It's been a busy few weeks behind the scenes here but now it's time to celebrate! The Grand Re-Opening party is this Saturday and I'm super excited. I am a strong believer in celebrating milestones and accomplishments, even if that is just the fact that it is a Wednesday and there is a chilled bottle of bubbly in the fridge. (Perhaps we'll talk about my love of Champagne in more depth at a later date.)
I've been posting about the party on social media for the last week or so and have been teasing our special guest, Dani Sunshine of Lioness Arts. I first came across Dani last year at Unwind Brighton, which was her brainchild and an absolutley brilliant yarny event in Brighton, and finally got to meet her in person at last year's Great London Yarn Crawl. In addition to loving her pattern aesthetic and yarns, I was really impressed by her knowledge and insight into the industry. The Grand Re-Opening party seemed the perfect opportunity to work with her and she has dyed up a custom clourway for AYS just for the event. The custom colourway, which we've named Aquae Sulis will be available in store on Saturday and if there is anything left over, I'll add them to website on Sunday.
Dani took the time to answer a few questions so that we could all get to know her a bit better. So, in her own words I'll let Dani tell you a bit more about herself and Lioness Arts:
AYS: Tell me a bit about yourself, a short intro to you.
Dani: I live in sunny Brighton with my family. My kids keep me very busy, I'm currently cooking my third baby :) I'm endlessly optimistic, which leads me to attempt all sorts of crazy schemes!
AYS: How long have you been dyeing yarn? How did Lioness Arts come about?
Dani: In April 2011 I attended a dyeing workshop hosted by Alice Yu of Socktopus. I really went just for fun, but it was an immediate love affair. I went home and immediately started experimenting with kettle dyeing. I stashed my first attempts on ravelry and other ravellers encouraged me to open an Etsy shop, and it soon became a full time job. It all happened so fast, I was a yarn dyer before I even realised what was happening. I'm so grateful to the ravelry community for that, it's been such a great experience so far!
AYS: Were you a designer or dyer first?
Dani: I'd written a few patterns before I started selling yarn, but I'd say both have evolved together. I like doing both because I use very different parts of my brain for dyeing and designing. Dyeing yarn lets me be creative, messy, and take risks. Pattern writing is the opposite - turning a garment in to maths and accurate explanations.
AYS: What inspires you when you are creating colours?
Dani: Pretty much anything can inspire a new colourway. Mainly I experiment by combining colours as I go and see what happens, letting the process take charge. My motto is 'if in doubt, add more blue'. I feel most inspired when I see unusual combinations of colours. I love creating tonal colourways with lots of depth - like the special one I've dyed for A Yarn Story!
AYS: What is your favourite thing about working in this industry?
Dani: Knitters! Knitters are the best people :)
AYS: Tell me a bit about your actual dyeing process and what makes hand dyed yarn so special.
Dani: The best thing about hand dyed yarn is that every skein is special. I don't makes notes or recipes for my colours, I have a clear picture in my mind of what a colourway name means to me and that's what I try to achieve each time I dye it. I think of dyeing yarn as being like painting, each batch is a work of art, and each is unique. Wow, that sounds pretentious, I guess you could call me a typical artist type :D