my great grandmother doilies that I never knew existed. And it's so crazy to me to think that she was like a crochet designer as well. So it really feels like that side of my family is really where the fiber art blood is. And just in general, I think Mexican heritage, a lot of Mexican culture encapsulates the crochet experience. I think that there's a lot of Mexican crocheters, that's definitely the biggest fiber art that I've seen in my part of the culture in West Texas. And I definitely feel that I've had a lot of influence from that side of my family and the culture in general. And I find myself now pretty recently since about 2019, designing a lot more with the culture in mind and doing a lot more stuff that would be more referential for my grandmother and that kind of stuff.
Ashley [00:07:39] What do you think influenced her making?
Quayln [00:07:43] I really think that she just had just a creative soul and it just came from in her. She really found a lot of excitement in gardening and floral design, and she was really good at it, and she would make really intricate floral arrangements with vases that she had found it like antique stores and stuff across the country. And her garden was her pride and joy. Whenever we actually went after she had passed to go visit the garden was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. It had grown even more since I had seen it last in 2019. It was amazing. It was very intricate, her designs in the garden and that was where she took the most joy out of doing. But I think definitely that nature and flowers and just fauna in general really was something that kept her going.
Ashley [00:08:52] Yeah, I think it's amazing how just kind of the natural world around us is really maybe at the root of all inspiration for making, you know, like if you really dig down into even the ancestral roots of, like so many of the craft that we do, it really starts from the natural world. I mean, just the materials that we use, you know.
Quayln [00:09:17] Actually, whenever I went over there in 2019, one of my favorite things that I've ever made was I was working on a cabled hat and I did too many cables in it. So it ended up not being stretchy at all. But I still wanted to use it and I decided to make it a cover for a vase. And my grandmother actually did the floral arrangement for it, so I have that connection with her. That piece it's I've named the pattern Alabanza de Yoli, which is for my grandmother, and that is definitely one of my most meaningful pieces because I made it with her. And it included both of our crafts in it. It was her floral arrangements and my knit design, and it really came unexpectedly. It just kind of happened and it felt perfect, and it is definitely one of my favorite things that I've ever done.
Ashley [00:10:19] That's such a cool story. I definitely want to see pictures of that because I'm sure it's amazing. I'm sure before your grandma passed, she had things that she shared with you. But if she could see where you're at today, two or three years later, what do you think she would say?
Quayln[00:10:38] It has been just over a year since she passed, and she would be so excited knowing I've just gotten some very good news, and that she would be over the Moon from that news. Just in general, she would love to see everything that I've been making, especially all of the things that are more referential from my culture. And like I just did a cardigan that was a pinata theme. I know that she would have loved that and her seeing me in more magazines and that kind of stuff. She always loved to see, that was her favorite thing, and I know that she would be all over Facebook talking about all of the stuff that I'm making.
Ashley [00:11:32] Yeah, and only the way that Facebook grandmothers can do it, right? So you mentioned your newest cardigan that you released, and I would love to hear a little bit more about the influence that your culture and Mexico has had on your making.
Quayln [00:11:49] So one of my first pieces that was directly inspired by Mexican culture was my Azulejo de T Talavera bandana pattern, which is a mosaic bandana pattern and it references Azulejo de Talavera, which is an art style found in Mexico and Mexican culture, which is basically like painted tiles and painted pottery. And in Odessa, like, you could not go anywhere without seeing it. It was absolutely everywhere. And it was one of my first introductions into art. And one of my first introductions into Mexican culture, and I've always found the art style fascinating. I've always loved it. And so a few years ago, I actually started painting tiles and I would try to paint them in an Azulejo de Talavera kind of style. And this was at like a ceramic shop, so I would get them shellacked. And I love doing it. It's such a fun, little creative outlet to do. So I wanted to bring that into what I was doing at the time, which was I really loved the mosaic knitting at the time, so I designed a bandana pattern that referenced that kind of art style. That was the first design that I did in reference to my heritage. And after that, I really found a love for it, and I really love to express that. I have many ideas and designs that are coming in the future that are more referential. My second design, I believe was the vase with my grandmother, and my third design, which is my newest, is the pinata cardigan, which references pinatas of course. And the pinata cardigan I think really, not only is it referential to my heritage, but it also is something that blends really where my passion lies at the moment with that heritage and my passion at the moment is to design really kind of one-off pieces that not necessarily are to sell a pattern, which this actually happens to be a pattern that people can buy, but it's really a form of creative expression for me. And that's why my photography and that kind of stuff plays such a vital part of that. It's really about creating an outfit and a moment. And so I think that that piece for me was definitely one of my favorite that I've ever done. I think the pictures came out phenomenal and that I was the last one that I did that referenced my heritage.
