Interview with Karida Collins of Neighborhood Fiber Co

Happy Friday, Pom Pals! Recently, we had the chance to chat all things colourways with Karida Collins, founder of Neighborhood Fiber Co! Over the years, we've been lucky enough to use NFC yarn in many of our samples, including Leonora (pictured at the foot of this post), the pattern for which is published in our most recent issue. We invite you to make your drink of choice and enjoy the interview!  

We love how your colourways are inspired by urban landscapes and artists! Did the pandemic prompt you to explore more thoroughly the hues local to you, and search for more Washington and Baltimore-based artists?

The pandemic definitely made me think more about local landscapes. I spent most of summer 2020 in particular sitting on my deck and tending my garden. I actually grew some dye plants as an experiment.

We’re so curious about your process! Do you take photos of different neighbourhoods and use the colour references in the images to create colourways, or is the process more holistic?

It really depends on the color. Sometimes I come up with the color first, and sometimes I develop colors based on the character or feel of a neighborhood. Some colors remind me of certain people, and the neighborhood names are inspired by that person.

Your brand is so intricately tied to a sense of place. Do you have a dream destination you’d like to visit to create a colourway inspired by that location?

I love the ocean, and would love to develop colors based on visiting coral reefs around the world.

In your interview on Episode 59 of Pomcast back in 2019, you mentioned that, as a Black yarn dyer, your presence is political. How has your perception of this shifted in the following 2-3 years, if at all?

I still feel like my presence is political, partly because I’m so well established. I’ve been using NFC as a vehicle for activism for so long, it’s inextricable from the brand.

Although hand-dyed yarn is considered a luxury item, do you think people’s perception of this changed during the pandemic when crafts were a vital source of escapism?

I think that hand dyed yarn was still a luxury item, but without vacations and traditional socializing, it became a kind of essential luxury. That and sourdough bread, haha.

What’s on the horizon for yourself and NFC? 

We’re working on relocating the business into a new building that will give us more room for production, as well as community workshops. It’s also enough room for us to invite a nonprofit org, Baltimore Youth Arts, to join us as subtenants. Overall, it should be a great resource for the fiber arts community in Baltimore and beyond. We’re raising money for the buildout (construction during the pandemic is insane!). Check out our gofundme for more info and to donate. 

Thank you, Karida! If you'd like to listen to the episode of Pomcast featuring Karida, you can do so here

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