Als ich in Buenos Aires war, habe ich Yanina Schenkel kennengelernt und mich in ihre wundervollen Häkel-Tierchen verliebt. Mein Kaufrausch war so groß und meine Zeit so knapp, dass Yanina morgens um 5 Uhr aufstehen musste, um meine Bestellung fertig zu häkeln. Letztlich habe ich 4 Tierchen gekauft und zwar vorsichtshalber jeweils 2 gleiche, damit ich es auch wirklich schaffe, 2 davon zu verschenken (bisher habe ich mich noch nicht überwunden). Ein Affe und ein Fuchs wachen jetzt brav über meinem neu eingerichteten Arbeitsplatz und beschützen mich.
Hier meine Fragen an Yanina:
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Yanina Schenkel, I´m from Buenos Aires, Argentina and I´m 30 years old. Mother of an awesome 9 years old boy, I live with my boyfriend, my cat and my dog. I´ve studied many things, like Graphic and Industrial design, anthropology, Portuguese and Arts. But I´ve never finished. Now I´m planing to study Comics Design (yes, I didn´t know that such a career could exist, but it does, and I´m so happy!). I don´t know if I´m going to finally finish a career, but I will try. I worked as a Portuguese teacher for many years, but now I´m a full time crochet artist. I think that job doesn´t exist.
What does Pica-Pau mean and how did you find the name?
When I started selling my creatures, my brother (he is a graphic designer) thought it would be a great idea to have a company name, or nickname, something like that. Because I didn´t want to do only crocheted animals, I looked for a name that didn´t contain the word “amigurumi”. I also didn´t want a Spanish or English name, so I decided that it had to be a Portuguese word (because of my brazilian family, and because I love the sound of that language). When I was a child, my mother used to told me about a Brazilian story called “O sitio do Picapau amarelo” (something like “The Yellow Woodpecker Ranch”), where all the childstories´s characters lived together, and I loved that story. So it became Pica-Pau (woodpecker), a lot of characters living in the same place, my house.
How did you get involved in crocheting? How did you get the idea?
I started crocheting and knitting when I was a child, but it was not until I had my baby that I started to knit almost every day. A year ago, in between my studies ( I had plenty of spare time because I quit my job as a Portuguese teacher) I began to look for something to do: I had some yarn, a 3 mm hook and a lot of little animal drawings. I didn´t know that existed such things as „amigurumis“, I thought I was creating something new, hahaha… I was so wrong. I looked for some pattern ideas at the internet to help with my first steps and I found thousands of girls that were doing this crocheted animals. Some were really cute. But I don´t like to copy, well, I try not to copy, so I began to write my own patterns from my drawings.
How many animals have you sold so far?
Until today, more than 120. At first to my friends and family, but then I took courage and sent some pictures to a lot of shops. The only one that answered was Tienda Palacio. Now I´m selling my creatures to 3 shops here at Buenos Aires, one shop at México City and my patterns at etsy
What is your favorite product that you sell at the moment?
Oh! That´s like choosing within your babies… but I have my favorites: I love my last animals, the ones I crocheted in one piece, like Jacques the monkey, Lucas the red fox, or the last one I made (it´s a little more tiny) Casius, a white cat (I love cat´s faces)
Do you have plans to do other crafting things than crocheting?
I would love to do some sewing, but I don´t have the patience. I go crazy for fabrics, yarns, papers, pencils and that kind of stuff. I really would love to do everything. It´s a pity that I don´t have the money and the time. If I manage to be a little more organized, I would like to create something like a crafts group, with illustrators, designers, etc.
At the moment, I´m trying to get some help with my crochetting, but it´s very hard to find persons who want to spend so many time doing this kind of job. For almost every people I know, this is not a real job. And not only for the knitting, drawing or doing whatever thing that is not productive, as they say, it´s a waste of time. It is really sad.
What is your tip for DIY-Youngsters?
Try everything. Believe in what you do. Don´t be afraid on starting something new if you don´t l like what you are doing. Learn everything you can. Don´t be afraid on sharing it with the world (that was the most difficult thing for me to do). Use the internet, it ´s an excellent toll to find, sell, being known, get to know people. But go for the streets to!!! Always see what is going on, probably you are not the only one that is doing that, but you always can make a difference in terms of quality, originality, or simply doing it with lots of love. You can really see the difference.
What is your source of inspiration?
I love cartoons, I´ve always wanted to be an illustrator, but I think I´m not so good (It´s silly, but I don´t like to color my draws, so I never finish them). I adore children books, specially the old ones. I have many of 60’s and 70’s illustration books, and all my childhood story books. Every time I´m a little bit lock, I have to go for them. When I´m inspired, I like to draw too. I also use the internet, it´s a useful source of inspiration, but I really prefer the smell of books, touching the paper, the prints…yes, I´m kind of crazy.
Whats your future plan?
I would love to get in touch with people who do different stuff, like design, illustration, etc. I really want to give a try on illustrate children´s book, but I don´t have the time now. Perhaps in a couple of years … Now I´m trying to be a little less shy, trying to believe in what I do and show it to the world. This interview is a huge step for me.
What project would you realize if money didnt matter?
Oh, so many things. I probably would travel a lot, see different cultures (my anthropologist side), and draw all that I see. I also would love to do animations, like “The fantastic Mr Fox” or “Coraline” (I am big fan of stop motion animations). I´m going for that.
PS: Leider gibt es für Yaninas Tierchen nur die Häkel-Muster bei etsy zu kaufen, weil in Argentinien der Postversand so teuer ist. Aber vielleicht könnt Ihr Yanina ja per E‑Mail überzeugen, Euch doch ein Figürchen zu verkaufen, wenn Ihr zu faul seid, selber zu häkeln.
Anna aus Berlin