Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).
Hello! My name is Aimee Knerr. I currently live in Princeton, NJ with my sweetheart-husband, Chris and our 2 little children. The story of my life in brief: I had a very creative 70’s childhood that included stints on a simple hippy commune as well as living in suburban Philly. I met my sweetheart at age 16 in high school and we had various adventures in many places together for 15 years before we got married in Hawaii and started our family. My little company, Pancake and Lulu, is named for my 6-year-old son Spencer and my daughter, Chloe, who is almost 4. When Spencer first learned to talk, he called himself “Penkey”, which sounded like “Pancake” and this nick-name stuck (at least at home!). Chloe, aka Lulu, used to love for my husband to sing her to sleep with a little song when she was about a month old. It went like this: “Lu lu lu lu lu luuuuu luuuu”.
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
I have always considered myself an artist. I remember mixing colors with a toy I had as an infant. It consisted of 3 thick sheets of colored plexiglas, one red, one blue, one yellow. I could slide one color over another to make the secondary colors and I can remember looking through this at light and being totally fascinated. My mom says I was about 2. Not really something made by hand, but anyway…
I also remember a painting I made of a house in a yard (I was probably about 5). My mom hung it up in our house. I would just gaze at it and I felt pure pride. It was really elaborate and had lots of details (for which I naturally provided a thorough explanation to anyone who may have asked).
One thing I have learned about making things: don’t be afraid to break the rules. If you are wondering if something may work but the rule is “don’t”, then try it! I have found that it often will work and then you are really innovating and finding a new way. This can really open up whole new worlds in creating.
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
I am fascinated by the combination of intention and randomness. When I work I like to combine my attempt to achieve a specific thing (whatever idea or color scheme I may think of that day) with whatever may happen by accident. What I enjoy about the type of spinning I do is watching this dynamic unfold: the interplay between my intention and what may randomly happen. When I paint wool, I love to grab my favorite colors and then just pick some “blind”. I mix these in spots to create totally random colors. When I then spin up the wool, I love to add other “complex” yarns and fibers which create another layer of intention and chance combinations with more color and texture.
I am also equally inspired by the Natural World and Art. Everything in the Natural World is amazing. A few specific favorite Artists are: Kandinsky, Klee, Monet and Van Gogh. Of course, I am also inspired by the multitude of amazing fiber artists out there. And I can be often be stopped dead in my tracks by an incredible photo, building, pair of shoes, graffiti…I could go on and on.
What are your favorite materials?
Right now it is merino wool, silk, mohair, camel hair, angora, soy silk, alpaca…and there are so many more fibers to explore. And obviously, I love dye!
What have been the most valuable lessons learned from other artists on Etsy?
I think the most valuable thing I have learned is to just do what you love and if it doesn’t catch on right away to just keep experimenting. That is the important thing: keep experimenting. Of course there are also many helpful tips on selling here in the forums, as well.
Why should people buy handmade?
Buying handmade keeps the world human. It allows the artist to live their dream and it allows the buyer to have something unique,
beautiful, and intrinsically special. It is a simple, easy way to make the world a much better place for all.
What features/services would you most like to see on Etsy?
I just love Etsy. I am so grateful for the creation and continued building of this place. If Etsy had a “Voice of Reason” feature that would tell me to get back to work after spending too long in the Forum or Treasury–that would be most helpful to me!
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I think I pretty much create things constantly, especially if you include caring for small children as “creating”. It sort of is, because I am trying to create a more “gentle” childhood for them by limiting exposure to media and commercialism. They are in a Waldorf kindergarten. We don’t have a TV. We do a lot of free play. The other day one of my kids saw a McDonalds by the road and said “Oh look, there is the bathroom store!” That made me really happy. My kids are my big “work-in-progress”.
Read any good books lately?
The Elephant Vanishes and After the Quake by Haruki Murakami
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman (read twice in the last 2 years–it is that good)
The Adirondacks: A History of America’s First Wilderness by Paul Schneider
And of course, many kid’s books, including:
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Jenny Linsky Books by Esther Averill
The Mary Poppins Books (WAY different/better than the Disney movie) by P.L. Travers
In ten years I’d like to be…
Healthy, wealthy and wise. Guess I should try to get to bed earlier…
I would love to achieve a mostly self-sufficient life. With a big garden, chicken coop, a pantry full of preserves, a pasture of sheep and goats, and a studio stuffed with fiber!