Anna Hrachovec is an amazing designer who shows us how imaginative and playful knitting can be. Her adorable characters and delightful, quirky creations are sure to make you smile. Today, we’re excited to feature a Q&A with Anna herself on our blog along with a fabulous giveaway of her book Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi. Leave a comment below for a chance to win!
How did you become a toy designer and fiber artist?
It happened pretty much by accident! I didn’t have a background in art or design, but I was an avid knitter who got bored of knitting the usual stuff, like scarves and hats. I tried my hand at designing some knitted toys as gifts for friends, and I was instantly addicted to knitting cute little characters. Making a career out of it was all thanks to the internet—that’s how I found knitters from all over who shared my passion for cute toys and wanted patterns for my designs. The more large-scale and experimental projects that I do—the art installations and animations—is how I keep myself inspired and always trying new things.
Where do you find the inspiration for your knitted characters?
My inspiration comes from everywhere—cartoons, urban myths, rhymes and puns, and artists like Dr. Seuss and Mary Blair. I’m also hugely inspired by character designs from Japan, like Hello Kitty, Katamari Damacy, Kogepan, and the animations of Miyazaki Hayao.
The tagline on your website Mochimochi Land is “Let’s make happy.” Does that sum up your mentality as a designer?
I want my toys to be things that people instantly fall in love with when they see them. And when someone has just finished knitting their own toy from one of my patterns, I hope they experience it like I do: the creature that you made is looking back at you, and it’s a moment of pure joy. You can’t wait to show it to everyone and see the smiles!
What does a typical day look like for you?
I can’t sit still for too long, so I try to mix it up and use different parts of my brain throughout the day. So I might start the day knitting little creatures for an art piece, then I’ll blog and check in with social media, then move on to editing patterns, then pack up a wholesale order, then end the day by working on an animation concept.
Tell us one of the highlights of your career so far.
In 2011 I had the opportunity to have a solo show at a small gallery in Berlin. I made an installation of big knitted anthropomorphic planets, each of which had little aliens living on it. It’s cool enough having a bunch of people come look at my knitted weirdness, but to have it be in a different part of the world and hear the happy noises in another language was so exciting for me.
About the author: Anna Hrachovec is a Brooklyn-based designer and artist who combines her passions for knitting and Japanese-influenced character design to create unusual toys that all ages can get excited about. When she’s not designing patterns to share with her fellow knitters, she is creating character-based art pieces, installations, and animations, which have been exhibited around the world. She has written three books of patterns for knitted toys, the newest of which is Super-Scary Mochimochi.
For a chance to win a copy of Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi, leave a comment below! We’ll select a winner on Friday, March 1st.