Our final stitcher spotlight is someone many of you know by her beautiful work. Alicia Rosello has started a movement in Barcelona to bring awareness to crocheting as well as other crafts to people of all ages. She is also responsible for many of the beautiful projects you find on Commonthread's social pages. We caught up with Alicia for our National Craft Month Spotlight.
What kind of crafting do you do?
I do all crafts but my favorite is crocheting as it was the first I learned to do. I can knit as well but I prefer to crochet. I love to know how things are made. Every time I see I project I don’t want it to be a mystery. Because of that I’ve learned to paint, weave and sew.
How did you learn to crochet?
I learned to crochet from my Aunt who was like her Grandma. At 22 I asked her to teach me to crochet. This was as I was studying digital and graphic design. My Aunt wasn’t convinced at first but decided to teach me anyway. I think it’s interesting how you can take thread and turn it into something amazing.
How did you start on your crochet career?
I opened a craft shop Dudua in Barcelona 10 years ago. The shop was specific to selling handmade goods. At this time Etsy did not exist. I began wondering why younger people didn't crochet. The shop was open for 4 years and throughout that time I had many people of all ages visit. After that I closed down the shop as I found people were more interested in making than buying. I had met Nuria at a crochet workshop in my store. She was working in cinema at the time, but loved to embroider. In 2010 I created the "Crochet Guerilla" which was a street crafting group. Nuria and I were working together doing street art with the group. We would embroider and crochet in public places throughout Barcelona. We became a viral sensation as these were public displays. Radio and news stations would broadcast the events, which would bring more people and in turn more contributors. After this I was contacted by DMC to help them with creating a crafting blog. This was a huge highlight for me. Now both Nuria and I create projects for the DMC Spain blog.
How were you impacted when DMC contacted you?
I said “oh my god it’s DMC!” DMC is known all over Spain, though I didn’t know DMC had an office in Barcelona. When I got the call it was amazing. The company is so old but the threads and colors are consistent. There’s something nostalgic about it. They’ve been around for a very long time. I’ve had the chance to visit the factory and it’s amazing. What surprised me even more is that it’s the same building that’s been around since the 17th century.
What was your drive for street art?
I had been working at an office job and doing my crocheting during my free time. I had met with an art group where we’d go out at night and cover things in urban areas. It was so popular and interesting. In my mind I didn’t think you could do something like that. One day at a project show this gentleman who was working the show said I should do something big with my crocheting. That’s when I thought let’s do crochet on the streets and change people’s perception of it. This was just a craft for the older generation, this was something all people of all ages could do. I posted on my blog that I wanted to crochet a bench. That day 8 people joined me to help. In addition a radio station came and covered the entire thing. After that she started doing more and saw more and more people volunteer their time. TV stations, newspapers and radio stations started calling us to find out what other things we had planned. This was something that could become viral. They continued doing more art in public spaces, parks, squares and it continued to gain momentum. They began to see children and their parents come to see and learn to crochet. What’s amazing is that the idea is not just about learning a technique, but it allows people to escape reality. It’s a form of therapy. It’s also important because you can apply it to many fields.
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Words of Wisdom for someone who wants to do this?
You need to be patient. Learning a technique, you will probably get upset when you don’t get it the first time. You need to be patient and practice over and over again. There is no shortcut. You also need to present something new. There are so many things out there especially with the internet. You’re not inventing a technique but you should be original. Think about the whole project, packaging, branding, design, how you approach or reach the client and pricing. Being an entrepreneur you have the power to do it. You need to work. Don’t just think about the product, think about it all around. And always have fun. If you’re not having fun then stop! You need to have fun. Don’t spend so much time on something that doesn’t make you happy.
When you do something that you really like and you’re passionate about you see it in the results. If at the end of the week you’re like “yay it’s finally Friday” then you probably don’t like what you’re doing.
We are excited to have such an amazing stitcher dedicating her time to make a change. We can't wait to see what new and beautiful projects you come with in the future.
Love and Threads,
The Commonthread Team