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Rising Stars: Meet Will Chatlosh

Today we’d like to introduce you to Will Chatlosh.  

Hi Will, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I taught myself to crochet at the age of eleven or twelve, using YouTube tutorials to learn. I always say that I cycled through a lot of different crafts in my youth, including drawing, various types of origami, and other, smaller activities. I think that I had seen a crocheted animal design online (possibly on Pinterest) while looking for other craft ideas that really drew my attention. I thought it was so amazing that someone is able to make a cute, three-dimensional stuffed animal using yarn. I had always figured that crochet was for clothing or blankets, but some quick searching opened my eyes to ‘amigurumi’– the Japanese-originating art of crocheting animals. I created a small teddy bear as my first crochet project, following a YouTube video that slowly outlined the steps without requiring reading a pattern. I followed various designers’ crochet patterns for many years before starting to try out my own and experiment more with crochet ideas. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, I had finally got enough time off to experiment with crocheting portraits after following one artist who made somewhat similar portraits on Instagram. I used a color-blocked portrait found on Pinterest as my first reference, and spend the Spring and Summer of 2020 creating my first project. Entering college in Fall 2020, I had the opportunity to create a few smaller portraits as class projects. After starting an Instagram page at the age of 15, I dedicated more and more time to sharing my progression into portrait crochet, which has now led to me creating portraits for Joann Fabrics and to send to exhibitions. I feel like I now have a pretty structured process for creating portraits, and I just keep having ideas for more. I’ve never been more excited for what is to come! 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I think that many of my challenges have closely followed just growing up and moving towards adulthood. When I first started to crochet, I was doing it specifically because I loved the product and the process, but did not have any intention of doing anything with it. There has always been pressure to sell what I have made and make work more for others than myself, which I didn’t like at all. At the time of only crocheting animals and toys, I felt a lot differently about crochet than I do now. My primary work now is portraiture, and I very much do still do it primarily for myself. I feel like I pour everything into each of my pieces, spending so much time on each. However, I am now in a position where I want to transform this into something I can see myself doing in the future, I’m just not entirely sure how yet! 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Although crochet is my main passion, I am a full-time college student as well, studying Fashion Design. I hope that my future holds a mixture of the two, if not just creating crocheted works of art. I spend most of my free time crocheting portraits now, starting from a reference and doing some editing and mapping out the face. I then use shades of yarn to create faces that have spanned from 1.5 to roughly 5 feet in length, starting with a small shape and continuously adding to it until I have a finished crochet portrait. Growing up, I was always embarrassed to be a teenage boy whose hobby was crochet instead of baseball or football. I am most proud now to say that I am confident in the work I create, and I feel as though I am always happy to share what I do now. Overall, I am most proud of where I am at in general now, with a community I have built on social media after years of dedication as well as a style of crochet that most people have never seen before. 

Any big plans?
My plans for the future are to keep crocheting! I do not really have any headset plans, but I am very optimistic because I am really happy with how far I’ve come just in the last few years. In the near future, I have four more portraits planned and hope to continue to dedicate more of my time to social media. I plan to continue to experiment with crochet by combining various types of yarn, trying out different sizes, becoming more stylistic, and more crochet-related fashion or three-dimensional sculpture. Wherever I end up, I know that I will still be crocheting! 

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Will Chatlosh

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