Ashley [00:14:49] Yeah, the pictures are phenomenal. And you know, as you're sharing, the thing that I think about is that sometimes we separate craft and art. I don't know, whenever I hear hobby versus art, you automatically think like art is like this higher regarded thing, whereas craft and hobby is kind of like lower and like easier, you know, accessible or whatever. And I I just think that's so wrong. And with kind of the invent of the internet, you see that that's shifted and that probably, you know, has never actually been any different, that it might just be American culture that has created that separation. But art is an expression, and it holds a memory, like and a meaning. And I can't think of one thing that I've made that doesn't literally within the fibers that I have created or the paint, not have a story and a memory connected with it, where when I see it, it brings me right back to that place.
Quayln[00:15:54] Yeah, exactly. I definitely have, like every piece that I make, I can look back and remember the exact time that I was making it, what book I was listening to at the time or podcast or song. It's so specific. And yeah, it's like a time machine almost.
Ashley [00:16:15] Absolutely. And sometimes, like a little bit of a sad one. I mean, there's definitely things that I see and I go, oh that time. You know, it's all kind of literally the story of our life through this tangible thing, so you touched earlier on being by yourself and alone in loneliness and particularly in this last year, I think as a larger society we experienced a level of loneliness that probably a lot of people, especially extroverts, have not experienced before and took to craft, you know, like crafting really gained a whole new spotlight this last year. I would love for you to share a little bit more about loneliness and the role that craft and making played in your life. To fill that gap or to kind of ease that part.
Quayln[00:17:16] So I think my experience is definitely a little more unique in my reasoning for the loneliness. I was born and raised a Jehovah's Witness. And in doing that, when I was raised, my parents were pretty strict. And because of that, I wasn't allowed to have friends that were quote-unquote worldly, so I could only really interact with any of my schoolyard friends there. And once I got home, the only people I was allowed to hang out with and like have fun with, was other witness kids. And in looking at me now, you can tell that pretty much did not work out. They very quickly knew who I was and did not want any part of me, didn't want to be my friend. So I was left alone. I didn't have any witness kids to play around with or hang out with, have sleepovers with and that kind of stuff. And the kids that I would want to do that with, I wasn't allowed to. So I was stuck in this middle ground where I didn't have anybody to do that with. And so I really had to create a space for myself where I could find some fulfillment. And that fulfillment became my crafting. And that started with, like I said, the painting and that kind of stuff. And it quickly turned into my fiber arts and I got really good at knitting and crochet and that kind of stuff, because that's all that I could do at the time. And that was my means of escape. That was something to do. But that I would feel good about doing and know that in time I would be able to share what I intended to share because I've always had these designs and ideas in my head. And I knew even at the time that there would be a moment in the future where I could fully express myself and that I could fully share all of these designs in my head and all of these clothes and that kind of stuff. And it eventually happened where I was able to do that. I'm very early on in that sort of journey in that part of my life, but I have found that I'm able to now express myself and I'm able to make that kid that was at home alone, knitting and crocheting by himself–make him proud and show him that it wasn't all for nothing. And I don't know if I would change anything about that because it's made me who I am today, and I'm a lot further ahead as a knitter and crochet her than a lot of my peers because I was so young when I started and I was so into it when I started that I think that it's going to help me in the long run. So it's not something that I look back and am upset about. It's just part of my journey.
Ashley [00:20:45] Do you see making as a form of healing?
