I have been working for a non-profit organization that helps victims of domestic violence for the past 13+ years. I have held many different positions throughout the years, and it has been very rewarding to be helping people and making a difference in the community.
I have also been part of a volunteer group called Japanese Social Services Network (JSSN) for about 10 years. JSSN was first started as a networking platform for the Japanese professionals working in the social service field in the Seattle area. I joined the group initially to meet others and get/give support in doing the work.
Over the years, its focus has expanded to include providing information and resources to the Japanese people in the community. In addition to hosting a social get-together for service providers, we now offer workshops and seminars and have put together a website to provide community resources in Japanese.
I usually start my process by making rough sketches with pencil on paper.
I then made pen & ink drawings to be scanned and processed in Adobe Illustrator. I decided to place each illustration in the black circle to frame item. It gives them consistent look and helps to make the line art stand out.
As for the color illustration for the book cover, I decided to use the colored version of the spot illustrations to create a consistency of the look. I also just really liked them 🙂 I used the live paint function in Adobe Illustrator to make colored illustrations for this project.
To tie it all together on the cover, I used the same circle shape as the spot illustration in the center. As a way to give a sense of location, I made a line drawing of Mt. Rainier to place in the circle.
I’ve been crocheting for about 9 years now. I don’t even remember why I started it, but I bought a “how-to-crochet” book at a craft store one day, and I started crocheting. The book I got was written for kids, so it was very easy to understand and follow.
I kept learning new stitches and made new things. It was ok that sometimes it looked funny or didn’t come out quite the way I wanted. I felt it was pretty therapeutic to crochet, and you can crochet pretty much anywhere, anytime! It also felt good to know how to make something to meet my needs e.g. “I want cute fingerless gloves.” →”I can make them myself!”→”I love the cute fingerless gloves I made! And my hands are warm!”
When I had my craft booth at a Japanese New Year’s event last year, a bunch of people stopped to compliment my crochet wears. They also asked if I could teach them how to crochet. I hadn’t taught crochet before, but I don’t like saying “I can’t,” so naturally, I was getting their contact information and telling them I would be in touch to let them know when the classes would be happening.
A couple of months later, I had my first Crochet Basics class for Japanese people. The Basics class is open to anyone who is interested in learning, well, the basic stitches. In the class, they learn how to make square and round dish scrub sponge using the single and double crochet stitches and making circles. I don’t mind making cute things just for the sake of making cute things, but I far prefer to make something cute and practical.
I run the Basics class every quarter or so, and I offer the Crochet Circle a few times a month. The Crochet Circle is open to anyone who knows the basics and wants a little help and/or encouragement in working on their own projects.
It’s been really fun meeting and getting to know the students! They’re just so nice and caring and fun to be around. It is great to see that they’re enjoying making their own crochet goodies, and I love our conversations about life, culture, our families etc. Their excitement and enthusiasm for the craft gives me inspiration too. I try to be a better crocheter and a teacher for them.
I don’t plan on offering classes in English anytime soon as there are other options available out there, but new students are always welcome to my Japanese crochet classes! Tell your Japanese friends about it 🙂 View the class calendar here.