I asked Teri to create something I could share with you on her creative process and she came up with the below. I hope you enjoy this special edition update!
My philosophy of design is always, the beauty that comes with context. Does what is being created fit within its intended purpose as well as future applications.
When I looked to create these illustrations, I recognize Fiber Club, is coming on the heels of an “awakening” in 2019 within the fiber community of the inequity and exclusion of communities of fiber crafters, artisans and practitioners of color from the larger and mostly white middle class community. The year 2019 exposed many fiber practitioners to the idea of centering less recognized communities, like BIPOC as well as gender-nonconforming and trans folx , neuro-divergent folx, disabled folx and fat/larger bodies.
As we fast forward from the learning of 2019, we saw Ravelry really come forward and embrace that commitment. Ravelry is arguably the largest space to foster community with fellow fiber crafters but also a hub for independent designers, when the fees and algorithms associated with other sites like Etsy or independent websites did not serve them, many emerging designers utilized Ravelry as their exclusive marketplace.
This year, 2020, has not been particularly kind to the larger world, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic upheaval that various countries are experiencing, many crafters were leaning on their digital communities more than ever.
Approximately 20 weeks ago, Ravelry performed major changes to its platform. As a digital designer, I wasn’t particularly inspired by the aesthetics of what is now deemed “Classic Ravelry.” I found that the changes were dramatic and jarring to get accustomed to like many new UI (user interface) updates can be for frequent users.
On the first day of using new Ravelry, I had to toggle between the new and classic versions to find the things I used most often. I was excited to explore the new version and at times a little annoyed with the new appearance but nothing more. However, in the fiber community I had cultivated on instagram, I saw that others had been experiencing very marked and severe reactions to the updates. Users were reporting vertigo, debilitating migraines and in some instances, epileptic episodes. Users, who needed Ravelry to carry out their skills and hobbies, in an already very taxing time, were being harmed.
These users and their advocates reported their concerns and their reactions to the Ravelry team, but were met with slow and at times, ineffective work arounds to utilize the site. Ravelry was a digital space that laid out inclusion, as a guiding principle and in this instance they were falling short to this community of users.
This is the impetus that led Liza and Rommel to create the Fiber Club app. When I was initially asked to create these individual illustrations, I pondered the path here. I hope to share how I have internalized the hopes, principles and expectations of the burgeoning Fiber Club community.
I am sharing now a short brainstorming session for how I want to show not just diversity found in the greater fiber community but an inclusion of us all, whenever you use the app.
At the end I pose the question, who is missing? What are the crafts missing in their representation, what demographics and communities are not being shown? I hope you’ll share your thoughts.