A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Laura Stubbs, the mastermind behind Thirty Seven Stars Crochet, at ConCarolinas. I fell in love with Laura’s beautiful and fun nerd-themed crochet work and asked her for an interview. Laura graciously consented to me pummeling her with business questions and some fun non-sequiturs. Here’s the full text of our interview.
Ash: How long have you been crocheting for fun and for hire (respectively)?
Laura: I started crocheting just over four years ago. My senior year of college I needed something to fidget with so I decided to make a blanket. That took way too long so I started learning how to make the smaller stuffed animals. Then about two years ago I started working making commissioned pieces and selling them to people that I knew, and then about 8 months ago I quit my job to focus on it full time.
Ash: Do you do other yarn/string/knitting crafts?
Laura: I wish that I could knit, or weave, and maybe one day I’ll get to it, but for now it is pretty much crochet, and the occasional string art piece where I get to get out my frustration by hammering nails into boards.
Ash: Thirty Seven Stars is such a unique name. How did you come up with the name?
Laura: Thirty Seven is a number that came to represent the friends and family that supported me while I was going through a pretty rough transitional time that included not having any idea what I was doing with my life and quitting smoking. Those people and crochet were what started to pull me through it, and while the number of people in the group has changed, thirty seven has remained significant to me and a constant reminder of where I came from and that others helped to get me where I am. Also I like stars.
Ash: What made you decide that you could do your crochet work for more than just your own personal enjoyment?
Laura: Needing to pay the rent was a big factor. Also realizing that there was a market for toys people couldn’t get anywhere else, I could make an obscure pokémon for someone or a cuddly hookah, the possibilities were endless and each piece was one of a kind and people love that.
Ash: You make numerous nerd culture inspired pieces. Which is your most popular piece?
Laura: With kids, the minions from Despicable Me are the biggest thing, and Baymax from Big Hero 6 is getting up there. With the older crowd Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy and Louise from Bob’s Burgers.
Ash: What is the most challenging piece you’ve ever created?
Laura: I had a commission for an almost life sized Needler from Halo. That was pretty tough.
Ashley: When people contact you for custom pieces, what information do you require of them? Do they need to get really specific or do they tell you a rough idea to get you started?
Laura: I need a price range and a deadline, and I can work anything into that. If they have a picture of what they want, it helps a lot. I’ll usually ask questions about how they feel about textures, colors, and size. I really like just being able to go with it and do it in my style though.
Ash: What has been the most fun piece you’ve created for yourself? For a client?
Laura: My favorite for me was probably my vices set where I made a pack of cigarettes, a hookah, and a bottle of pills. I love making cute versions of adultier things. I get a ton of strange and awesome requests but really loved getting to make Strongbad and Homestar Runner for a client.
Ash: I absolutely loved your Nyan Cat cosplay at ConCarolinas. Is that something you made for fun or can people order one of their own?
Laura: The Nyan Cat costume was made for Dragon Con several years ago, and I like to still break it out and wear it around. If someone wanted to order one they certainly could but it would be pretty pricey.
Ash: What would you say to someone who would like to make their own art into a business?
Laura: Give it a shot. You really never know if something will work out until you try it, and it can take you some really amazing places.
Ash: Favorite film of all time?
Laura: This might be the hardest question you could ever ask me. Since I spend so much time sitting and watching Netflix while working, there are just so many possibilities. I might just have to go with the easy way out with Pirates of the Caribbean because I saw it 11 times in theaters. But I feel like I am doing so many great movies a disservice.
Ash: If you couldn’t crochet any more and could do anything in the world for work, what would you do?
Laura: I would love to own a bar and bakery. Likely with dessert flavored drinks, and drink flavored desserts.
Ash: Favorite superhero?
Laura: Baymax quickly jumped the line after Big Hero 6 came out. He’s my spirit animal.
Ash: If you could add wings to any animal that does not currently have them, which animal would it be and why? Would you ride this animal into battle?
Laura: A hedgehog. Because the only thing that could be more adorable than a hedgehog would be a flying hedgehog. Though I don’t think it would be particularly useful in battle.
Ash: If you could live in any television show, which would it be and why?
Laura: Either Doctor Who because time travel and aliens would be an awesome adventure, or Bob’s Burgers because hamburgers are delicious and everyone is hilarious.
Ash: Favorite book?
Laura: The Old Kingdom Trilogy- Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen by Garth Nix.
Ash: Best candy?
Laura: Sour Patch Kids
Ash: What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
Laura: I was given an offer to live rent free for almost a year in exchange for caring for the neighborhood stray cats. I accepted that offer, and had a wonderful time with a rotating cast of adorable animals.
Thank you so much to Thirty Seven Stars for sitting down with me! If you live in the Charlotte, NC and Durham, NC areas, you can see Laura’s work live and in person. Here are her upcoming events:
- She’ll be at CLTure Fest in Charlotte, NC – June 27, 2015. That’s this Saturday!
- Laura’s work can regularly be found in Charlotte at NoDa Eclectic Marketplace behind Smelly Cat Coffeehouse.
- You can also find her work regularly at Hunt Street Market in Durham, NC.
Until next time, stay tuned here for more fun and nerdy things!