As a child, I sometimes dreamed of running away to join the circus. Didn’t you?
Recently, it’s felt more like we’re living IN a circus — can we run away to do the things we really love to do? Spinning, weaving, knitting, crocheting, playing with all kinds of glorious fiber? Sure we can! What a life!
Donna Druchunas ran away from her desk in a corporate cubicle to honor her passions for knitting, world travel, research, and writing and hasn’t looked back!. She is the author of six knitting books including Lithuanian Knitting: Continuing Traditions, Arctic Lace, and Successful Lace Knitting. Her book series, Stories in Stitches, features historical patterns and essays. Donna lives in Vermont with her husband, mother, and three cats who all help her test the usability and comfort of her finished knitted items. She teaches in the US, Canada, and Europe and holds retreats at her private studio.
And WE are thrilled to have Donna back at Fiber College this year! She’s teaching a knitting class, Lithuanian Beaded Wrist Warmers on Sunday morning, September 11, 9 AM to 12 noon. On Sunday afternoon from 1:30 to 4:30, she’ll teach another knitting class, the Amish Oval Rug. Both of these classes are sure to be big hits, so let’s meet Donna and then you can go read about the details of her classes and register for either or both here.
As we celebrate the tenth year of our Fiber College community, tell us about how community plays a part in your life as a fiber artist.
Readers and knitters — my community — are the reason for everything I do. I work from home and live in a small town in rural Vermont, so I spend a lot of time by myself. Getting online with my community and getting to go teach at live events and meet my readers and knitters in person is what it’s all about for me.
What keeps you coming back to Fiber College? How is FC different from other teaching venues? What’s your favorite thing about Fiber College?
I love the venue of Fiber College and the chance to come to Maine and be near the beach. It’s such a wonderful place to spend time and a wonderful group of people to spend that time with.
Tell us how you entered into the world of fiber and the fiber arts.
My grandmothers taught me how to knit and crochet when I was a little girl. I stopped doing those crafts in my 20s when I was busy with other things, but later came back to my first loves when I ended up hating my job writing computer manuals. One of my friends asked me, “If you can write about how to install a hard drive, why can’t you write about how to knit things?” And that was the start of my new life.
How do you keep your creativity fresh and new? What have you experimented with in the fiber arts in the past year?
I’ve been drawing! I’m working on a new knitting book that will include an illustrated family-history memoir. I am loving trying my hand at another creative skill that I hadn’t done since I was a child.
You’ve hit a roadblock and need to get back into your creative groove. How would you do that?
I take a day off and go for a walk or go to the lake — anything outside that shakes the cobwebs out of my head and gives me a fresh perspective. I don’t force myself to keep working. Taking that day off really gives me the space I need to regroup and start afresh.
What does your studio space look like now? What change would you make if you could?
I live in a 150 year old farm house in Vermont and I have a 300 square foot classroom and a 400 square foot studio. Both have comfy couches and chairs in them, as well as shelves full of my favorite books. I couldn’t think of a better place to work and create!
How do you imagine your work might change in the next three to five years?
I want to spend more time at home in New England and less time traveling to teach in other places, and I am planning to set aside time in the summer for spinning and dyeing yarn just to create beautiful things. I want to put more art into my life.
Who has had the greatest impact on your work as an artist?
My students. I learn new things every time I teach. It is a joy to see the many different ways people knit and the many different techniques they know. I am always learning.
How do you ensure plenty of time to be an artist?
It’s my life. I don’t have another job. Although I make a lot less money than I did as a technical writer working for companies like HP and Fujitsu, I am much happier having less money and more time so I can make things and share them with the world.
You can learn more about Donna at her websites:
She’s also on Facebook and Instagram:
Now that you’ve met Donna, go sign up for her classes here!