Kathryn Vercillo is the amazing blogger at Crochet Concupiscence, as well as the author of Crochet Saved My Life, a book about the mental and physical benefits you can get from crocheting. Well as you may have heard, she’s got a new project going that promises to be even more inspiring than the last: Hook to Heal!
Here’s how Kathryn describes Hook to Heal:
In my popular book Crochet Saved My Life I shared information about the mental and physical health benefits of crochet. Now I want to take it to the next level by helping people learn how to use crochet to heal, improve their daily creativity and enhance their total quality of life. This is going to be done through a new book of creativity exercises as well as the development of online classes and creative email support.
Hook to Heal will include 3 parts: a book of creativity exercises to help you “achieve mindfulness, release artistic fear, push to the next level of creativity, celebrate life and more,” a 12 week series of online creativity classes, and one-on-one email creativity coaching. It’s a comprehensive plan, but each part will be available individually too.
When I heard about Hook to Heal, I wanted to know more, so when I got the chance to interview Kathryn I jumped on it! And I think you’ll find her answers interesting!
What made you decide to create Hook to Heal? What drives you to help other crocheters?
In my popular book Crochet Saved My Life I shared information about the mental and physical health benefits of crochet. Now I want to take it to the next level by helping people learn how to use crochet to heal, improve their daily creativity, enhance their total quality of life and even improve their relationships. This is going to be done through a new book of creativity exercises as well as the development of online classes and creative email support.
I’ve honestly always been driven to help people in different ways throughout my life. I used to do youth social work, was a foster parent, did literacy training for illiterate adults, launched a program helping inmates through art and writing … I believe in the whole concept of using your own experiences in life to leave the world a little better each day than it was when you woke up in the morning.
I am driven to help crocheters specifically for a few reasons. First of all, crochet literally did save my life as I was dealing with my battle with depression, which is what drove me to write Crochet Saved My Life. In writing that book I had the opportunity to interview two dozen other women about how crochet had helped to heal them. Since the book came out, more and more people have shared their amazing stories with me about how crochet has helped them heal. But the reality is that we can all improve our quality of life even if we aren’t “sick” and I want Hook to Heal to offer insight into that.
I believe that each individual’s unique experience of life is important. I believe that what I have to offer the world right now is a combination of writing, crochet, self-care and support. Crochet is my craft and so it’s crocheters I am driven to help in this way right now.
In your writings about this new project, you say that it will help those who fear calling themselves “artists.” Why do you think some people have trouble with this?
Oh this is such a big question!!! So many people are afraid of calling themselves artists, whether they crochet or paint or sculpt or just do random crafts with their kids … It’s a topic that I’ve discussed on my own blog, in groups of artists, in women’s networking groups, in craft groups and through various online chats and forums and what I’ve gathered is that people feel like “artist” is a word that applies to people who are “great” at a craft and they don’t feel comfortable labeling themselves that way.
It’s a really complex issue and there are a lot of reasons behind it. I think a lot of us believe art is some thing out there that other people do and not just the act of creation that all of us are doing in our homes. I think many people have a fear of calling themselves artists and then being told by someone else that their work is “bad” or “not art” or whatever.
I also think it’s really important for people who struggle with discomfort around the “artist” label to explore why that is. I think that there can be a lot of value in learning to call yourself an artist, to honor the craft of crochet as art, because it celebrates what you do. It gives you the ability to take the time out to do that for yourself and to take it seriously and not to put yourself down for your “little hobby”. I’m not saying that everyone will want to call themselves an artist in the end. There are many terms including artisan, craftsperson, maker, crocheter, hooker … and some people will just be comfortable with other terms but I think trying to honor the artist within as you craft is a valuable thing.
We all know about “the curse of the boyfriend sweater” – how do you believe crochet can help relationships?
I think that the number one way that crochet can help relationships is that it helps the individual. When you take the time to be with yourself in meditative, reflective, contemplative way then you are strengthening your own insight, internal power, personal happiness and self-confidence. You come to the relationship each day as a better person and this makes the relationship better. I do think that there are other more practical ways that crochet can help relationships, which I will be covering in Hook to Heal, but I think that’s the main one.
What does a Creativity Class look like?
Hook to Heal the book is going to have chapters aimed at helping people solve specific problems they are struggling with in their lives. For example, someone who is feeling overwhelmed and ungrateful may want to use crochet to practice gratitude. The gratitude chapter will explain what this is about, offer exercises for crocheters in this area and then have some “food for thought” related to using crochet for gratitude in the future.
The creativity classes will take the lessons from the book’s various chapters and apply them in an interactive online setting. There will be bonus exercises that aren’t available in the book. More importantly, we’ll be able to discuss with each other the “food for thought” questions so we can learn more from each other, support each other in the craft and celebrate our creativity together.
Would you say this program is aimed at the hobbyist, pattern designers, or those who sell their crocheted items? All three?
This crochet program is aimed at anyone who is interested in using crochet to improve their own quality of life. Beginning crocheters will have to learn the specific skills outside of the class (I’ll be providing some resources) but anyone with beginner knowledge or more can utilize the lessons I’m offering. There won’t be any specific skills that would help people sell their patterns or finished items but it is my hope that the creative information that people gain about themselves from these classes will allow them to progress in all areas of their crochet life, professional or personal.
As a successful crochet blogger, what advice do you have for other crocheters trying to grow their own blog or business.
I have so much advice for crochet bloggers but I think that there are three main things:
1. Find, develop and stay true to your own voice. This isn’t easy, especially when you are consistently publishing new content during times when your moods, experience and life are changing. It is, however, the only thing that really makes one blog stand out over another so it’s worth practicing.
2. Learn as much as you possibly can from others. Read books about blogging. Follow blogs like Problogger and Copyblogger that offer writing and blogging and social media advice. Tune in to Twitter chats to ask questions of others who are running crafty blogs. Be open to constantly tweaking your model as you learn more.
3. Be patient. Being a successful blogger does not happen overnight. It took well over a year for Crochet Concupiscence to become the successful crochet blog that it is and that was with daily blogging. Prior to that, I’d worked as a professional blogger for other people’s businesses for many years, so I was already coming into it with that experience and know-how. So many blogs start, falter and fade away within the first year of launch … it is only 2 or 3 or several years in when you’ll really have a successful following.
Any other words of wisdom for the crochet community?
Celebrate the craft, in ways small and large, every single day!
Kathryn is funding this project through Indiegogo, so she can self-publish the program and give the maximum amount back to the community. If you’d like to contribute to this project, there are some great rewards available! You can get your name in the acknowledgments of the book for as little as a $1 donation, and a $10 donation gets you a free one-month ad on her blog. There are also both digital and paper copies of the workbook, and much bigger rewards to be had!
If you’d like to contribute to Hook to Heal, please click here.
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