Saturday, April 16, 2011

Granny Funk in Fashion Journal - the full scoop!

Here's the full interview from Granny Funk's recent feature in Fashion Journal!

FJ: Why do you think arts and crafts, especially crochet, have come back in such a big way?

GFC: It's an interesting thing, isn't it? I think there's a certain element of nostalgia for a lost past, and I think part of that is that we're so saturated with mass-produced, impersonal consumer objects in our culture that people are starting to say, no, I don't want to be an anonymous consumer. There's a desire for personal difference, certainly, but I think the environmental justice movement has also started to bring the question of ethics into the foreground, and people are starting to ask where things are coming from, what it's costing the earth, and who's being exploited in the process. "Ethical consumerism" is part of that counterculture - but making things for ourselves is probably the strongest way of breaking through that sense of alienation, since it allows for both very personal creative expression and a sense of reconnection with the real costs and joys of making something. Crochet is a very tactile and flexible medium, and I think that fits in with the yearning for connection to real things and with a desire for personal artistic voice.

FJ: How did you learn to crochet? What made you want to teach others to crochet?

GFC: Yes, it's cliche but true - my Grandma taught me. My Dad's from the US and we went on a family trip over there when I was twelve, and she taught me the very basics. I think my first ever project was just long chains which I turned into leashes for two toy lions, and I've picked up a few more skills since then!

My background is in sustainability studies, and it really made me rethink the systems of production we rely upon in our economy. I feel really strongly that we need to re-skill in all that's been lost since just a couple of generations ago and start making things for ourselves again. I've always been a very tactile and artistically-driven person so it made sense that my contribution would be to teach people to use their hands to create practical, beautiful things. It's really satisfying to know that a whole bunch of people now have this skill because of you.

FJ: What kinds of people come to your crochet classes?

GFC: So far it's been mostly women, with a small smattering of gutsy men! Professional women from their twenties to early forties has been my most represented group, and that's confirmed my sense that it's this generation that's really trying to reconnect with practical skills. Sometimes the crochet-unconverted ask me if I'm mostly teaching "grannies" - I tell them no, since the grannies already know everything.

FJ: Can you describe the atmosphere at one of your classes?

GFC: Classes are relaxed and fun! I do lots of classes with beginners, and I know it can be intimidating when you start and you're all fingers and thumbs, so there's no pressure! Each group is different and I've met some lovely people while I've been teaching. I enjoy the way groups can create their own little supportive learning cultures. People continually amaze me, too - someone might spend the first lesson really confused and then bring back a whole bag they've made the next week! I also really enjoy the way each person takes the skill and adapts it to their own sense of aesthetics.


  1. Awesome post!! Congrats Megan! and yay, that's us in the pic! haha.
    ps: i still havent got around to make my lefty hand warmer. hehe...gotta make time for it!

  2. Thanks Lillian - and yes, do! I'd love to see your pictures on Granny Funk's facebook group.