Our December fibre artist feature is Mandy from Art by Mandy Meow who has her fingers and toes in all the fibre fun from knitting and crotchet to her new found love of felting.
With oodles of personality Mandy is big on colour, playful projects and body positivity. She also has a serious stash of yarn and I don't think you could question as to whether or not she prefers colour over neutrals, I had to ask though and she clears this up easily.
Mandy has had creativity and fibre in her life for a very long time and I love that it has been passed down from her mum and now has become such a huge part of who she is. Not only does Mandy play around with fibre arts, she is also an artist. Mandy loves drawing and creating stickers and pins via this medium for yarn lovers too.
Mandy and I actually first crossed paths via my Etsy store where she discovered our delicious rovings and I am so glad it happened. Since this time Mandy and I have followed each other over on Instagram and I have learnt she is big on supporting small and local businesses. Mandy and I have now had two collaborations including a wonderful giveaway earlier this year along with other Australian fibre artists and excitingly she is also the hand behind my new and amazing BeWeave Yarn and Fibre box logo.
Another awesome addition to our fibre artist feature, let’s go meet Mandy and see what makes her stand out.
Tell us in a few sentences a little bit about yourself:
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Melbourne. By day I work for a trade union which is something I’m really passionate about. By night I am a crafter and fibre-hoarder extraordinaire!
My mum is super creative and always encourages me to be the same. I have tried so many hobbies in my time and always have a few on the go. My ongoing obsessions are drawing and crochet.
I have always wanted to do sculpting but never got a chance. During lock-down, mum sent me some roving she had dyed but never knew what to do with. A quick YouTube opened my eyes to the wonderful world of felting and I haven’t looked back. It’s basically sculpting without all the mess, so it’s kind of perfect!
Please share one random/ interesting fact about you.
I have a passion for animals and am an advocate for rescuing. As a result, I have 3 cats and 3 dogs...so there’s always a little extra “fibre” in my felted items.
How long have you been creating?
Literally since forever. When my brother and I were little, the rule was that if we were watching TV we had to be doing something “constructive” as well. This usually meant drawing, making friendship bracelets or some beaded necklaces. It became a normal habit that I am really happy to have. To this day I don’t really like going to the cinema because I can’t (yet) crochet in the dark.
What are your future fibre goals?
I have an Etsy shop but I sell stickers and badges mainly. Creating things with fibre is such an important part of my ability to relax that I don’t feel like I can turn it into a business. I want to keep that part just for me in my time. It would be cool to be able to get to a point where I can crochet in the dark!
What is it about fibre art that makes you love it the way you do?
I think it’s the colour and creativity for me. I love hand dyed fibre because I know the work that goes into it and it feels so precious to hold something knowing that so much consideration led up to that hand-dyed fibre ending up in my hands. I love the shared creativity.
What is your most challenging piece to date? Pics would be amazing.
When it comes to felting, the Venus was the hardest thing to make, so far. I made her for a friend and wanted her to be as close as possible to the real dimensions. I practiced making the different shapes and tried a couple of different techniques for her hair. I had her measurements and I also found a 360-degree view of her and from this, I did my very best to make her as close to the real thing as possible! I would say including the practice, I spent about 40-50 hours on her in total. And she just fits so perfectly in the palm of your hand.
How have you learnt your craft - self-taught, workshops, books, online tutorials?
School of YouTube! If they gave out certifications I reckon I would have a few by now! I’m a hands-on learner so it suits me perfectly to copy what I see someone else doing in a video. It’s exactly how I love to learn.
Do you have a favourite book or tutorial you would recommend?
I did recently find this really great account called Living Felt and I have learned SO much about the techniques, best practices and other stuff I would never have thought about.
Is there a fibre artist that inspires you the most?
Everyone! I know this seems like a cop-out but honestly what I love about Instagram (which is where I mainly hang out) is that there are so many beautiful people making so many beautiful things and I really can’t get enough!
What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting into the craft but isn’t sure?
I would say DO IT! I know that not everyone has a disposable income and that can be tricky but if you can, buy some basic supplies and give it a shot. You never know, it might turn out to be your one true love!
I would also say, if you have questions or want to know which supplies to get that are reasonably priced but also actually work, just ask someone who you follow online. One of the greatest things about the fibre community (especially on YT and IG in my experience) is that we are freaking awesome so I am sure you will get good advice and support on your new project :)
Best Tip or Trick?
My top tip for crochet would be that you can start out with the basics and get a decent outcome. You can get a $2 crochet hook and a $3 ball of acrylic and have a wearable end result.
When it comes to felting, you cannot get a decent outcome with the stuff they sell at the major craft shops in Australia. Trust me, I tried! Get the good roving, you won’t regret it.
What is your favourite knot/technique to do? Why
I’m a dry felter, Never got into wet felting.
Neutrals or colour?
Is this a trick question??? COLOURS!
Having said that, I love neutrals for felting.
Are you drawn to pattern or texture?
I think I used to be more drawn to patterns but since taking up felting, I have a new appreciation for the way things feel. The process of felting is, for me at least, more tactile than crochet. Especially when you stab yourself with the needle. You are really gonna feel that!
What would you say is your style? Geometric, boho etc
Is miscellaneous a style? Haha.
I think my style is just positive vibes. Most of my art is inspired by the body positive/body acceptance movements and in some way, everything I do is just aimed at focusing people on the joy of living life.
What is your favourite VADA BLUE fibre to use and why?
Don’t make me choose!!!
I don’t think I have tried the mohair but the merino is so delicious. My favourite colour is Amber but honestly, they are all so rich and beautiful.
Where can you find your work? Ie: online, markets, website, shop?
If you have a social media account – let us know.