Tett Interview: Fibre Artist Laura Dyer of Knot Your Girl

Laura Dyer of Knot Your Girl macrame air plant pod

Hello, Laura. Please tell us about yourself.

My name is Laura Dyer and I'm the fibre artist behind Knot Your Girl. I predominantly create wall art and home decor using macramé techniques, but I also use weaving and knitting in my work as well. I teach classes at the Tett on how to macramé and create macramé plant hangers.

I was born in Kingston and raised about 25 minutes outside the city. I moved to Toronto to go to school and four years ago, I moved back here to do my masters and decided to stay! There's so much about Kingston I couldn't/didn't fully appreciate before I came back so I'm glad that I had the opportunity to rediscover my hometown as an adult.

Fibre artist Laura Dyer's framed knot

Are there other artists in your family?

My upbringing hugely informed my art. My fibre art journey began when I was quite young, learning how to knit with my Dutch Grandmother and making macramé friendship bracelets, that kind of stuff. I think I was seven or eight years old when I started learning. When my grandmother and her friends taught me these skills, I don't think they ever considered it artmaking, but I think that speaks to the way society has often historically devalued fibre art. Certainly, I'd say my family is full of fibre artists!

Who are your favourite artists?

Joan Miro is a big influence but in terms of fibre art, I would say Windy Chien, creator of the Year of Knots is an artist I really admire. The scale and originality of her work is so impressive.

Fibre artist Laura Dyer's macrame artwork

Please describe your personal artwork.

Texture! Lots of depth and I’m really obsessed with 70’s earthy colour palettes right now. The work I create is inspired by and an homage to the fibre art knowledge that has been passed down through generations of women. Each piece is intentionally crafted with these histories in mind. 

Fibre artist Laura Dyer's air plant air pods

When did you decide to start your own creative business? Was there an Ahah! moment?

About two years ago I guess I did have an Ahah! moment of sorts. I’ve always loved dabbling in different creative avenues, but I never felt “qualified” or “experienced” enough to put my work out there in a business model. I think my moment was realizing that I was unfairly dismissing my experience because it came from casual, unstructured lessons from my family and community and not formal curriculum-based training. I feel like this can be a fairly common internalized problem for female artists who work with mediums that have historically dismissed as “women’s work” and opposed to being celebrated as fine or applied art. So, in a lot of ways I see my decision to start Knot Your Girl as unlearning a lot of those assumptions I’d let myself believe and embracing a more feminist lens in my work.

Fibre artist Laura Dyer of Knot Your Girl

Can you give any advice to artists and makers who are considering starting their own creative business or teaching workshops for the first time?

Make sure you're ready to help all kinds of learning styles and students. Sometimes my classes go seamlessly. The students are quick learners and ready for anything. Others need more guidance and time to figure out their own creative processes within the class. Both are ok! A really good friend of mine who teaches yoga gave me a great piece of advice I always try and keep in mind when I encounter curveballs in teaching: You may not be the most perfect or intuitive teacher for every learner and that's ok. Letting go of that pressure I think can be wonderful for your teaching process and the learning experience of the students.

Fibre artist Laura Dyer's air plant air pod

We’re excited that you are teaching two macrame workshops at the Tett Centre this month. What projects will your students learn to make?

I currently teach two different macramé projects in my classes: how to make a classic, vintage inspired plant hanger and how to make an ‘airpod’, which is a little plant holder for air plants. I’ve taught more intermediate level classes in the past like how to macra-weave and I’m looking to add more advanced classes in the future, but at the moment I’m focused on these two classes because they’re really great at teaching the foundations of the craft.   

Fibre artist Laura Dyer's macrame workshop at the Tett Centre

As an arts instructor, what is it like to rent and teach workshops at the Tett Centre?

I've taught in a couple different spaces and I genuinely really love teaching at the Tett. The renting process is straight forward and very accessible for artists. I like that I can set up for class and grab a coffee from Juniper Café before my students arrive. The Activity Room is a really wonderful space for classes, and I think it offers something quite unique within the community.

How can readers learn more about you and your artwork and workshops?

I have a website, www.knotyourgirl.ca. Currently, my shop is set up with some of my more classic designs, though I’m hoping to have a new collection ready over the summer. For the most up to date information on my classes, upcoming kits and to see what I’m working on, my Instagram @knotyourgirl_ is the best place to keep an eye on.  

Curious about venturing into the world of macramé? Would you like to learn the basic knots and skills to begin your own macramé projects and to explore the many creative possibilities macramé holds? If so, check out Laura Dyer’s Customizable Macramé Plant Hanger Workshop: A Beginner's Level Macramé Class on Saturday, November 21, 2020!

Fibre artist Laura Dyer's macrame plant holder workshop

Guided by Laura Dyer, in this class you will learn some of the foundational knots of macramé: the square knot, half knot and gathering knot. Using these knots, you will create your own medium/large sized plant hanger, in a classic vintage style macramé design with 3mm 100% recycled cotton rope. The best part is, you get to customize your white plant hanger with different colour accent knots! All materials are included in the workshop fee and along with creating your own plant hanger, each participant will receive a pdf pattern sheet to keep, in order to recreate the project again if they wish.

To register, please visit https://www.knotyourgirl.ca/product/custom-plant-hanger/18

Covid-19 health and safety protocols: The health and safety of our visitors, event attendees, staff, and community are our highest priorities. The Tett Centre will continue to follow the Covid-19 health & safety regulations of Government of Ontario and KFLA Public Health, including requiring all visitors to wear face masks, by providing hand sanitizer in the communal areas of the building, by maintaining six feet physical distancing in-between attendees' chairs or tables, by moving workshops into larger rental spaces, and more. Questions? Please ask us!

Interested in teaching an art making workshop at the Tett Centre? If so, please visit our website at https://www.tettcentre.org/rentals or contact the Tett Centre Rentals Coordinator, Susanna Gordon at rentals@tettcentre.org.

Interview by Susanna Gordon