KIM CHEEK: I was involved in the arts communities in Kernersville and Winston-Salem when I was in my 20s. When I married my husband, I became the step mom to two children. We then had our daughter, who is now 17 years old. I love being a wife and mother, and was actively engaged in many activities for the children. I still am involved in a number of community groups. However, I really missed doing my craft work. There was only so much time in the day, and I chose to put that aside for a number of years. Eventually, with the kids grown up, I got back into it.
My husband would ask me “why do you crochet?” So I got to thinking about how much doing my crotchet work reminded me of my grandmother. When I was 8 years old, I learned how to crochet from her. I would help her make granny squares. I discovered that if I did something she didn’t like, she would punish me by making me help her with her work. Well, I loved doing it so much that I would purposely get in trouble! Eventually, she realized that it did no good to punish me with this task, since I would just find ways to get in trouble so that I could help her. My grandmother is no longer with me, but when I do my crotchet work, it’s like I have her here with me.
HUB: You keep an incredibly full schedule, between working with your husband at the furniture plant, continuing to support your high school aged daughter, and working your crafts both in the area of crochet as well as making different bath and body products. Do you sleep?
CHEEK: I don’t sleep much! In fact, I get mad at myself when I can’t stay up as late as I want in order to finish a crochet order. It’s a challenge to keep everything going, but I love my life and am so happy being able to devote time to crocheting again that it’s worth the lost sleep for now.
CHEEK: The knots that we make when we crotchet make me think a lot about life. Our lives are a series of knots. They come together, they can fall apart, and they can get torn apart. They are the fabric of our lives. Crochet was my first love, born out of necessity but became something I loved to do. I am very particular about my work, so I tend to do a lot of what we call “frogging” or ripping out of the stitches. I cannot stand to let errors go, even if many people wouldn’t notice them. I notice them! I want my work to be recognized as handcrafted, not simply handmade. In fact, I am pleased to share that I was recently officially invited to be an artisan in the Amazon Handmade community. I look forward to trying this out and potentially expanding my business range.
However, what I most enjoy is creating pieces for people in the community. My work up until this point has been all direct order. Usually, someone gets my name from someone else, either they’ve seen my work or are searching for someone to create a gift for them. Often, I will be asked to look at a photo of something and see if I can recreate what I see and make it into whatever the customer wants. It could be a baby blanket, or a hat, or a toy or piece of clothing. I rarely use patterns. I can look at a photo and pick up some yarn and start to try some things out, see how the colors work together, and make it come together. Just seeing the look of joy on a customer’s face is what does it for me. I keep my prices reasonable, because I don’t want that to be the reason why someone can’t buy a gift for their children or grandchildren. When it comes to my art, that’s more important to me than anything.
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