Quayln[00:20:50] I definitely do feel that making help to heal me not only heal, but really. Whenever I make, it feels very meditative, and I love to get in that flow state and just keep going and not focus on anything else, no matter what is in my life at the time, that is causing me stress or anxiety. I know that I can just pick up a mindless project and get going with it, and I'll be good while I'm making. So I definitely do a lot of my making to help like stress relief and that kind of stuff. It really does help to heal.
Ashley [00:21:35] I love what you shared about kind of like your inner child, like showing them what came out of that, you know, because as a child, you don't really get to speak for yourself and like your decisions, right? Like a lot of that is determined by your family and the system that you're in. And I think the act of making really gave me confidence in my identity, like who I was and I couldn't understand why I couldn't express that or when no one else understood that, you know, in that moment. But I wonder if if you felt the same, like you almost were like, OK, yeah, I got to hold on, but like, I'm going to do great things like once I have the freedom to do it, you know.
Quayln [00:22:21] It is always been the plan. I like to think out everything that I do, and I've always done that since an early age. I'm definitely one of those people that believe in manifesting what you want. And I have practiced that all of my life. I remember when I was little my great grandma, I would go with her to this place in Odessa, Texas where I'm from, called Texas Burger and at Texas Burger my grandmother didn't have that much money to be spending on just whatever. So at Texas Burger, they have this ice cream stand. And they had a gumball machine right beside it. And they had like this a deal saying that if you got a red gumball, you got a free ice cream. And she would give me a quarter because every single time that I would go and get that gum, it would always be red. So I would always get the ice cream. And it was like so frequent that she would just give me the quarter and be like, OK, go get your ice cream. Because she knew as well as I did, that it would be a red gumball. So I've always had that like law of attraction kind of stuff where I really focus my intent and what I want. And that was my trajectory whenever I was starting my knitting and crochet. I was already picturing everything that I'm doing right now. I was picturing me doing these outfits that were intricate and avant garde and out there and really pushing the boundaries of what knitting and crochet can be, and what is crafting and what is art, like we had mentioned before. And really seeing that come to fruition doesn't surprise me because of how much I manifested it as a child. And it's just I love to see it happening in real time.
Ashley [00:24:24] Oh my god. When is your birthday? What sign are you?
Quayln[00:24:27] I'm a Sagittarius. I am December 6th.
Ashley [00:24:30] Nice. I'm an Aries, but Sag moon. And like, I've always had a vision, and it almost always was something that I had to keep so quiet, you know, because like, you would come off as like this over confident, like, sure person. Because so many people, I think, don't feel free enough to be that, you know?
Quayln [00:24:52] Yeah, I've definitely oh, I've always been called cocky or overconfident that kind of stuff. But it's not even overconfidence or being cocky. It's just like knowing yourself and knowing, yeah, I'm going to do this. It's not a question of if. And a lot of people don't have that. And so when they see that in me or whoever, they read it as, oh, you're just like proud or cocky, whatever. But yeah, it's like, I know myself, I know what I'm capable of and it's going to happen.
Ashley [00:25:28] 100 percent. You know, at a fundamental level that knowing is what gave you the confidence to like hold on right, and like to get through those early years, which is like so painful, right? Every time I go back, I'm like, oh man. And there's still so much of society that is very binary in so many ways, and a lot of that affects how art is seen or how we can express ourselves or the opportunities that arise. And it's what I love about TikTok because it kind of just takes and strips away all the the parts that you could hide behind and is so much more raw, right and relatable. Talk a little bit about TikTok, because that is a huge part of your story.
