These beautiful crochet mandalas come to the Mandalas for Marinke project from Kate Graff, an amateur crochet designer based out of Columbus, Ohio, who is known as GrafficDesigns on Instagram, Facebook, and Ravelry. She walks while crocheting and walked a total of five miles while crafting for this project.
Kate shares about herself on her blog bio:
“I am a crafting nerd at heart, I paint, sculpt, write, draw and dabble in all sorts of other art-outlets. You can find me in any aisle of Michaels. I upload frequently to my instagram account of my exploits in art, I have most of my WIP stuff there, as well as my random encounters with the outside world.
I also enjoy some of the more finer things in life such as board games, wine, graphic novels, Microsoft Excel (neeeeeeeerd), videogames, rpgs, D&D, wine, Doctor Who, Terry Pratchett Discworld Novels, wine, RomComs and did I mention wine?”
And we learn from Ravelry,
“I began my love of crocheting with my Aunt who patiently taught me the basics when I was 14. I have had periods of time-off from my crochet habits, but I have steadily come back to the art of crafting.”
“Reading Wink’s story inspires me to reach out more in my community. Not only for my own sake but to find the best in people. I was inspired to crochet these mandalas while walking around my neighborhood (yes, at the same time). I also participated in an Autism Speaks community event, in memory of Wink.
Learn more on Kate’s blog
Depression is a close friend to me – it’s in my family and friends. It is a debilitating mental issue that definitely gets the short end of the stick. Thank you for bringing mental health into the limelight; it definitely needs the public awareness.”
And I say back, thank you, to Kate and each of you who has participated in Mandalas for Marinke, for creating the work that is at the heart of this project.
I also wanted to share this excerpt from a touching, authentic blog post Kate shared last fall:
“I look at other people’s crafting blogs and notice a trend. Some of the most elegant crafters have an underlying current of sorrow, discord, or tragedy in their lives. I think I find some comfort that I’m not alone in that fact. Someone who once told me in my depression that I shouldn’t be sad because other people have a harder life. I had a rough time with that one—my personal hardships shouldn’t be compared with others. It’s like saying I shouldn’t be happy because other people have it better. It’s not that I don’t count my blessings, because I do. I know I haven’t had the hardest life. I’ve had a lot of opportunities that many have not, and generally do not have a hard-time. I’ve been lucky to have a job I can tolerate at most times, a loving boyfriend, a roof over my head. But I get bogged down in the details. Sometimes there are days where it overwhelms me and it feels like I can’t get above water.”
Shame on anyone who diminishes someone’s feelings of depression … or even their feeling that they’re just having a crappy day. Maybe someone else has it worse from some objective measure but from inside of depression there is no way to compare the pain. And let me tell you, most people with depression that I know already feel bad about how bad they’re feeling; saying that they shouldn’t feel that way just makes it worse. Good for you, Kate, for realizing that this person was wrong in what they said and that you’re own experience is what it is and must be validated as such. We’ve been there. <3
Note: I’ve been meaning to add this note for awhile. It’s been pointed out to me by several fabulous detail-oriented people that I sometimes show the “wrong side” of the work in these posts. I apologize for that. The truth is that although I love the visuals of crochet, I’m just not a visual person in the sense of details, and even after all of these years, I still can’t always tell the difference between “right side” and “wrong side” stitches. I know how you’re supposed to be able to tell; I just can’t always see it. In fact, I usually can’t see it and have to guess, even when I’m relatively familiar with the pattern. I just accept this about myself and I hope that you can as well. Personally, I’ve never really seen a right/wrong side … I know what it means but I just think both sides of the work are equally beautiful. I especially love the “wrong side” of crocodile stitch crochet, which you almost never see!