THE SQUIRREL COLLECTIVE

CALLING ALL RAINBOW LOVERS!

For our 10th Creative Q&A, this week we’re bringing you a chat with the marvellous Tessa of The Squirrel Collective!

Tessa’s love for colour and retro is clear in her crochet, so let’s find our some more about her and her brilliant business!

JANEY: So Tessa! Please tell us more about you and your work!

TESSA: I’m Tessa, 33, and live in Somerset with my husband and nine year old. I crochet colourful things, from scrunchies to cardigans to blankets. I learned to crochet after a period of postnatal depression, and since then it’s seen me through many mental health challenges. It’s my mindfulness, my escape and gives me a sense of purpose and pride. It became a business when I had to give up a job I loved, and some friends and I launched a Facebook page together to sell all of the crafty things we made. We nicknamed ourselves ‘Squirrels’, hence the name The Squirrel Collective. I’ve been working this gig around my family and brain for four years now.

J: Its so so good that you found something to get you through the rubbish times, and created something so bright and beautiful out of it!
In terms of your business, what would you say is your biggest achievement so far?

T: My biggest achievements have been the online markets I’ve taken part in; featuring in a local gallery and shop; and writing a piece about crafting and mental health for Kind Humans magazine. Taking part in a Spoonie Village podcast was also brilliant fun (listen here!). On a more personal level, it’s been building an amazing community around me on Instagram, full of makers, creatives and mental health advocates. I feel very thankful for them.

J: Wowee, so much to be proud of there!!
Now for a super mean one for any creative: if you absolutely had to choose, what is your favourite colour?

T: Whilst my work is super colourful and all about the rainbow, my favourite colour is black! It’s deep, dark, calming and mysterious.

J: Well that was a shocker I must say!
What are your favourite wise words to live by?

T: I don’t live by a quote or wise words necessarily, but I do spend quite a bit of time giving myself pep talks when my anxiety rears its ugly head. I remind myself to ride things out, it’ll pass, nothing stays the same, including the bad. As long as I can keep hope that tomorrow may be a brighter day then I stay grounded. That and ‘more is more’. Thinking there might be too much colour in your work? Throw another one on!

J: We are ALL for ‘more is more’!! Real ‘maximalist’ energy up in here…
Please can you explain some more about your 100 day project? It looked like it must take some incredible commitment!

T: The 100 Day Project is brilliant fun; I urge all creatives to take a look and have a go. You can bake, dance, write, paint, sculpt, whatever your outlet is. I crocheted a different bauble design, in a set of three, every day for 100 days. It can feel like hard work, but the sense of achievement on day 100 is incredible! I chose a pop culture theme, so picked colours inspired by my favourite films, TV shows, books and musicians. There were all sorts, from Where’s Wally to The Cure, to Moria Rose from Schitts Creek.

J: Your ‘Moira Rose’ is definitely a favourite in our house!
And what is the ‘Wind Blanket’?

T: The Wind Blanket is a variation on a temperature blanket, which is what I’d done the previous two years. I assign yarn colours to wind directions, then I record the direction here in Somerset at noon each day and crochet a hexagon in the corresponding colour. By the end of the year I’ll have a blanket that’s a total medley of shades. The fun is having no idea how it’ll turn out on December 31st!

J: Brill! The temperature blankets can be predictable in terms of looking relatively similar each year, but with wind direction being way more sporadic, the results are super interesting!
Now that Halloween has been and gone, it is time for the C word to rear its head (yay!). So what’s on the cards for Christmas, and what products should we be looking out for?

T: Ah Christmas! This build up is my most favourite time of year, when you can feel it in the air. My rainbow scarves are back, as well as baubles in all kinds of colours. I used to be a bit of a traditional red, gold and green kinda gal, but that’s gone right out the window. I’m also launching a range of stockings for the first time, after playing with them in my mind for years. Rainbow, of course!

J: Yesss, a colourful Christmas is absolutely on the cards this year!
I love the traditional decorations, but combined with a glittery dinosaur, a few pompoms and rainbow baubles of course!
Where can we get our hands on your stockings, and all of those other beautiful pieces?

T: You can find all the colourful things I make on the website: www.thesquirrelcollective.co.uk, and you can also catch behind the scenes stuff and sneak peeks on my Instagram – @the_squirrel_collective

Well you heard the lady! Go and have a look and a follow!
We’re super super grateful to lovely Tessa for her honesty and for telling us all – we’re off to have another browse of her fabby work!

To celebrate our 10th Creative Q&A going live today(!), we’re running a giveaway over on Instagram for a chance to win 4 AMAZING prizes from some of the makers featured so far!

You could win:

Crochet Rainbow Scrunchie by The Squirrel Collective

Milk Carton Aquarium Pin Badge by illustrator Lauren Gale

You’ve Got This card and Cactus Wrap from BlackCatandBumble

Set of Reusable Makeup Pads by HollyEdwardsTextiles

(Click on the links above to read their Q&As!)

The winner will be announced this Sunday (8th November) so get in there quick & have a look at our post for details on how to enter – good luck!

Janey

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