Quayln[00:26:20] I mean, TikTok, you obviously know I love TikTok. What a lot of brands nowadays, especially in the fiber arts community don't understand, is that people are people and this kind of thing that's always been around of designers or teachers needing to be always uber professional all of the time is not really a thing anymore. And whenever I am at my most authentic and just openly speaking is whenever my audience and my students and people that make my designs, that's whenever they are closest to me, and that's whenever they react the most positively. It's not whenever I am in corporate mode trying to do like a really sterile video, like instruction video. It's whenever I'm being real with people and like recently, I got a comment from a brand that I work with that I cuss too much on my social media and it's like, y'all just don't get it. You don't understand that. Like, it's a different time. And that's what I love, that TikTok is starting to show that a little bit to brands. I don't think that all of them are there yet. But TikTok is showing people in general and brands by extension, that people are most receptive whenever you're real. And it's just another creative outlet that I love. And I think this comes with me being sheltered again and lonely. I always was one of the class clowns I love to make jokes and laugh and get other people to laugh. So I think that that has definitely come across in my TikToks, that's what a lot of people love, and I've gotten a good reaction from is just me joking around. But I think it all comes full circle for me being able to express myself more fully using all of the skills that I found and cultivated whenever I was by myself just doing my own thing. Getting to express that now really has been the difference between me, like being successful or not. It really, everything that I have learned through that kind of dip in my life that I don't really like to think about, really is helping me now, and that's what has made me successful.
Ashley [00:29:11] Yeah. One of the things that comes to mind when you're talking is like stepping into our power, right? And what does that mean? And you know, I worked in a industry for over a decade, like in tech where, you know, I worked with all men and I was usually the only woman and I swear a lot. It didn't reflect anything on you other than it was just the norm, right? It was just part of language. And I definitely noticed when I started the podcast and when we started Making, and kind of trying to keep that part of me, like I actually had to alter who I was to really be mindful about the words that I said. And that was something I just find really interesting as you share, because in the last, I would say, even just like the last handful of years, going through kind of the dismantling of a lot of that thinking or the structuring, just being my true authentic self in all parts. And I find it so fascinating that a brand mentioned that to you because it's almost shocking to me that it's even still a thing.
Quayln[00:30:23] They gave me a call and which we went through this big vetting process. They saw everything on my Instagram. They knew exactly who I was. And after I had been accepted, we signed contracts and everything. Then, like one of the main ladies there was like, yeah, Quayln and I just wanted to call and talk to you. I don't mind you cussing, but we would like you to tone it down. And we had a comment about–because I had this patch that said "Fuck 2020" because like 2020 was one of the roughest years of my life. My dad and my grandma died. My dad had a TBI, like a brain injury, so we had to care for him the whole year. It was really like the worst year and then plus everything with COVID and everything. So I made that patch as like, yeah, I'm glad 2020 is ending. And she was like, we had a comment about somebody saying that they didn't like 2020. But did you have to say "Fuck 2020"? I was like, oh my god, girl, like, you picked me? And this was after the fact, you already saw that was on my Instagram like, I'm not going to get–just got out of my box, like, I'm not going back in it. Like y'all can deal with it or I'll send the shit back. I really don't care.
Ashley [00:31:46] And it's like, also, who are we trying to please? And you want the parts of me that are going to make you look good? But the other part, you know, I'm a whole person. So what ended up happening with that?
Quayln[00:32:00] They haven't said anything sense. So, but I really I I told her that I was not going to change. They can take it or leave it because that's who I am. I'm not going to censor myself. There's a few companies out there right now that really understand what my generation, how we kind of work and that we really are unabashed in our speaking our minds and that kind of stuff. I think that that's why I love working with you all is that y'all really understand that and y'all are not looking to censor everyone's work, just showcasing artistry and just like letting people be themselves, that's what makes a difference for if I want to work with somebody or not.
Ashley [00:32:51] Yeah. And I think, you know, there's these legacy brands and companies that like are part of this legacy of makers that have upheld craft in America, particularly, for a long time. And when you look back at what's represented by that, I think there's a lot of beauty and a lot of like wonderful things that came out of it. But I think that there's so much opportunity lost and it's taken until now, like we are the generation that is exposing the truth, I believe, in so many ways. Like because we just discovered it ourself and we knew what we were witnessing and what we were seeing was not the truth. And as we step into our power and our true authentic self, you know, we represent this whole new generation of makers and there's so much gravity and power within that. And I think in everything that we're building at Making, that is like core foundational of what we talk about and what we think about, is this expansion, right? Like, there's an expansion that's happening. And how do we create more of that and like, how do we showcase and spotlight that as opposed to this legacy or thing that existed before that didn't create this safe place or like, you know, celebration of so many different types of people? It's so needed. And I think it's just there's these key things that kind of come up that you're like, oh yeah, that that world still is like, that is still the world that we exist in. Yeah, we kind of have this other world that's burgeoning. That's, you know, soon will surpass this other world because that's the way things work, right?
