In today’s post I would like to introduce our Featured Artist, for November 2012;
I discovered her work thanks to Create and Craft, where she and her business partner Tracy, were demonstrating patterns Kari-Helene had designed for their company Purl Alpaca. For those of you who haven’t yet found Kari-Helene, here is a little more about her and her work.
Who you are:
K-H: My name is Kari-Helene Rane and I am a 32-year-old Norwegian who has been living in London for the last 10 years. I studied for my BA in Fashion designs at Kingston University, where I graduated in 2005. Although my degree was a general fashion degree I ended up focusing on knit-wear and using alpaca yarn.
Where you are (which country you are based in)?
K-H: Now I live and work in North London.
What you do:
K-H: I am a knit-wear designer specialising in hand knitting and working with alpaca yarn. I run Purl Alpaca Designs with my business partner Tracy Birch and we provide designer hand knitting kits, luxury yarns and knitting patterns. We take the product right from the alpaca’s back and see it through every step of the way. We own 17 alpacas and use their fleece along with the fleeces from a select few alpaca farms in our local area to produce our yarn. The yarn is spun in Oxfordshire by a specialist mill. Our yarn is 100% made in England and it is undyed as we want to provide a natural and as environmentally friendly product as possible. Alpacas have such wonderful natural colours we do not see the need for added colour!
What got you started in your creative journey?
K-H: I have always been a creative person. I was taught knitting at a young age by my mum and grandmother and started experimenting with designing clothes for my dolls. I created collections with different themes for my cut out paper dolls and sewed and knitted garments for my Barbie.
I loved anything I could create with, drawing, sewing, embroidery, knitting and weaving. I’ve tried my hand at almost anything imaginable! It was only as an adult working in a haberdashery store I realised that doing fashion design could actually be a job!
What inspires you:
K-H: I can find inspiration in almost anything. I look at colours, texture and pattern in images, magazines, shop windows, old walls and in nature. Colours, texture and structure – there is beauty in pretty much anything! Mainly I find inspiration in actual knitting. I find that making and creating triggers my brain to think of new and innovative ways of using yarn and needles to create interesting designs. i also get inspiration from vintage clothing. I love the 1940s and 50s and I think this comes through in my work, although I try to give everything a contemporary edge.
If money,time and obligations were no object, what you would most like to do?
K-H: I love what I am doing at the moment, but ideally I would love to do it in a gorgeous house with a lovely garden set in a beautiful landscape somewhere where the sun always shines!
What do you enjoy most about your creative work/life?
K-H: I love the creative freedom I have working for myself. I enjoy coming up with ideas and following it trough to the end product. I love hearing from customers when they have enjoyed making and love wearing something I have designed. It’s a real pleasure to know that my vision provides someone with joy – both making and wearing!
Purl Alpaca is a wonderful company, both kari-Helene and her business partner Tracy Birch, regularly appear on Create and Craft TV to showcase their latest patterns and introduce the most recent alpaca’s whose fleeces are spun to create their yarns.
Kari-Helene and Tracy are people and a company with real heart, you can tell how much they care about the Alpaca’s. Their passion for the whole process really shines through.
To find out more about Kari-Helene and her work, please visit her blog and website, details below.
- Purl Alpaca website
- Purl Alpaca; Blog
- Purl Alpaca on Facebook
- Purl Alpaca on Twitter
- Purl Alpaca on Ravelry
Thanks to Kari-Helene for being our Featured Artist of the Month for November 2012.
Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon