Work on the next unravel festival begins almost immediately following the close of the show in February. Various bits are always pushed forward, but things really start to seem real when it’s time to work on the illustration to capture the next festival.
We were excited to connect with Annelous Konijnenberg of the Netherlands after our open call to find a designer for our unravel 2021 illustration. We love how this snow globe captures our favourite materials for yarn making while also doubling as a metaphor for a pandemic year that seems to have have had all of us in a bubble.
Tell us about your work as a maker, illustrator and brand designer. How did you get started?
It started with design and has evolved into brand design (the serious branch) and illustration (the fun branch). The approach is similar though; I still try to find an idea that best represents the people or project I work with. Since quitting my agency job in January to do my own design work, I work at a beautiful crafting parlour in The Hague. So, every day of the week I'm surrounded by either fantastic materials and colours and other people's crafting ideas and projects, or my own projects and clients and inspiring ideas that come from that.
How would you describe your style of illustration? Has it evolved over time? In what way?
This is a hard one! My style is still evolving quite a lot, but I'm noticing that I'm getting more and more fond of exaggerated, quick, vivid gestures and shapes.
I'm definitely getting better at simplifying ideas visually. I'm also getting better at deciding that something is finished. That part's always the hardest when you're creating something, and it's interesting to see that as you make more, you become less of a perfectionist. Not in a "this will do" way, but in "a this is the best I could give" way.
Do you have a favourite subject of things you like to capture in your work?
I definitely like drawing characters that are a bit odd. My favourite kind of illustration is the kind that makes me laugh when I'm drawing. If you look at my work you'll see a lot of round and soft shapes. I definitely come back to primary shapes a lot — it's nice to draw a world that's a bit simpler than real life.
In your portfolio you have images related to knitting and sewing. Can you tell us about those? Do you do other types of making in addition to illustration?
I do! I quietly celebrated my second year gone by as a knitter last month. I also sew since January. My first project was a trapeze dress that I wear about once a week. I draw craft-related objects for Cross & Woods, a fabulous crafting parlour in The Hague, where I live. Pauline and Eloïse, the owners, have built such an amazing aesthetic in the shop. The drawings I've made for them are linocut-inspired, and are very much a reference to the amazing tactile qualities of everything in the shop. Making drawings that are related to making is really just the perfect circle :)
As a maker what inspires you to create?
Making is just the most satisfying thing. I'm very lucky to wear several different hats, job-wise, that all relate to different kinds and ways of creating. I firmly believe that humans take most happiness out of creating and discovering things. Being able to make something is such an amazing skill to have. And instead of buying something, the coolest thing for me is that I've made something that just wasn't there before. I still hold up my knitting and exclaim wonder at the fact that it's grown. Making takes you back to a very simple place; something didn't exist at first, and then it existed. That's inspirational to me.
Tell us about your illustration for unravel 2021. How did you come up with the concept? What do you hope people take away from seeing your design?
The fantastic thing about working in a wool and fabric store is that every day, you are surrounded by raw materials that are yet to become something else. I've always loved good tools. Although a big part of a maker's journey is the actual work, another big part of our maker's lives is decorated by the things that we use, collect and love. It's a separate bit of stash that we love to own and bring where we go. To me, the tools and the raw materials are equally inspiring. They both leave so much room for imagination, for projects to be. I wanted to show that abundance, and I'm very glad that the Unravel team chose to go into quite a dream-like direction with the snow globe.
I hope that as makers, you'll see the magic in the artwork, just like you'll continue to see the magic of the amazing skills we have. So it's not nostalgia, and it's not preserving a disappearing set of skills, but it's a celebration of the plenty of choice we're privileged to have.
To see more of Annelous’ work you can check out her Instagram here.