Quayln[00:34:56] Yeah. And whenever we intersect with that other world, it's always nice to push back at that and really make sure that they're uncomfortable, because they need to be uncomfortable, they need to get what the times or step aside. So I'm not like, with that I'm not going to back down because even if I were to like, avoid a contract with a company, the next person down the line, it might be easier for them, or that company could go out of business because nobody really likes working with them anymore. So I really have been a lot more comfortable recently making brands like that more uncomfortable and really pushing back every chance that I get.
Ashley [00:35:44] Yeah, I mean, I will be the first to say that Making operated very much within that kind of legacy safe space for a number of years because, you know, this was like really prior to twenty eighteen twenty nineteen where you kind of just step into this track. And if you're not really looking around and you're making progress, but not to the degree that it actually moves the needle, right? And when you're operating in the space that holds so much legacy, you, you really are blind to a lot that's happening and that change needs to happen. And you know, there was a lot of things that kind of precipitated us recognizing that we needed to shift things and really not cater to that core audience. That, you know, is very much the audience of these companies that we're talking about. And it was scary. You know, I kind of remember looking at it and being like like as soon as the light bulb turned on and what kind of precipitated it was just watching the landscape and industry, but also like someone calling us in. It was like, you need to see like what's going on here, the bigger picture. It was really painful, but it was like, once you see it, you can't unsee it and you can't unsee like the trajectory that you're going down. And so I will forever be grateful for, like the people that were willing to share. And then people that were close to us and people within our company and outside of our company that really were like, there is a shift happening and what side of that shift do you want to be on, you know? And so how can we actually move the needle? And I think it's by creating companies that are different. So we have this platform and this company that we'd already created that had like so many people behind it. And when we made that shift, there was huge fallout. And to me, it's like, I just want to post more and more and more, and share more and more and more of that because I want to clean it all out.
Quayln[00:37:59] Yeah, exactly. For me, I mean mine is definitely obviously a smaller platform than yours, on like Instagram and that kind of stuff. But I did the same thing with trying to navigate the legacy like you were talking about with doing, whenever I was definitely a lot more not as out as I am now. The stuff that I only put out at the time was that cookie cutter like crafts and that kind of stuff that never pushed the boundaries that was easily palatable for the old white ladies that are going to be crocheting these patterns and that kind of stuff. And whenever I finally made that switch and decided in myself, OK, it's time that I show everybody what I'm really capable of. I had that fallout from all those other people as well. And that was a little part, it wasn't as big a part as like family and that kind of stuff, but that was a little part of why I wanted to stay in that comfortable space of doing the stuff that was palatable. And once I had the fall out of those people unfollowing me or telling me that my stuff was tacky or gross or whatever trashy–I got all those comments–but once that happened I found very quickly a much larger audience of people that loved me for what I was doing authentically than any audience that I have found previously. And the people that love me at my most authentic are also the people that are a lot more loyal in their following. Those people that dropped off as quickly as they followed me whenever I was doing the more palatable stuff, they unfollowed the second that I change something up. But the people that now are following me because they love what I do authentically. Those people really stand by me and really are going to see me through and enjoy what I put out there because I'm so authentic with what I'm doing. So you'll definitely find the audience that you're looking for, for sure.
Ashley [00:40:20] Yeah. And I mean, I think we have it. As much as there was negative backlash, there was 90 percent more positive. You know, it's just that sometimes the negative feels heavier, right? But what's interesting is that through all of it, still those people that were offended or are offended or take the time to write a nasty email or a nasty comment, I still see that maybe there was a seed planted or like, you know that there's still opportunity because I think what a lot of people are looking for on all aspects of any situation is steadiness, like the message and the mission and what you're doing, that it's not just a flippant decision or change, you know, that it's actually there's longevity there and there's like authenticity and trueness. And so I think as the years go on, there's just still so much opportunity for even those naysayers to see the truth. You know, it's not like our names are going away, like we're coming out bigger and better and stronger than ever. So, and I see the same for you. And so there's something that will click, I feel like for a lot of people, that it just takes time. It takes a lot longer. So I want to shift to something that you brought up in a totally separate conversation that you and I had–the paranormal and fiber arts.
