Interview with John Brinegar Part 1


John Brinegar is a completely self-taught designer. His designs evoke nature, music and dramatic glamour. His 10 piece Acros collection for Tahki/Stacey Charles debuted in Fall/Winter 2014. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqu1hOViPTc[/embed] John will be in NYC, teaching at Vogue Knitting Live this month, he is a frequent contributor to various knitting magazines and has this stunning scarf published in the Winter 2014/2015 Vogue Knitting Magazine. John Brinegar Vogue Knitting 2014/2015 This interview has been edited for length and will be published in two parts. The second half appearing to coincide with John’s Fine Art Show: “I would Never Wear That” at Cooney Fine Art in March 2015. I read that you studied Fine Arts at the Herron School of Arts and Design. What was your focus of study?

I studied painting, drawing, color theory and sculpture. I had a strong affinity for color theory though, and my professor was one of those people you never forget. She was so meticulous about color and she didn’t let me slide one bit. She brought out my best work and really made me grateful to have that kind of focus.

I know you have been a crocheter and knitter since you were a teenager, tell us a little about your transition from knitter to pattern designer.

I think at some point it was just a decision I made because I get bored easily. I am always looking for the “what else can we do” moment, and I think that’s one of the foundation ideas or working mode that drives my practice. I’m constantly looking to evolve and try new things, and not in a Madonna way, but I try to let go of fear as much as I can and move forward. This is an interesting question though, one I’ve not often considered, but yes I guess I did transition at some point! I think a key moment for me was when I realized I could construct things myself out of yarn and not just follow someone else’s instructions. I’m very interested in the architecture of knitting, and in how things are put together in general.

How did your 10 piece ACROS collection and collaboration with Tahki/Stacy Charles come about?

I’ve worked with Stacy for several years, and I already had a great love of his products. It started with an idea, a date for coffee with Stacy, and I pitched my project. I watch a lot of catwalk footage and fashion week shows, and I really wanted to create a collection that showed what else yarn could be within the hand knitting community.   I thought you know, the fashion world has couture shows, why can’t we? So we filmed a video, I had a great crew and I was really happy with the product. Some garments were made intentionally without patterns, because I feel that’s my job as a designer to not only make wearable things people want to make, but also inspire people.

What parameters were you given when you went to design the collection? Did you get to choose your yarns or were there particular yarns they wanted to highlight? Stacy was very generous, and let me have complete artistic control. It’s part of the beauty of working with someone and having a rapport, I think he’s started to trust me, and really just wanted to see what I would do. I hope I didn’t disappoint him!! How long did the collection take from conception to completion? How many yarns did you use? When will all the patterns be released?

The collection took about a year from the time we got really serious about choosing yarns and finalizing details to the filming. Then the editing took another month or so. The patterns will be released gradually, there are 2 on Ravelry as single patterns from me directly (the two cowls), and 2 of the patterns were featured in the Fall, 2014 issue of knit.purl (Interweave).

How much teaching do you do in a year? Do you mainly focus on finishing techniques when you do teach?

Teaching is one of my passions. I’m really grateful to have a full-time job on top of my creative life, because it allows me to teach just enough. I’m on the Vogue Knitting Live! circuit, and have done every one of those since it began in NYC. I also teach at yarn stores around the country, and love when I get invited.

What else should be looking for from you? What will 2015 bring? Where will you be published?

My 2015 will be really exciting. I just started a new small collection called “Cable Guys, vol.1: Cozy Knits for Modern Men”. It’s a 10-piece collection entirely made with cables for men. There is a lack of patterns for men, partly because the market share isn’t there, but I have convinced 10 companies to agree that this book is a good idea, so… we’ll see.

For more on John Brinegar, click here to visit his blog.

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