Yarnbombing, a crocheted bowl that looks like Totoro, and a bag shaped as a rainbow – these are just some things that prove how weird and wonderful the world is! Cheryl, of The Hippy Cryptid makes all these things a reality, all with her own hands (and a fair bit of yarn). We chatted to this incredible crafter and it was just a darn delight. Read on if you love cute and colourful creations!
Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do? My name is Cheryl Robinson and I am the yarn hermit behind The Hippy Cryptid Crochet & Design. I make things out of yarn, design crochet patterns and generally enjoy creating cute and quirky things with just a ball of string and a magic wand. Well, crochet hook. I began with simple bags and after receiving so many comments like, “Wow! You should sell those at markets!” I decided that indeed, I should have a crack at selling my wares to the wider public. Around the same time, I serendipitously stumbled across the Brisbane Suitcase Rummage and it seemed like the universe was telling me to source a vintage suitcase and get selling! Nowadays, as well as bags, I design and make plushies, accessories, felted bowls and pretty much anything that pops into my head.
Why do you do what you do? I first learned to crochet from watching Youtube tutorials about six years ago. I was drawn to the versatility of crochet and how it’s possible to make almost any shape you like with a little bit of thinking and tweaking. Nowadays, it’s a bit of an obsession as well as a way to channel the creative ideas that float around in my brain.
Who are some other artists, crafters, creatives that you love? And why? In terms of the big names, I love the patterns coming out of TOFT UK – a British company that spins and dyes yarn from its own Alpacas. I was lucky to be able to do a workshop with Kerry Lord, Toft’s founder, in 2017 and be one of the first people to try out her special Aussie Judy the Bilby pattern. I also love the team behind Knitfest, Maleny’s annual yarn and fibre festival. I love the idea of yarnbombing a whole town and the interactions and ideas that happen when people are invited to participate in community art projects.
On Instagram, I have just discovered @turningshirty who makes bespoke shirts out of upcycled fabrics, like curtains or bed linen thrifted from op shops. I can’t sew very well, so that sounds like a super power to me!
What excites you? Yarn sales (multiplied by a trillion if said sale involves free shipping), seeing art in unexpected places and the thought of a good night’s sleep.
We think of a rummage stall as a mini shopfront. How do you make your rummage stall your own? Considering I didn’t really have a “brand” when I started selling at rummages, my approach to stall design involved acquiring one of a kind bits and pieces. I started with a couple of vintage suitcases sourced from some brilliant op shops in my local area, from which I also scored a vibrant, metallic-hued doona to use as a groundcover. The important thing is to let your handmade pieces shine – after all, that’s what the rummagers want to see!
Can you offer any tips on setting up a rummage stall? If it’s possible for the product you are selling, try and set up your stall so that market patrons can actually get up close and rummage through your wares. In my experience, people seem to like being able to pick up and examine the goods on offer and if your stall is too crowded with stuff, it’s hard for them to do that. Other than that, just be yourself, stamp your own style on your stall space and don’t worry about looking too perfect.
What do you like about attending Suitcase Rummage? I just love people-watching. There are so many people with interesting and unique fashion styles getting around that there’s always something to catch your eye. Also, I almost always find something that I didn’t know I needed as I wander past the stalls, so it’s a given that any money I make is immediately used up to grab whatever has piqued my interest – a weird plush Totoro hybrid from Japan, a hardcover, illustrated edition of Harry Potter, a pair of Converse that just happen to be in my size (it must be fate!). Finally, I love meeting the other handmade stallholders and discovering other creative people to follow and be inspired by.
What is the next step for you? What does the future hold? As of this moment, I’m working towards opening an online shop to sell one of a kind, handmade art dolls inspired by mighty girls and fantasy worlds. This is a bit of a change from my usual style because it involves fine detail and miniature work, to ensure that each doll has its own personality and character. My shop will also include items like bags and dice pouches inspired by Dungeons & Dragons and the like and I’m hoping to launch the shop in April 2018. I’m also excited to be starting another year at the helm of Teddy Bears Without Borders, a crafting community that aims to share skills, make connections and support refugees and asylum seekers. In 2017, our crafters made over 100 teddies to send to hospitals in refugee camps in Greece and Iraq, created a huge yarnbombing piece, the Safe Harbour Tree, that was displayed at Knitfest in Maleny and then travelled to some schools in Brisbane, and supplied over 200 handmade plush toys for the Backpacks for Refugee Kids at Christmas drives in Brisbane. We’re still working on some big projects for this year, so stay tuned!
What’s your favourite place or thing to do in your city? Fish and chips at Nudgee Beach or Sandgate. I don’t mind a wander through the Museum’s collection of taxidermied animals either. I’m a bit odd like that.
Where can we find or follow you? Website (coming soon!): thehippycryptid.bigcartel.com
Insta: @thehippycryptid Teddy Bears Without Borders Facebook: facebook.com/teddybearswithoutborders Blog: teddybearswithoutborders.wordpress.com