Haïtian-American crochet designer Elisabeth Desamour loves sharing bits and pieces of her home country’s history and culture through her patterns. She uses Haïtian words while sharing their cultural meaning as part of the experience when naming patterns. Her patterns also educate others about Haiti’s rich culture and history.
She is also the co-founder of Radicle Threads Magazine, a new Black, Brown, Indigenous, Melanated People (BBIMP) print and digital publication. Elisabeth talks more about her magazine and why she decided to create a space for BBIMPs.
What is Radical Threads Magazine? Why did you start one? Who is your audience?
Radicle Threads Magazine is for all makers, yarn lovers, the inspiring and lovers of gardening, and also for everyone who loves food. We wanted to create a space where all BBIMPs were welcomed. Our mission is to uplift, amplify, and empower Black Brown Indigenous & Melanated Peoples’ voices and to share BBIMP knowledge, skills, and experiences.
What barriers within the community you’d like to see change for BBIMP crafters?
I would love to see BBIMPs being paid the same wage other members of the community are privy to. Many publications in this industry pay BBIMP less or showcase them and their work as the token BBIMP to show how “woke” they are. Choosing more models that represent the designers would be amazing, and I’m not only talking about skin color here. It’s difficult and rare to see samples on models in magazines that are more than a 32 chest size. This is not a fair representation of the community.
Tell us about BIPOC MAL.
2019 was a roller coaster for the BIPOC/BBIMPs in the fiber community. BIPOC makers spoke out against lack of opportunities, being overlooked, ignored, and treated differently at LYS. As a response, many have created lists and pages to feature Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, but still, I wanted to do something that would help BIPOC designers financially and get more exposure from their community. So I launched the BIPOC Make Along (MAL), a stress-free crochet and knit event for yarn lovers and BIPOC designers supporters. I’ve been running it once, sometimes twice a year. This year will be the fifth BIPOC MAL.
Describe the very first time you did a craft and how you felt afterward.
I’ve always been a crafty person as far as I can remember. Growing up, I dabbled in cross-stitching, needlepoint, crochet, of course, drawing, painting, scrapbooking, and sewing. I grew up around supportive women who were always making things with their hands, so for me, it has always been second nature.
What is your ideal crafting vacation/retreat spot?
A beach with beautiful clear water, green mountains all around me, perfect seventy-degree weather, and unlimited yarn.
What are three words that describe you?
Independent. Resourceful. Supportive.
If there’s one thing you can change, what would it be?
Humanity. I wish people would remember that we’re all passing through on this earth. Enriching ourselves while hurting others isn’t going to help any of us if there’s an afterlife.
Elisabeth Desamour is the designer, content creator, blogger, and all behind Desamour Designs. She was born in the US and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haïti. She learned to crochet at eight years old as a requirement for school. Her crochet garment, accessories, and home decor pattern shop, Desamour Designs, started eight years ago.
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