This month I am introducing you to my friend and design colleague, Tanja Osswald and Osswald Design. Tanja is an amazing Crochet designer; if you aren’t a crocheter, you will still enjoy this!
These monthly features of other creative businesses are a way for all of us to get to know wonderful creators. It is a long-time interest of mine to explore how other creative people make their way as professionals.
Oswald Design – Who? What? Where?
As a bit of an introduction, Tanja Osswald is a crochet designer. She is German and we met through Tara Swiger’s Starship. Tanja recently launched her website, Osswald Design. When Tanja found out I would be in Europe last fall, she was interested in meeting because she hadn’t met any of the other Starship Captains (who mostly live in the US). She and her husband came to Amsterdam, where she had lived while getting her masters degree in Logic, and Tanja and I spent a few hours together.
Who: Tell us a very important person (VIP) to you as Osswald Design and as the crochet designer, you are today.
A – Tanja Osswald: One person who comes to my mind is Christine Nöller. She is a knitwear designer and has been in the trade for many more years than I have. She was the first to publish a German book on lace knitting. You can see her designs here: http://www.kreativ-tini.de/ Christine is a friendly and generous person and very approachable. We know each other because years ago, I wrote her a Ravelry pm and asked her about self-publishing books. She took the time to kindly answer a complete stranger and she was very helpful. She even recommended my German publisher to me (BuchVerlag für die Frau). She has a background in mathematics as do I, so we both share a love for geometric patterns. We have met a couple of times and I’m now happy to call her my friend.
What: Tell us what makes you create!
I love exploring techniques. Often, a design starts with an image in my mind and the feeling that it should be possible to make this – even if it means needing to take an unusual approach or to outright invent a new technique.
For example, I invented a way to do horizontal cables (in crochet and in knitting) where the cable is not reverse engineered but properly sideways-engineered.
Where: Describe a place that is meaningful to your work.
For years, I had a commute of 45 minutes on the train and that was crochet time for me. During that time, I developed the habit of taking along yarn for experiments (plus a notebook to keep track). There’s no better way of winding down after a long workday than toying with ideas! My first horizontal cable was worked on a train.
Though now I use the train much less, a train ride is still a time for inspiration for me.
What Now: Tell us what is new or forthcoming in your Osswald Design and/or your creative life.
I just came back from a trip to the Leipzig book fair, promoting my first book with the BuchVerlag für die Frau. The book is an introduction to crochet and is called ABC der Handarbeiten – Häkeln. It was an awesome event and I’m very happy my publisher is so supportive and such a pleasure to work with. As soon as book no. 1 was in print, they called me and asked for a new project – over the course of the next weeks, I’ll design a series of softies which will turn into a book for next fall (the individual patterns will be available in English, too, on Ravelry, as they will be for the ABC book).
I’m also collaborating with an indie dyer, Freche Wolloase, and we are working on a book with both knit and crochet patterns, using her lovely yarns.
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