Artist: Cosette Cornelius-Bates
What kind of items do you make?
I hand dye yarns and spinning fibers, design knitting patterns and spin yarns. I dye mostly semi-solids on United States produced yarn made with mostly United States wool. I also like working with farms, but I’m more likely to get spinning fiber from them. I’m always looking for small companies, farms, and mills I can work with.
How long have you been an indie artist?
I opened my etsy shop in 2006, and shortly thereafter started experimenting selling one-of-a-kind hats at craft fairs. From there, I just got deeper and deeper into fiber arts – taking spinning and dyeing classes, getting a book deal, and completing a masters with a gallery show of knitting.
What got you interested in your art of choice?
In my early twenties, I saw a friend knitting (the first person I’d ever seen) and immediately became interested. But she knit left handed and I wanted to learn right handed, so I taught myself out of a book. That said, I have a fine arts background that turned very easily into fiber art when given the chance. I like making things and find myself right at home with the colors and textures of all things woolie.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
The diversity! I can design one day, spin another, dye another. It never gets boring. I love to play with color, texture, shape and make useful objects for my friends and family. For me, nothing shows love quite as much as swathing my community in wool. That, and feeding them soup.
What most inspires you?
I am inspired by communities that I live in. In spinning, I like working with local shepherds or wool that is minimally processed. In designing, I like making things for my friends and family. In dyeing, I am inspired by nature and the community who will use my raw products to make their own works of art.
(c) photo by nina barbuto