In celebration of World Art Day, I wanted to profile a fiber artist who is creating one-of-a-kind paintings with yarn. Josè Dammers is a Dutch artist who crochets portraits without a fixed crochet pattern, by feeling and with a mix of different colors, structures, and yarns.
Deveter: What makes your crochet unique and special?
Josè: In my opinion, free-form crochet is already a unique form of art. I apply my own feelings, techniques, and knowledge, which makes the work personal, but also innovative. When creating my work, I keep an eye on the beautiful color combinations, organic shapes, and mixing different yarn structures. By combining all these aspects I try to tell a story and make each piece unique. I developed my own style with the crochet hook, it started with certain shapes and I joined them together to create a shawl, a bag, a portrait, tapestry, or anything I like. The possibilities are endless.
Deveter: Your designs are certainly inspiring. From a distance, your work looks like it is actually painted not crochet. What is the mission of your art?
Josè: With my abstract art I hope to inspire other people with the goal to stimulate their own creativity. I love to teach my free-form crochet techniques to other creative minds by means of an online course that I have developed. This course consists of eight videos for beginners and advanced users who would like to learn these special crochet techniques. With this, I hope to broaden the view on free-form crochet worldwide.
Deveter: Freeform crochet is a new term to me. I love it! How has crocheting impacted your life?
Josè: Crocheting has a positive impact on my life. Besides the fact that I have always been creative, crocheting is the art form where my heart belongs, and that has totally possessed me. Not long after I started with crocheting, my online network was growing and I was approached by various companies, including “De Bondt - Scheepjes”. I am mainly busy with my own development process, which means that I create what I like, and follow my own path. I can’t imagine my life without a crochet hook and yarn.
Deveter: You already shared that you can’t imagine your life without a crochet hook, (we love your red Odyssey by the way), and yarn but I’m going to challenge you to finish the sentence…. ”if I couldn’t crochet I would….
Josè: If I couldn’t crochet then I would paint or create ceramics. Before I came in touch with crochet, I did mostly portrait painting and ceramics. An interesting similarity between painting and crocheting is the free movement. I always say that I paint with yarns. This is how I make my portraits. During crochet, you also play with color combinations which brings the work alive.
Deveter: That’s a perfect answer. What is the number one reason that you crochet?
Josè: I graduated in textile design at the fashion academy in Amsterdam and have been working for several years as a fashion designer for different companies in the commercial fashion industry. Beautiful fabrics, yarns, and designs have always fascinated me and at one point in time, I really wanted to create my own art where I can freely put all my passion and creativity into it. Very unexpectedly I came into contact with the crochet hook and it fascinated me. I discovered that with yarn and this hook you can make anything you want if you just let go of the traditional predefined patterns and let the crochet hook freely do the work.
Deveter: I know I said this already but you truly inspire me! Just the idea that a crochet hook fascinated you and that’s what got you started is amazing. What five words would best describe you?
Josè: Perfectionist, innovative, ambitious, creative, original, eye for detail.
Deveter: You certainly do have an eye for detail! My final question for you is what would your response be to someone who says crochet is not an art form?
Josè: While making a free-form crochet piece, you use your own creative mind what makes your work of art. By putting your personal feelings and emotions into the work, you can tell a story and connect with the viewer. This is how art is created and it does not matter if it is made with paint or yarn.
Deveter: Josè, I’ve said it already but I’ll say it again AMAZING! Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to share with us.
Furls Fans I really hope you have been inspired and awed by Josè’s beautiful artwork. Please follow her on social media @josedammers for even more inspiration. Don’t be afraid to use color, learn a new technique and make something freeform, you never know what you may create!
I’m Deveter Brown. Thanks for reading, now get back to that WIP