A serious injury led Dr Susan Walsh of Bedford-Dianella Vet Centre in WA to re-think her priorities and embrace the art of crochet.
“About eight years ago when I was employed full-time at another practice, I was working long hours and suffered an overuse injury. It was very scary as I lost the use of my left arm. It took a year to rehabilitate my arm back to normal and afterwards I decided to make a lifestyle change.
“When I was a child, my grandmother taught me to crochet, my mother taught me how to sew and knit, and my father taught me how to draw. After my injury, I reduced my hours and started drawing portraits of dogs and cats. I also explored stitching art quilts and felting. It was around this time that my grandmother died and as a way of processing my grief, I found myself returning to crochet.
“Grandma had only taught me a few basic stitches but when studying for an International Diploma of Crochet, I discovered many crochet techniques such as Tunisian crochet, Bruges lace, broomstick lace, clones lace, crochet braiding, edgings and button-making, three-dimensional sculptural forms and the basics of crochet garment design.
I found the process therapeutic and totally addictive. Crochet can be used to create anything—granny squares and doilies represent only a tiny fraction of what’s possible!
“I have submitted a number of original garments to the Crochet Guild of America Design Competition over the past four years and have won a couple of prizes. The editor of the American magazine Crochet! admired a tunic I had submitted called ‘Tunica Geometrica’ and wanted to publish it. I wrote and sized the pattern and was proud to see it published not only in the magazine, but also on the cover!
“Being creative makes me feel connected to my family and the things I loved about my childhood. Crochet is now part of my everyday life and I always have multiple projects on the go. I might only crochet for half an hour before work or an hour after work but I have to do it or I start to get a bit edgy.
“My mission is to design fashionable crochet accessories and garments that drape well, so people want to make and wear them. I still draw pet portraits, and both hobbies, though very labour-intensive, are calming and therapeutic. I work three-quarter time now and really feel that I have a good balance between work and creative pursuits.”