About 3 years ago I picked up a crochet hook for the first time. A lot of my friends were having babies so I wanted to make something special for them, but I also wanted a hobby. I truly felt like I didn’t have anything that made me smile from my soul & that I wanted to spend my time doing (besides reading). I chatted to a friend where I worked & she showed me the basics, as well as spending many mornings discussing our next plans & what we would work on next.
I realised that I had an undiscovered passion for working with my hands, & I loved challenging myself to something new. I made blankets, toys & many little odds & ends (including a birthday crown for my Gogo). Once I joined FB groups I realised how many of the “younger” generation were now taking this up & that it wasn’t seen as granny doilies placed around the house – in fact I have never even made a doily…
This is what reminded me of the importance of handmade, & just how much love & effort goes into something that someone makes themselves. I have a renewed appreciation for all the handmade gifts I have ever received!
With everything that has been going on, & with the loss of my Gogo (who was the inspiration behind me learning how to knit/crochet) I lost my crojo. I just couldn’t bring myself to pick up my wool & create something again. And then… I came across Jessie from Projectarian. She changed my mindset & got me excited about crocheting once more.
Your name: Jessie
Business name: Projectarian
How did you choose this name: I wanted my brand name to be unique in all the world, but to still mean something when you hear it. So I invented a word: A projectarian is any kind of artisan – someone who seeks to create in any form; physical or intangible.
What do you do: I’m a crochet designer and toymaker. I love making the creatures that live inside my head and writing their patterns in a way that’s easy for anyone to follow!
How did you start this business: I started Projectarian in 2015 as a tool to figure out which one of the arts that I could do would earn me a living so that I could be free from bosses/alarm clocks/boring work clothes/other people’s rules. I figured out how to build a website so I could set up a craft tutorial blog and a shop, then I made a very long list of all the things I could do, with a mission to try everything until something worked (I’ve been lucky to grow up in a very creative family so I’ve dabbled a lot). I really love crochet so it did tend to dominate my blog, but it was also my most popular content so I gravitated to it even more. I joined a local craft market too and tried selling my products there, which were mainly home accessories at the time but my penchant for fun colours attracted a lot of children to my stall who were disappointed to find no toys. So the next time, I made toys! Turns out that’s my favorite thing to do – even though it didn’t make me any money – I had found my groove as an amigurumi designer and my life was filled with uni-magic every day! It’s taken 3 years of very, VERY hard work to be able to call it successful and consider myself as getting paid – but I wouldn’t want any other title than Toymaker.
How long have you been crocheting for: Since my mum taught me in 2012. I broke my foot and couldn’t do the hobbies I usually enjoyed at the time like [machine] sewing and playing pool.
What is your favourite product: Miss La Motte Yarns. It’s not just my favorite work supply product, it’s my favorite product over all, in the Universe. Ever. Karen is an incredibly talented fiber artisan who custom dyes the softest, squishiest skeins of merino wool specially for my animals. It’s produced locally here (in South Africa) and the quality is Top. Notch.
Why do you think people should support handmade: Too many people have jobs they don’t love and it’s such a shame. Imagine a magical land of unicorns and rainbows where we all did the exact work we wanted to. Everyone has an artisan soul, and some are artisans of handicraft.
Social media handles: Instagram & Facebook
Do you take custom orders: Yes! I love custom orders! The input from my customers always leads to me produces something I never would have made on my own!
Quote you live by: Be a voice, not an echo.
Anything else you want to add: I’m rolling on the floor with excitement over Comet the Unicorn’s crochet along coming up!!! She’s been a very big project for me that’s finally coming to a head now. If you like to crochet and you love unicorns – this one is for you! Head over to Projectarian.com to join in the fun!
My friend Charlie & I have already signed up for this CAL & we honestly can’t WAIT. This will be a heirloom that can be treasured forever, & I am so excited to get my hands busy once more whilst creating something beautiful.
Jessie, thank you for not only helping me, but everyone else who is going to take part in your project. I just know this is going to bring us all so much joy & I can’t WAIT to make my very own Comet x