I am so excited to introduce my amazing readers to creative fiber artist Laura Clark! She creates knitwear for fandom lovers – a way for you to stay stylish while flying your geek flag high! So let’s dig in and get to know the maker and mother behind White Willow Wearables!
Photo Credit: Michelle Wells Photography
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I live in Calgary (Alberta Canada), I have one daughter who turned 7 months September 1st. My hobbies include knitting, reading and going for walks with my husband. This is kind of my side gig, I’m a graphic designer by trade and have a small business for that as well since I don’t plan on going back to work outside the home once my mat leave is up in December. I would love to be in a place where I’ve got enough patterns designed that it’s a passive income I don’t have to worry/think about as well as doing the occasional custom/made to order piece. I enjoy working but not going to work if that makes sense haha. I like having control over my time.
Haha, fun fact about being fandom inspired in my work: I thought it was a great niche to get into but it turns out that for markets it’s actually too niche. I haven’t had much luck at markets the past couple years which is partly why I expanded to more “generic” looking pieces that are named for things. So while yes it does set me apart I don’t think my audience differs too much from other knitwear designers. People have varied interests and we’re in a time when I’m on the older end (32) of the Harry Potter Fandom and we’re having kids that we want to pass on our love of things pop culture on to.
Since you take a lot of inspiration from fandoms, I assume you have a love for geekery! What are your favorite TV shows/games/genres?
I do have a love of geekery, and it’s expansive. Favorite TV shows (some that I have watched multiple times) would be Buffy/Angel, Brooklyn 99, The Office (I have plans to re-create one of Pam’s cardigans), Gilmore Girls, Supernatural, Doctor Who and Firefly (and therefore Serenity). Games…I enjoy Sushi Go, Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan and the occasional game of Risk. Genres would be fantasy/sci fi mostly, but comedy, and pretty much anything that’s not horror.
As a mother and a maker, how do you balance running a creative business without getting burned out or overwhelmed?
Well I think not being too busy in my business helps. Like not doing markets this year and any deadlines I have are my own so I’m not having to get stuff out for other people. As much as it would be great to have yarn support, I watch one of my close friends deal with the deadlines she has and for me with a baby that would be more pressure then I would want. Also, my daughter is a very easy baby. She has been sleeping well since the get go and wasn’t ever prone to colic or anything like that. So I’m well rested and can get stuff done while she naps. My husband is a great support system for me as well.
I shower regularly, cause when my hair gets greasy I feel like crap so I make sure to shower when she’s napping. That way I can also guarantee some time to myself. I wear makeup almost daily too, and since it’s because I want to and it’s not that I feel like I have to, I feel more like myself. Also I go to a knit night once a week. I used to bring her so the ladies would get some baby time, but now that she’s mobile it would be more difficult plus my husband likes his daddy daughter time and I get my own time with adults without having to worry about her.
What does a work day look like for you, with a small babe?
I start my day with yoga, I’m doing the 30 days of yoga with Adrienne right now, then it’s breakfast for my daughter and coffee for me. Then while she takes a small nap I have my breakfast and go through emails/notifications. I do my household stuff the rest of the morning while she just hangs out/plays/tries to get into everything. After lunch it is another (longer) nap for her and I do some design work/work on my Pinterest board for my knitting or work on the pattern I’m designing at the moment. Once she wakes up from her nap I feed her a snack and we go for a walk around the neighborhood (which will be coming to and end soon since winter is coming and people don’t shovel their sidewalks) to get some exercise and fresh air. She plays for a bit after we’re back then it’s either snack time or dinner for her and while she’s playing I’m usually knitting while watching her. She might have another nap, nap quantity is very much a day to day thing, but my husband will come home from work and make our dinner (I’m lucky I know) and we’ll eat then not too long after it’s bedtime for her. I’ll knit the rest of the evening usually while we watch TV or a movie together.