Friday, April 23, 2010

An Interview with ...Jared Flood

Once a week I post interviews with interesting designers about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry. I’ve noticed that every designer makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the Knitting world.

You can find Jared here

Where do you find inspiration?
It's hard to pin down just one source, but Architecture is a common source of inspiration. Knitting is architecture in many ways, so the translation makes a lot of sense for me. I also collect traditional and antique knitting literature (books, leaflets, patterns, archival photographs) and find lots of inspiration in traditional hand knit garments. I love the rich history and techniques that have been present in knitting for hundreds of years, and love to play with ways of bringing them into a more contemporary context for today's knitters.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
I jump around a lot -- I might be on a cable-kick for months, then feel a strong urge rise to work color work designs. That's what I love about knitting, there are so many different subcategories that you can never get bored. My current obsession: Lace.

How did you determine your size range?
Sometimes the size range is effected by a specific design and how well it will translate, but in general I try to follow a wide range for sizing to make patterns accessible to as many knitters as possible.

Do you look at other designers work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I definitely look at other designers work. My favorite part of design is that I feel like I'm engaged in a much larger conversation -- I think it's important to see what people are doing and be familiar with things that are going on outside of your own subjective world. That said, it is equally important to know and follow your own clear vision. I think a balance is key.

How do you feel about the so called controversy of "dumbing down" patterns for knitters?
I don't think about it too much -- I'm concerned mostly with finding a clear, accessible way of sharing my work with people. I don't think of it is 'dumbing down' or simplifying, but creating a more easily understood language so things don't seem as difficult or scary for knitters. In general I think most things in knitting are rather simple to understand if they can be explained in the proper way, which is often the problem. I've been recently exploring new, more visual ways of writing patterns.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
I do almost all of my knitting myself, at least for the prototype of a garment. I always have pieces test-knit, and work with 2 to 3 test-knitters/tech-editors whose work I know well and trust. I think it's important to have something knit by someone else before it's released to the world. This is a luxury that you have when self-publishing, or publishing individual patterns that you lose when working on deadlines for magazines, books, etc.

Did you do a formal business plan?
Over the last 2 years I think I have one in place that is finally working. I didn't sit down and figure it all out at once, but have been refining it as I go, and learning a lot about how to strike a good balance between work and the rest of life has been a gradual process. I love my job though, despite the challenge that an unconventional model can pose from day to day.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
Not really. I've worked one out that is right for me, and continue to change it as I see necessary as I work more and learn new and better ways of doing things.

What impact has the Internet had on your business?
It's solely responsible! I got my start as a designer publicly, as a blogger. The Internet has been the platform that has carried me and allowed me to communicate and share my work with others.

Do you use a Tech Editor?
Absolutely. Writing patterns can be time-consuming and mind-numbing, so having 1 or 2 sets of fresh eyes looking over everything is absolutely crucial for catching things that you wouldn't on your own. I also like having discussions with my tech editors about the patterns before they go public: what works, what doesn't, what did you like, what can we do better next time, etc.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
This is my constant struggle. I do feel like I work too much, but that's always how I've been. Since the actual KNITTING is shared between my job and my hobby, that's a grey area, but balancing the rest of the work(e-mailing, designing, illustrating, pattern layouts, photography, etc.) is something that is more identifiable as "work." For these things, I find it helpful to set aside certain hours of the day when I generally feel most organized, productive, and alert, and use these times to attack my work very systematically. A self-imposed structure is very important as a way of keeping your personal life intact, I think!

How do you deal with criticism?
I think it's very important -- I'm always open to it, and obviously appreciate it when it is
delivered in a constructive way!

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
Probably 2 years of pretty consistent, hard work before I felt comfortable having this be my primary occupation.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Make sure you love doing it! The time-consuming part never goes away, so having a passion is the absolute key foundation. Also, be creative in solving problems, not just as a designer, but also as a business person

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting the interview with Jared. He's an amazing, talented young man. It's not often that you find so much talent for designing and teaching in such a kind young man! Your interviews are wonderful!