Just tell me about yourself briefly and your business. What name do you want to be referred by?
Hi, my name is Ola. I am the maker and designer behind “Ola ‘bout handmade”, currently living in Lagos, Nigeria. Ever since my dive into the world of fibre crafts back in late December 2017, I’ve been obsessed with making all sorts of things. I particularly enjoy playing around with colours in my work and creating fun, vibrant pieces. In addition to my love for crafts, I’m also quite an avid reader and often will be found with either a book or some yarn in hand (sometimes, both).
How do you work with wool?
Mainly through knitting and crochet. I love the process of transforming yarn into wearable art using either a hook or some needles.
If you could choose one pivotal moment in your career, what would it be?
Every time I’ve received any form of affirmation regarding my work has been a pivotal moment for me. The manifestations of these moments differ, from instances such as people online reaching out to tell me that they like my work, or brands expressing an interest in working with me, or magazines being interested in featuring me… all these moments have been pivotal and continue to be so.
Are there any experiences in your childhood or adolescence that have positively impacted what you do now?
One enduring message I had to grapple to learn all throughout my childhood and adolescence was the importance of prioritizing what feels right and true to you above what others might think (a lesson I still frequently need to remind myself of till this day). Without this mentality, I might never have had the confidence to pursue my passion for fibre art.
What are the professional achievements you are most proud of?
I’m really proud of all the collaborations I’ve been able to partake in over the course of my time as a maker and designer. I always feel so incredibly honoured when brands reach out to work with me.
If there is one thing you wish you’d known when you were starting out in wool, what would it be?
I wish I had known how life changing my delve into fibre art would be. What I had anticipated would remain not much more than a casual hobby, ended up taking over my life in completely unforeseen ways. But I’m so glad that it did.
Why do you think wool and handmade textiles are so fashionable right now?
When it comes to the resurgence of handmade items that has been occurring in recent years, a few factors are potentially at play. Firstly, I think that because crafting is such a great tool for stress relief, more and more people are seeking it out as a way to deal with all the increasing stressors of daily life. Additionally, with a growing awareness of environmental concerns and climate change, I think that slow fashion and self-made items are gaining popularity as more people take steps towards reducing their reliance on the fast fashion industry. Lastly, with the growth of social media, has come greater accessibility to tutorials and learning material, making the act of learning a handcraft increasingly convenient for a lot of people, and as inspiration online grows, more people are realising that handmade items are really incredible. It’s wonderful to see the shift happening and to be a part of it.
What is your dream wool project?
Probably one of those Aran/fisherman sweaters with all the fancy stitchwork and intricate cable details all over. I haven’t quite had the nerve to attempt something like that as of yet, but I really look forward to the day when I can give it a go.
Who are the artists who have most greatly inspired you?
With the abundance of talent within the maker community, I find it so difficult to ever pinpoint just a handful of makers who inspire me, because I often find myself getting inspired by so many creators. I think everyone I follow online has most likely had some significant inspiration on me in some way or another.
What if your favourite woolen item in your wardrobe or home?
I hate to pick favourites, but I have this floral hexagon cardigan I made a while back, which was the first thing I ever designed and the first project I really poured myself into so completely, and for that, it just will always hold such a special place in my heart. Till this day, every time I look at it, I just feel so full of pride and joy at the knowledge that I was capable of creating it.
Where do you work?
As much as I wish I could say that I had a special dedicated craft room, the truth is that most of my work just happens at the little desk I have in my room. It’s where I get everything done.
What is your idea of a good beginner’s task?
With crochet, I think granny squares are the perfect starting point. They’re super easy, really versatile and highly intuitive once you understand the rhythm. Something like a granny square afghan would be great. For knitters, I think a great beginner project would most likely be a simple garter stitch scarf. Something like that would really help in terms of familiarizing yourself with the hand movements and practising tensioning properly. I would also advise starting with chunky yarn.
Which is the KPC Yarn hue that really speaks to you?
As a huge fan of pink and blue, ‘sunset’ and ‘scuba’ have all my love.