Vanessa Lauria is an extremely talented weaver and maker. She discovered her love for the craft in college where she began exploring the colors of fibers and finding her own way amongst the medium. After some years, she finally took the leap to start her own studio, pidge pidge. Through her new outlet, she creates swoon-worthy one-of-a-kind handwoven scarves in brilliant funky colors. I love the way she proudly proclaims it as "art you can wear" because it really is just that. Vanessa's work is that of a very creative individual and it was a joy to cross paths with such a lovely passionate person. Learning about her process, it was clear how important her art is to her and it shines very brightly through each piece she creates. I encourage you to read on and learn more about Vanessa and her studio. Her path is nothing but inspiring and full of such joy!
1. TELL US ABOUT PIDGE PIDGE.
pidge pidge is my weaving studio, where I design and create vibrant, modern scarves and accessories in unexpected, inspired color stories. I sell my handwovens at craft shows and in my online shop, and relish every opportunity to connect with fiber enthusiasts and the color-obsessed in the process.
2. WHAT MADE YOU BRING THIS DREAM TO REALITY?
I fell in love with weaving in college and was lucky enough to use the studio the summer after graduating. After a full day’s work, I’d trek to south campus and weave up a storm.
I think having a series of less than ideal day jobs made the dream of creating full time & sharing my art with others all the more desirable. Five years after graduation, with motivation from another creative friend & an awesome craft show experience in Chicago, I quit my job and began pidge pidge.
3. WHAT ARE THE CORE BELIEFS BEHIND YOUR ART?
pidge pidge strives to create handcrafted heirloom textiles that will be adored (and feel luxurious) for years to come. Every piece I weave has been thoughtfully designed and expertly handled down to the last detail.
I believe that creative exploration keeps my work (and life) fresh, that color is exciting, and that sharing my woven pieces with others opens the door for great conversation. With every piece I design, I hope to create the perfect handwoven accessory for anyone who loves bold color, pattern and texture – truly unique wearable art!
4. WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST OBSTACLE WHEN STARTING OUT?
Managing everything myself has been (and still is) my biggest challenge. Juggling social media, marketing, and record keeping doesn’t come as naturally to me as making. It’s all the more difficult when I just want to do the fun stuff—weave, sew & create.
Learning to be confident in my business also had a learning curve. It took several craft shows and a few years before I was fully comfortable promoting myself and pidge pidge. Gaining that experience and listening to the stories of other makers has helped me overcome that tendency many of us have to undervalue our work.
5. DO YOU HAVE ANY MAKERS YOU ADMIRED THAT HAVE INSPIRED YOU?
As an art school grad, my first instinct is to look to paintings from well-known artists like Gauguin and Kandinsky for color inspiration. I often rely on my journals collaged with photographs and magazine clippings or pinterest art boards to collect my references & aid in design brainstorming.
I’m also inspired by artists and creatives working in mediums like crochet, painting, photography, and quilting on instagram (@yarn_house, @geninne, @tarafaughnan). I use my newsletter as a way to reach out to makers that I admire and feature their work in an Artist Spotlight each week.
6. WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY AS A MAKER LOOK LIKE?
Every day in the studio looks different. So much of my work is preparation for weaving—winding bobbins and warps, dressing the loom, and designing color stories. My favorite studio days are weaving days. I design the initial flow of colors for scarves by lining up bobbins, then I weave through them, adding repeats and playing with color proportion. Mistakes and glitches in a pattern can become happy accidents when I intentionally repeat them.
A large portion of my day to day is centered around admin work. I schedule and create content for social media, work on my weekly newsletter and seek opportunities for promotion and networking.
In the evenings, I usually pick up another fibers project to relax with. Knitting, quilting, and tapestry weaving are go-to crafts. This week, I’m designing a few baby quilt patterns with colored pencils and graph paper. The summer studio also extends into the kitchen, where I'm exploring natural dyes. My freezer is stocked with Queen Anne’s lace, daffodils, dandelions, and avocado pits, which will hopefully dye beautifully colored yarn. I’m excited to see what hues I coax from foraged materials. I also want to play with altering the pH of dyebaths to expand my palette further.
7. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING A MAKER?
Sharing my passion and enthusiasm for fiber arts and color just makes me feel good! I’ve recently started teaching weaving workshops and learning how to naturally dye yarn. Growing my creative community, asking and answering questions, and forming new friendships with other makers help me feel connected to the world; it’s easily my favorite part of the process.
8. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR MAKERS JUST STARTING OUT?
I think curiosity and playfulness in making can lead you in new directions. Be bold and reach out to others you admire or have questions for. Engaging with your creative community can help you feel supported and realize that you shouldn’t undersell yourself or your work. Also, there’s nothing wrong with supplementing your income with a day job. It can, in fact, help to take the pressure off and give you more room to explore and invent.