Crochet Designer Ashlee Elle finds inspiration all around her and expresses it with yarn and a crochet hook. She sees her work as a form of storytelling as she weaves colorful fiber around and through each stitch. Ashlee likes to experiment and often refers back to years’ worth of journals and sketchbooks when beginning a new piece. Part of her joy is sharing the process with others who enjoy the art and craft of crochet.
How did you find yourself on an artist’s path? Always there? Lightbulb moment? Dragged kicking and screaming? Evolving?
I discovered myself on an artist’s path quite early in life. With an admiration for creativity as well as imagination intertwined, I am beyond grateful as it continues to grow throughout each day.
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Why crochet? How does that medium best express what you want to communicate through your art?
Crochet was introduced to me right before college. I always admired the opportunity to construct my own handmade items. So, the excitement grew almost immediately, with continuous practice for the craft. The medium allows my adoration for photography, videography, storytelling as well as letting all-around creativity flourish with the ability to make all of those ingredients fuse together as one.
What do you do differently? What is your signature that makes your work stand out as yours?
With the handmade designs that I create, hopefully it is the experimental perspective, reaching outside of the box to attempt new ideas to incorporate into my creations.
What is the most important takeaway you want readers to gain from your new book, Retro Crochet: Vibrant Vintage-Inspired Looks from the 70s, 80s, and 90s?
To experiment with your art and to always explore beyond the expected to find the creative path. To create with fun as the main component, as well as how you would like others to perceive your craft.
What role does photography play in your creative process?
Photography plays a vital role in my creative process, for it allows the handmade creation to speak and tell a full story of its origin and what it has become.
Do you make time to crochet every day? How does that feed your creativity?
Believing you make time for the things you love, I do attempt to crochet daily, even if it’s for 15 minutes. I take advantage of opportunities to create something. The energy that was conjured up for the day will be freely released through each stitch.
Do you have a dedicated space for creating? If so, what does it look like?
The dedicated space for creating is my craft room as well as sort of everywhere. Adoring all aspects of art, I tend to leave crafty trails here and there.
What are the indispensable tools and materials in your studio? How do they improve your work?
The indispensable tools as well as materials discovered within my creative space would be my crochet hooks, scissors and my craft journals. The craft journals assist immensely in composing the ideas that will present themselves for later designs.
Do you use a sketchbook or journal? How does that help your work develop?
Yes, I utilize sketchbooks as well as a journal. One is for construction details for designs, breaking down an idea to figure out the inner workings to create it fully. The journal primarily contains ideas, thoughts, anything pertaining to the craft experience.
What plays in the background while you work? Silence? Music, audiobooks, podcasts, movies? If so, what kind?
I absolutely love creating to music, soundtracks specifically, podcasts and film/shows at times as well. They are usually within the fantasy/sci fi area of interests for those selections.
When you travel, do you create while on planes and in waiting areas? What is in your creative travel kit?
When traveling, all of the creative ingredients take the journey along with me. Bringing along all of the tools or soon-to-be ideas, formed into designs. The tools include scissors, crochet hooks, yarn needles, journals and, of course, tons of yarn.
When it comes to creating, are you more of a planner or an improviser?
Being both a planner as well as an improviser, the duality of acquiring both of those attributes truly makes an exhilarating experience with creating. It allows the energy of the moment and of the planned design itself to fully choose which journey it desires to take.
How does your journalism background connect with your creative work?
The background of journalism offers the connection of storytelling. I collect all of the ingredients I need for the designs to fully exhibit a story of craft, a story of constructing something that holds true and that shall convey a sense of expression.
How do you decide what your next pattern will be?
I tend to allow the moment or the energy to be the driving force at times, primarily allowing the feeling to go towards what I truly want to create in that space and time. That in itself drives the decision, which makes it quite exciting.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Create what you would like to see. Make what makes your heart, your soul, soar.
If you could interview a creative person (past or present), who would that person be? What is it about that person that intrigues you?
Emily Dickinson and her work of poetry has always connected me with creative energy. The unique voice her art speaks through is something I continue to creatively admire.
Do you think that creativity comes naturally to people, or do you think creativity is a skill that people can learn?
Creativity comes naturally, and it also resides within. This is something that many can learn, for both are abilities that exist in those worlds. With practice, as well as with a growing love for art, anyone anywhere can create.
Tell us about your website. What do you hope people will gain by visiting?
My website hosts a handful of inspirational as well as creative endeavors that I have constructed throughout the years. The main aspiration is to share handmade items, ideas, designs and the all-encompassing opportunity to truly create what you would like to see.
Interview posted December 2022
Browse through more crochet inspirations and projects on Create Whimsy.