Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

My name is Ariel Pond and I am currently a Sophomore Fibers major with a Printmaking concentration and a strong interest in Interdisciplinary Sculpture. This past spring I was the intern for the Neighborhood Fiber Co. NFC is a small yarn company that specializes in producing hand-dyed yarn, creating colors that are inspired by neighborhoods that owner and artist Karida Collins has lived around.
I discovered the internship opportunity at the NFC through my advisor, Nicole Evans. Knowing my interest in the Fiber arts, especially my interest in hand dyeing processes, she suggested I contact Karida Collins of the NFC, which I did immediately. Karida was very excited about my interest and enthusiasm in the position and redirected me to micanetwork.com. After I applied for a job, I was interviewed by Karida and her co-worker Becky and after talking I was given the job on the spot.
What really attracted me to the NFC, besides my interest in dye processes, was the community arts project that Karida was heading, the Baltimore Satellite Reef. This project is part of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, which has been exhibited around the world for several years now, to bring awareness to the destruction of the coral reef. By involving the community in this project, not only is this awareness spread, but a unity within that community is enhanced through crochet.
Along with Karida, I assisted in teaching community members how to crochet hyperbolic planes through crochet workshops that happened regularly twice a week. Once an individual learns to crochet, s/he participates in creating ‘coral’ pieces out of the hyperbolic plane technique. Karida and I collect these pieces in order to install them in Studio CA for the exhibit opening in the first week of May. We are very excited to see the final product.
Besides assisting with the Baltimore Satellite Reef, I assisted Karida in prepping the yarn for the dye baths by winding off skeins of the large assortment of yarn she offers. I also assisted with the dye process, even learning the formulas of each color. When a mistake in the color of the yarn was made, I learned how to top dye the yarn in order to correct the color. After the dyeing was complete, I would twist up the dried skeins and label them for sale.

Another big part of my internship was regulating the online store. As that is where most of the NFC’s business is done, it is very important to have an efficient website. In order to make the website more cohesive, I shot new product photography of the yarns and edited the photos so that potential customers could see exactly what color yarn they were ordering. Nothing is more frustrating than ordering one color of something and receiving a totally different color in the mail, all because of poor lighting and a lack of proper editing. I would also package the skeins for shipment to these online customers.
In addition to these routine tasks, I also attended a yarn show with Karida and Becky, Homespun Yarn Party. This was an event where yarn venders from all around Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. put their goods on display for potential customers. I assisted in packing up the yarn to take to the show and for assembling the space and organizing the yarn once we got there. I also was there to answer any questions the customers might have, give suggestions, and to ring up their orders. It was a great experience, to be able to help these yarn lovers out!

Overall, I am most proud of my work with the Baltimore Satellite Reef. Being able to teach people how to crochet was really rewarding, as I was able to see their progress and interest increase from week to week. Being able to get the community together in this way is pretty amazing. This internship, more than anything else, made me realize how important knit and crochet is to me, as well as to the community as a whole. In the future, I hope to expand these interests into my art making processes, possibly as a pattern designer or something to that effect.