Our Story

Hi! Thank you for visiting my website, where you can buy my handmade bags and other knitting/crochet-related products.

I hope what I create, share, and sell on this website can connect people, spread love, and share joy.

[My long story and the story behind Joyance]

 

I am Valerie, the maker behind Joyance Fibre Arts and a British student working on a Master's degree in Dutch Art History at the Utrecht University. I grew up in Hong Kong and moved to the Netherlands about 4 years ago.

 

I like to call myself the fussy knitter or the pattern hacker because I am pretty fussy about my knitting (even though I only wear my hand-knits occasionally). Once in a while, I immerse myself in finding alternative ways to complicate my knitting even further.

 

My teenage years and my early 20s were all about music and music education. I am classically trained and I play 7 instruments. In 2014, I quit the job (giving musical instrument classes) I had been doing for 10 years. I was depressed at the time ... people in Hong Kong would almost never consider situations like that a 'burnout', but now I know I probably had a burnout.

With more time to spare, I started knitting. Needless to say, knitting played a tremendously important role in my recovery. I later decided that Hong Kong was no longer the city for me, so I left and moved to the Netherlands in 2015. 

 

Even though life in Hong Kong was uninspiring and stressful, I enjoyed giving lessons to students of all ages. 

Nowadays, I knit, I sew, and I watch football and documentaries in my spare time; I still play the keyboard, the flute, the saxophone, and the trumpet for fun.

In spring 2017, I felt a bit depressed again after an internship (it has nothing to do with the internship though, it was so much fun!). I wanted to try something new to cheer myself up and started experimenting with printing and dyeing sock blanks. 

 

In July 2017, I founded Joyance Fibre Arts and began selling hand crafted sock blanks on Etsy [https://www.etsy.com/shop/JoyanceFibreArts]See the product highlights and a time-lapse video showing part of the production process alongside the old logo at the end of this introduction. 

Why 'Joyance'?

 

One of the first pieces I played when I first joined the school's wind band at the age of 12 was Joyance by Bruce Pearson. That piece saw the beginning of my 'musical career', and I thought, 'why not use it as the name of the shop to mark the start of my crafting career?'

Unfortunately, the shop, the production, and my study were all put on hold in spring 2018 when my mum was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. I stayed with her in England until she passed away in August later that year.

It is always good to have some distraction while trying to get through though times, so I started sewing. I was taught how to use a sewing machine when I was in secondary school. We had home economics classes back then and we had to do both cookery and needlework.

 

When was the last time I used a sewing machine? Over 14 years ago I believe! I threaded my mum's machine and started making some simple drawstring bags. I got hooked and I started experimenting with different bag constructions ...

 

Soon after, the Singlet was born!

Since then, I have got another 2 sewing machines and an overlocker, moved from Amsterdam back to Utrecht, and resumed school ...

I thought it was time to relaunch Joyance and decided to leave Etsy, a popular platform that lacks a bit of ... character, shall we say?

 

I wanted Joyance to have a little bit more personality.

When I designed the old Joyance logo, I had a smiling knitting grandma who wears a monocle in mind, a crafty grandma I wish I had. It was all about putting a smile on someone else's face with what I make.

 

I have changed a lot since then especially after my mother passed away ... so I re-designed the logo and came up a new slogan: 

Create - Connect - Collaborate

I believe in the power of arts and crafts. I met almost all my local friends, who have always been supportive, caring, and inspiring, through knitting. I think knitting and crochet can knit and knot us together.

I hope what I create, share, and sell on this website can connect people, spread love, and share joy.

 

In the ideal world, one day, we will all respect and embrace diversity.

The internet allows us to connect with people around the world, but in my opinion, meeting someone is real life is always different and special. I am always excited when I meet my online knitting friends IRL! 

 

So, let me know if you fancy a meet-up next time when you are in the Netherlands!

Until then, happy crafting!

Painting the background of a sockblank

Joyance Fibre Arts
Create | Connect | Collaborate

Based in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

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