A Passion for Creation, by Anjuli (@aarora_jumper_fluff)
My heart might be beating and my lungs breathing, but when I’m not being creative I feel dead inside. Soulless. It probably sounds a bit dramatic and maybe it is, but that’s the truth. For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt a deep and instinctual need to paint, write, embroider, sew, to draw, to explore. It’s like a burning passion that takes over my body and once I start, I can’t stop. Sometimes I feel obsessed… possessed even! It’s a force bigger than myself and I surrender to it every time. It’s both my addiction and my therapy, my drug and my cure.
At university I studied fashion design, and upon graduating I landed a job in Denmark as a designer for a commercial fashion brand. To combine passion with career sounded like an absolute dream come true! I don’t know exactly what I’d expected, and maybe I was naïve (or maybe I was tricked), but I quickly learned that this industry was all business and very little innovation. All work and no play. I was spending 80% of my time in front of a computer screen (and the other 20% banging my head against the bathroom wall). Unfulfilled in my professional endeavours, my hunger for working on personal creative projects became an absolute necessity. I’d spend almost 3 hours a day commuting and the first thing I’d do when I arrived home would be to pull out my paint brushes or my pattern pieces and start creating something. Almost like I wanted to smear colour over the mediocrity of my career or stitch a line under another fruitless day.
Eventually I became fed up with this lack of authenticity, and so (9 years later) I quit my job (and my marriage which was also mediocre to say the least), and that’s when the real fun began. With a sudden abundance of time and a bubbling up of desperation to throw myself into something new and exciting, I taught myself how to knit. I immediately connected with it. The smooth feel of the needles, the satisfaction of creating a gorgeous textile from a ball of yarn, the meditative state one enters whilst looping countless stitches onto needles… the whole process was complete bliss. And I was good at it! I already had a fairly thorough understanding of garment construction under my belt, so I suppose the silhouette side of things came quite naturally to me. I’ve never followed a knitting pattern, in fact, I’m not even sure I could understand one if I tried. I prefer to experiment. I taught myself the basics from You Tube tutorials and created shapes by experimentation. I tried and failed and tried again. I was never precious about the process as my goal was simply to create for creation’s sake. It was an intuitive journey.
I’ve realised that when you do something you truly love and follow your heart, magic happens. Small scale magic in my case, but magic nonetheless. My goal was never to sell but simply to enjoy myself (I now support myself financially with freelance work – there really is very little money to be made with hand knitting due to high yarn prices and the sheer amount of time it takes to knit a single garment). I sold my first signature pink sweater which I call ‘The Little Cropped one’ to a close friend and wonderful yogi after she saw a photo of me wearing it on my Instagram. After she posted a photo of herself wearing the sweater to her page where she has a relatively large following, I was inundated with messages from others wanting custom made sweaters! I wanted to share the love, and so Aarora was born. Unable to cope with all the orders alone, I involved my mum who quickly became an absolute speedy knitting pro!
When the first lockdown happened back in March 2020 I listened to a podcast where renowned trend forecaster Li Edelkort described the present time as being ‘The Age of The Amateur’. She explained how self-isolation has led to the discovery of individualized creativity. This is defining to our approach. We’re inexperienced. We don’t reeeallly know what we’re doing, but we know why. And that is quite simply because it feels great.