Quayln[00:41:54] Oh yes, This is–I'm already loving the conversation.
Ashley [00:41:57] So, I want you to elaborate a little bit on this because ever since we talked, I'm like cracking up. And I think mostly because my husband, David, he is just so into that stuff. And like, I don't watch any of the movies, but he's like all about it. And the Reddit threads. And so, yeah, I would love for you to expand a little bit about paranormal in the fiber world.
Quayln[00:42:19] Yeah, I think that for whatever reason, I think I do have a few theories of why it is so, but I definitely feel that more so than any other kind of subgroup of people that I've seen, I really feel that crafters and fiber artists have a lot of intersection with people that are into paranormal ephemera, whether it is like aliens or ghosts or just anything supernatural. I think that there's so many crafters that either love it or have experiences with that kind of stuff. And I definitely fall in that category of the people that really devour that content. I love anything paranormal–movies, TV shows, books, anything. And I don't know what I'm most partial to probably ghosts or aliens, but there definitely is that intersection there. And every time that I'm with a group of crafters, it could be me projecting, I will be honest with that. But the topic always shifts to the paranormal, and I love sharing my experiences, and I love hearing the experiences of other fiber crafters, and I don't know what it would be like a direct link between paranormal and fiber crafting. But for fiber crafters in general being linked to the paranormal, I think it has to do with a lot of us listening to audio books or podcasts and that kind of stuff while we're making. I think a lot of it also overlaps with the LGBT sphere of things. Just like fiber artists, a lot of people within the spectrum of LGBT identities have for a long time had a love of horror because horror always focuses on the outcast person. Whether it is a witch or someone in a slasher movie, it's always the villains. A lot of LGBT identifying people identify with the killer or this scary monster, whatever it is, because they also feel separate from the final girl or something. So there's definitely those connections to be had, but I just love listening to others share their experiences of that kind of stuff. So I love the connection between the two.
Ashley [00:44:59] So think for a second and I want you to share a story or like an experience or something that someone shared with you. Give us a little tidbit.
Quayln[00:45:08] I had a great conversation with a few different type of artists, whenever I went on a sewing machine ambassadorship trip, I went on the Bernina ambassador trip to Chicago, and a lot of different sewists shared a lot of different paranormal experiences. One specifically was Aaronica Cole, who is @needleandthebelle, who's a fabulous, amazing sewist. She does a lot of pattern testing for sewing that's really her niche, and she shared an experience that she had had with her grandmother with me, which also reminded me of my experience that I had with my grandmother, which was probably one of definitely the top three experiences that I've ever had with the paranormal. So I'll share that briefly. So when my grandmother passed away, I and my uncle are known to smoke a little bit on occasion together, and whenever we were going through that experience in the evenings, he and I would go out to her garden and we would sit down and we would smoke. And just like a chill and tell each other stories of my grandmother, and it was a great bonding experience with my uncle. I definitely feel a lot closer to him now because of it. And there was a time when I was out there alone and I had just started smoking. And witnesses are not allowed to smoke anything, whether it be like tobacco, weed, whatever it is. And I'm technically still a witness, I was never disfellowshipped, so I was out on the back porch in her garden and smoking. When I saw something, catch my eye. So I turned my head and there is a trellis that my grandmother has that has fairy lights on it that were dragonflies. My mother and my grandmother love dragonflies. That was something that connected both of them. So I turn my head and these lights, these dragonfly lights are blinking steadily, and I had not for the last like three or four days seen them on. This was getting to be towards nighttime. And so I was like, oh my gosh, I didn't even know that these lights worked, like they're just blinking. And as I started focusing on them, they started blinking faster. They were like blink blink blink blink blink. And then they went off. They just completely went off. And so I was like, what just happened? So I stood up. I grabbed all of my stuff that I had, and I put in my hands and I walked over to the lights to see what was going on with them because the light had went off. And as soon as I started walking over there with all of the smoking supplies, my great uncle walked out onto the patio