Yokoo: Artist Cottage Industry as Safe Space

Fiber artist Yokoo and her safe space: Silence. Quiet Bike Paths. Secretive, enveloping mist. Sunrise. Water. Solitary, early morning excursion to a beautiful location. Water. Trees. A private world carved from the quietest time of day, and a home-sanctuary where she crafts beautiful artworks. Fiber artist Yokoo has created a cottage industry that is also a profoundly safe space  that reflects, supports and ensconces her personality, her craft and her philosophy of life.

Silence is very important. Most of my ideas come out of complete silence. We all need to allow the silence. There is so much noise. You need to take the time to realize why you’re here. You are here to create. ~Yokoo

Thank you Yokoo for sharing your process, sacred spaces, and your activities with us. The glimpse into your home studio, your philosophy, your style, and your private world inspires me. It is no wonder that your artworks are beautiful and sumptuous, as you revel in the beauty of your life, every, single, day.

Massive hand-crocheted scarf by Yokoo, for sale in her etsy shop

The Snow Leopard (Massive hand-crocheted scarf) in Navy, Crocheted by Yokoo, available on Etsy.com

It’s important for people to create their own worlds…you have this world in which you live in, but I think we should create a sub-world to protect us. When the idea hits you that you are in control of your life, it’s like a window opening in a stuffy room. And if I could just say anything to anybody, it would be that you are given this life to live, and not to just exist.

This “Handmade Portrait” prompted me to think deeply about my home studio, my creative practices and intermittent productivity. I found it to enriching to hear just how many hours Yokoo devotes to her craft every single day, and I admire the spartan order to her belongings. Her crochet and knit items are so plush, textural, richly colored and generously sized that I couldn’t help but wonder at which brand and how much yarn she used per object (the Snow Leopard pictured above is 10 feet long and 8 inches wide!!!). This line of thought prompted me to ponder yarn the source of her yarn and the amounts she must use to create each piece, which prompted me to schedule spinning lessons to learn how to spin yarn. Months later, I now spin yarn on a Drop Spindle. Yokoo’s work and Etsy’s handmade portrait nudged me on the path to realize that I can make the perfect yarns for the projects I envision for my crochet and knit work.

Sliver, 1st ply of the yarn and drop spindle

My Drop Spindle featured with 1st single strand of what will become 3-ply yarn, and the original sliver that I spin from.

As for Yokoo’s last message to live one’s life instead of simply existing, well I say in response: “I appreciate you, Yokoo, for living YOUR life to the fullest. In addition to the lovely garments and accessories that you envision and carefully craft for strangers, you present the image of a creative, self-assured woman who contributes to the beautiful tapestry of the life simply by following your bliss. That said, I add your bliss to my life list of inspirations.”

thinking, feeling and growing toward my goals,


Two tone green yarn on Drop spindle

My Drop Spindle featured with first ply of a two-toned green wool yarn


Dream Job #2: Knitting with Inmates

A few weeks ago I blogged about making paper and bookbinding with Veterans in their healing spaces. Today I chanced upon another art healing initiative in a Baltimore penitentiary. According to one of the men “Real Men Knit Pink”. I would cherish the opportunity to work with incarcerated women or men to create beautiful things. To create beauty in a place of punishment is to manifest an alternative inner-world that can affect the individual’s experience of place, of self and ideas of possibility.

Blogging to a great future,

Just Married! Art and Craft!

I have encountered a number of uniquely crafted instruments over the years, however htis is the first moment when I’ve heard the artisan state that their work is a marriage between art and craftsmanship. Indeed, the look of the instrument and fine sound, also tells me that it may be a polyamorous relationship as *technicality* seems to have influenced this pairing.

Avocado Ukelele

Snail Shell Ukelele (Snailele)

Dove Hole Mandolin by Celentano Woodworks

To be an artist, artisan or fine crafter, one must fully embrace their medium, materials and tools for all of its possibilties, quirks and challenges. Then, one must consolidate that knowledge with the skills honed over time and circumstance to bring the idea to form and innovate. Truly the expertise, intensity, joy and beauty necessary for and produced by the artists and crafters derives from the same inner source, yet I am perplexed by the fact that society views one as finer than the other because the objects have different practical potentialities.

Navajo Spindle: Earth by Roosterick

Polwarth Wool Roving - Handpainted Felting or Spinning Fiber by Woolgatherings

Raibow Upcycled Sweater by Katwise

I wonder if one must devote themselves to one art form to truly be considers a great artist… or must you know everything about one craft to be a master craftsperson. What about the person who appreciates the vastness of any given art or craft area, endeavors to learn to do one thing really well, then pursues the next medium, material or art / craft form to repeat the process of learning. What is that person called? What is the name of the art of pursuing practicable knowledge about craft?

Offering No. 29 - Handstitched Clamshell Book Sculpture by Odelae

An Innocent Fluttering - Mini Handstitched Journal by Odelae

View the Craft In America Episode: Process that explores the makings of a craft career.  “What inspires a career in craft?  How does one learn a craft and make a living at it?”

1) Know what materials / emotions / places that make you want to create

2) Indulge your curiosity, inspiration is always near

3) Trial and Error. Even the “mistakes” can be beautiful!

4) Collect an email address for every patron who buys your art

5) Open an etsy shop. Start your own cottage industry!

6) Honor your vision. What is amazing to you will find it’s audience. See below!

All the artworks featured in this post are from some of my favorite artisans and shops on etsy! they inspire me. Saving them to y favorites means that I’ve created a small gallery of beautiful handmade items; I love to look at them!

Nevada Cut Coin Jewelry by bongobeads

Toothless Ring Made With Fake Tooth And Topaz by dolldisasterdesign

Tardis Corset- blue underbust corset, steel boned, custom made, doctor who inspired by Corset Wonderland