Welcome to our ‘spiral market selection’ interview series, where we look at living from the viewpoint of artists and creators engaged in craftsmanship for daily life. In our fifteenth interview, we heard from hariknitting, where all the fashion accessories are handknitted, one item at a time.
──Do it well and people will notice
Launched in 2014, hariknitting is now in its fifth year. After graduating from beauty school, I worked at restaurants and managed events. I’d always loved knitting and at the time I made a headband that a friend said she really wanted. She was living in Singapore and invited me to do an exhibition at the shop where she was working. That was the very casual way this all began.
I was so pleased with the positive response to my products and so decided to give it a go. I just went with the flow, participating in any solo or group exhibitions I was invited to, and now, here I am! Rather than starting with an idea for a brand, I’ve come this far on the back of fate. I’m the kind of person who never hesitates throwing myself into new environments and challenges. I’ve always thought that if you take care to do something properly there will always be people who come along to work with you and take a good look at what you’re doing. If you truly believe that, then you can make it your reality.
The work I do on hariknitting is so perfect for me. And through it I’ve been blessed with all kinds of encounters which lead to ever more connections. I’m so glad I gave it a try.
──The whole outfit
From earrings to hair bands and all kinds of accessories, in this line of work the resulting style changes depending on who knits it, so I make everything myself. The work itself is quite simple and straightforward so I usually watch movies while I knit. Be it Japanese or Western films, it’s my background music.
How you feel really comes out in knitting so if I’m not into it, I don’t knit. With accessories, the knitting needs to be tight and precise, so you can’t really tell my mood, but it’s very obvious with bags and hair bands and the like. When I feel really good, I can knit smoothly and very fast.
When I make dresses and long skirts, I start by drawing up the paper pattern. I reference books, ask people in the field, and thoroughly examine the designs of existing items that I like. I love dresses but there aren’t many that work with my long body, so the harinknitting clothes are designed for women with longer bodies like me, to show off beautiful vertical lines. Going forward, I’d like to make all the components for whole outfits.
──The trip that liberated me
I went through a period when I struggled with my craftsmanship, but my experiences during a trip to Mexico this year totally changed my thinking. I was so impressed by the approach to craftsmanship and the sense of color the people I met living in Mexico had. I learned so much about color combinations in bright colorful clothing – wherever I looked there was a lesson to learn. And I saw how craftsmanship is deeply intertwined with their daily lives – when I visited markets, people were always in the midst of making something while selling their wares.
I got such a strong sense of happy energy from the locals. They’d be eating and drinking and next thing they’d be up dancing…living life to the full! It was so wonderful to be a part of that. Watching them and then being drawn into their circle took me back to my original intentions. It helped me see that I should just do the best I can now. My trip to Mexico made me really want to give this my all.
People have loved the new items I’ve made since I got home. I can see now that I should just let my thoughts drive what I make. When it comes to my craft, I have a much more flexible mindset now.
──Making what I want to make and wear
Craftsmanship is about self-study, but for key techniques, I consult people and look things up. As my hands get used to it, my knitting techniques expand. There are no special qualifications for my work, but I find it fascinating that there is this endless world of possibilities that opens up simply because I continue my work.
I don’t call myself an artist; I would say I’m closer to “craftsman”, but neither fits me perfectly. I used to really struggle with the fact that I couldn’t describe my work as any genre or give myself a title. And while there’s still no single term to capture what I do, I’m content to make things I want to make and wear. Maybe that could become my signature or my genre. Right now, my work is hariknitting. And I’m pretty happy with that.
Interview and editing by Spiral