and he's an elder of the witnesses, so he's like a higher up. And if I had not grabbed all my stuff and walked over there to look at those lights, he would have just seen me smoking and I could have gotten in trouble for that or whatever it. I wouldn't have cared, but it would have made the situation complicated. And whenever I got over to the lights, I saw that they were solar lights and the solar panel was face down on the ground, so I didn't know like how those lights were going if the solar panel wasn't going on. So I dodged the bullet with him not seeing me smoking because I had went to go look at these lights and I started thinking about it. I was like, oh my god, that is something my grandmother would do like that is exactly what she would do. She would be like, mijo, get over here. Like, don't let him catch you doing that shit. And it was like, just so perfect. And so afterwards, I asked my grandpa, I was like, those lights. Like, I didn't even know the those lights worked. And he was like, they don't work, those lights haven't worked in a long time. And I was like, well, they were blinking, like I saw them blinking and then they went off. And he's like, those lights don't even blink, they like, just are steady. And I was like oh my gosh, like, this is so grandma Yoli, like it totally had to be. But that was definitely one of my favorite experiences and totally, totally my grandma right there like that perfectly encapsulates what she would have done.
Ashley [00:49:41] There's nothing a little plant medicine doesn't help, right? So, OK, one last question to close it out. I want to know what you're excited about for the future, whether it's for you or the industry or whatever.
Quayln[00:49:54] I am excited about a lot. I have a few different projects that I'm working on that I cannot wait to see to fruition. And I cannot wait to see them out in the world. I'm so excited to really share a couple of the biggest projects that I've ever really done, and those will both be out next year sometime. And in general, for the industry, I'm really excited to start seeing a lot more diverse people being shown and showcased in a way that the people that have been the industry standard for so long have been. And I'm seeing, we've seen a lot of that start to happen slowly since I would say about 2018-ish, a lot more diverse group of designers and artists and that kind of stuff being pushed forward. And I just want to see that being pushed forward a lot more and I can't wait for that to happen. I can't wait to be inspired all over again by all new designers and artists and instructors and that kind of stuff.
Ashley [00:51:08] Oh, me too. OK. What is a thought or a word or intention that you want to leave everyone who's listening with?
Quayln[00:51:20] I would say the one piece of advice, OK, I have two. Number one is to be as authentic as you can, so be as authentic as possible for whatever moment you're in in your life. I have always been as authentic as I could be at the time in all aspects of my life. And even if you can't be completely yourself at a time because of whatever situations you're in, being yourself as much as you can really does make a difference. And whenever you are fully able to become who you are meant to be, you're going to thank yourself for having that little piece of authenticity throughout your entire life. It's going to really make a difference for you. And as far as something I would say to people maybe that want to get in the industry, more so as someone who wants to make it a career. I would say to not be afraid to reach out and either ask for help or advice or just connect to anybody that you find inspiring. I would not have any of the opportunities that I do now without reaching out and making connections with people. Making connections is probably the most important thing that I can think of for being successful in really in any industry. But don't be afraid to just send somebody an email or a DM because a lot of amazing things can come out of that.
Ashley [00:53:15] This week's giveaway is sponsored by Purl Soho, and we're giving away five skeins of their Tussock yarn in Blue Fjord, a deep navy blue 60/40 superfine kid mohair and silk blend. The winner will also receive a pair of Purl Soho Rose Gold Fabric Shears made in Sheffield, England, perfect for making precise cuts on your most precious fabrics. To enter this giveaway, download our new app, Making, and leave a comment on today's podcast episode post. Find us in the Apple App Store with the search for Making. And if you don't have an iPhone not to worry, our Android app will be out next week. In the meantime, you can enter by commenting on the episode blog post at makingzine.com. The biggest of thanks to everyone involved in this week's episode, Quayln, Purl Soho, the Making team and our producer Alice Anderson. I hope you'll join me each week as we talk and learn from more fascinating makers. For podcast notes and transcription visit makingzine.com. Have a wonderful week!