Friday, April 6, 2012

Interview with Jessica Polka, Nautical Crochet Extraordinaire

nautical crochet red coral Jen Polka
Pattern for Red Coral - Jpolka on etsy

I first spied Jessica's awesome crochet work in a treasury we were both in, made by Jenny Hoople of AuthenticStone - it was called Orange, Green and Cozy - A Community Portrait. My cuttlefish wedding invitations were featured, as was Jessica's "Pattern for a Gentleman Prawn". I couldn't help but click, and then I was taken to the most amazing world of tiny nautical crochet! I got in touch with Jessica for an interview, and she kindly obliged:

When did you learn to crochet, and at what point did you start creating your own patterns?
My mom first taught me to crochet as a kid, but I didn't really do much with it until my senior year of college. I had just seen Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities [ed. note: this is the most awesome coffee table book of all time] and, serendipitously, had also recently discovered Etsy. My first purchase was actually an amigurumi pattern - I was fascinated with using yarn to make 3D objects. I tried making more and more unusual forms until I replicated a coral branch from the book.

Pattern for Gentleman Prawn (No. 26) - Jpolka on etsy
Do you have a day job too, in addition to your creative work?
I've been studying how bacteria move DNA around for a PhD in biochemistry. I hope to finish that up this year and keep doing research.

Swimming with dolphins - good idea or bad idea?
I've never done it, but I can definitely endorse swimming with ctenophores.

Mushroom crochet patterns, Volume 1 - jpolka on etsy

What is your most popular piece in your etsy shop? which one is your favorite (are they they same, or different?)
I think the cuttlefish pattern is the most popular, but I'm partial to the mushrooms. I've written a set of diatom patterns based on Victorian-era lacework techniques that I need to get around to putting in pdf format. They were actually cut out of my recent book of sea creatures for being too nerdy, so naturally they were my favorite.

Finally, What does your ideal Saturday (or day off) look like?

Short gratifying projects, science fiction, video games, friends, boy, tacos.

Pattern for Cuttlefish - jpolka on etsy

Pattern for Squid in Love (No. 9) - jpolka on etsy

Thanks so much Jessica! I just love these  - too bad I can't crochet, but maybe someone will make me a cool squid someday (my personal favorite) - You can find Jessica's PDF nautical crochet patterns, as well as occasionally finished products for sale on the web at her etsy shop, jpolka - Wunderkammer: A Handmade Cabinet of Curiosity , and you can also follow her on her blog.






You can find the awesome crochet book she authored, "75 Seashells, Fish, Coral and Colorful Marine Life to Knit and Crochet" on Amazon.

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