"Step out of your comfort zone because that's where the magic happens!" Feeling emotional drained from the full-time job she was working at, Netherlands-based fiber artist Alejandra Croes decided to take the leap of faith and do what she is most passionate about, macramé. Inspired by her Caribbean roots and love for the ocean, Alejandra set up her online shop MiniSwells where she sells her beautifully crafted wall hangings. Her unique style? The curvy branches she uses, which brings out the true beauty of her pieces. We had a chat with her on how she reconnected to her creative side, her favourite materials to use and more!
5 Things About Alejandra Croes…
Early riser or night owl... Early riser for sure! After becoming a mom, I definitely learnt to better appreciate my sleeping time.
A song to get you into the creative groove... I listen to a playlist of my own-curated songs while crafting. I love working with my headphones on as it blocks all other noises out. A song I'm into right now is Younger by Kygo.
What did you aspire to be when you were 5... I don't think I knew what I wanted to do when I was 5, but I was and still am in love with animals so I probably aspire to be a vet.
3 essentials we can find in your bag... Baby wipes, keys to my bike lock and my phone.
If you weren’t a macramé artist, you would most probably be doing… I would probably be working in an interior store and advising people with their decor needs.
1. Tell us about your background and what led you to choosing macramé as a craft.
I've always love being creative since a very young age. I used to love painting, but somehow I lost that passion over the years. I even went through rounds of interviews to enrol in art school, which I did, but backed out last minute. And since then, I lose connection with my creative side.
4 years ago however, I met my father for the first time in a very long time and found out that he also loves to paint. He shared with me that he would paint on some days, and wasn't inspired to do so on others when he was feeling sad or distracted. As I grew up without the care of my parents. I couldn't connect the dots to where I got my creative genes from until I met him. Around the same time I met my dad, I was a few days due from giving birth to my daughter. I wasn't not sure if it was the hormones or just the new found love for the arts that made me wonder what happened to that creative person I used to be. I soon began on a journey to find my creative side again and chanced upon the craft of macramé. Macramé has help me to reconnect with my inner creativity and feel passionate for the arts again. Since the time I tied my first macramé knot, I never stopped!
2. What made you want to take your passion to the next level?
Well, I actually just decided to take the leap a month ago. I was already doing it part-time ever since I started my Etsy shop, which has been going really great – it has definitely given me a positive boost in the right direction! However, juggling between running my own small business and working a full-time job was getting difficult for me to cope.
I feel happy while doing macramé at home, but miserable when working at my full-time job as it drains all my positive energy away. I decided that changed was needed and took the courage to go into full-time crafting, something which I am really passionate about. This gave me more time and freedom to take things to the next level.
3. Tell us more about MiniSwells.
The name MiniSwells was inspired by my Caribbean roots, and my love for the ocean and island life. I grew up in Aruba and when I was younger I would go to the beach to collect shells to make necklaces or reuse other scraps to create other things. The name reminds me of home, and when I'm making something, its always a little piece of me going off to a new home.
4. What kind of materials do you like to work with?
I work with cotton rope in various thicknesses. I have also just started to work with string rope that is so soft, giving my work a whole new feel and texture. Most of the work I do is with raw color. I have tried dying rope, but it's just not my thing! And as for wood, I love to work my knots branches (the more curves in them the better!)
5. What is your favourite piece of finished product and what inspired you to create it?
My favourite wall hanging is a piece I've made on my very first curvy branch. It turned out just so beautiful and since then, my hearts seems to skip a beat whenever I get my hands on curvy branches.
6. How is the yarn scene like in the Netherlands?
When I first started doing macramé, finding good ropes have always been an issue. However, I recently found the ideal rope I was looking for to match my creativity, and is now available in my shop. I often get enquiries from people about the rope, so I wanted to make it available to people who wanted to create or make things with it. In this way, I am able to share my experiences with this rope with others.
7. Is there any interesting or particularly memorable/interesting moment in your career as a professional maker?
I can remember how happy I was when I reached 500 followers on Instagram and just can't believe that people would want to follow the work I do. A lot has changed since then and now there's even a macramé community out there, which I am so grateful to be part of.
8. Advice for those wanting to make the switch into crafting full time?
Being self-employed might sound like fun, but it does take a lot of patience and planning. Be prepared for long days and nights ahead when you make the switch. But on the other hand, don't be afraid! There will of course be lots of challenges ahead and the only way to overcome them is by making mistakes, learning from it, don’t give up and follow your dreams. Someone once told me, sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone because that's where the magic happens!
Photo Credits: Alejandra Croes