Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Interview Series: Diana Rivera from Arte y Poemas

Today’s interview is with fellow New Yorker, Diana Rivera.  Diana is not only a crochet and knitting designer and yarnie, but also a mixed media artist and poet.  You may also know her as Craftaholic or Arte y Poemas.

Diana can be found online on her website and blog, Arte y Poemas.  She’s also on Ravelry (as TheCraftaholic or on her designer page), has shops on Etsy and society6, and has a presence on FacebookFlickrTwitter, and Pinterest.

All photos are (c) Diana Rivera/Arte y Poemas and are used with permission.  Click the photos to link to patterns or yarn listings.


Diana Rivera.
Diana Rivera.


Underground Crafter (UC): How did you learn to crochet and knit?
Diana: I learned to knit through my musician friend, Bliss Blood. She tried to teach me to knit, and I got as far as the knit stitch. I eventually taught myself the purl stitch through the help of KnittingHelp.com.
The New Yorker Cowl knitting pattern.
UC: How did you start dyeing and spinning yarn?
Diana: I started dyeing yarn soon after I learned to crochet. I would buy plain cotton or wool yarn and experiment with Kool Aid and RIT. I started spinning about a year ago, when I got my spinning wheel.
Dante’s Inferno, handspun wool yarn.
UC: What inspired you to start designing and to launch your own line of art yarns?
Diana: Well, it truly came out of necessity, haha! I had to start selling some of it, since I really am spinning yarn on an almost daily basis. You should see my stash. Yikes!
The Gibson, hand spun and hand dyed alpaca and wool blend yarn, inspired by the ’80s and Debbie Gibson.
UC: What’s your cultural background?  What was the yarn crafts scene within your family like when you were growing up?
Diana: My father was born and raised in Isabella, Puerto Rico, and my mother was born and raised Bogota, Colombia.
I wasn’t really exposed to very much art or creativity growing up. Actually in my family, I am the only artist. My grandfather was a writer, but that is as creative as they got, aside from the occasional needlepoint that my grandmother did. She taught me embroidery from a young age.
The Dawn Treader Capelet, a crochet pattern.
UC: How does that compare with today?
Diana: Well, today, most of the people I know are creative in one way or another. In fact, even men I date are in one way or another, creative. It’s important to me that I surround myself with creative people, as it helps the creative muse inside me to grow and flourish.
La Sirena, hand dyed and hand spun bamboo yarn.
UC: You’re currently living in Brooklyn, NY, my home town.  Did you grow up there or are you a transplant?
Diana: I was born and raised in Plainfield, NJ. I love Brooklyn. From the time I was a little girl, I wanted to come to the five boroughs, and here I am.
The Color of Autumn, hand spun merino wool yarn.
UC: What do you think of the current fiber arts scene in Brooklyn?
Diana: Well, the truth is, there are creative people everywhere in New York. There are crochet and knitting groups anywhere you go, and for almost every Brooklyn neighborhood. I love that the city I live in is surrounded by creative people. My experience with knitting groups is that there is a sort of camaraderie that from the first moment you visit a group, you’ve got best friends for life.
Lacy Mohair Cowl, a knitting pattern.
UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?
Diana: Not really. As I mentioned, no one in my family is creative at all except me, and my grandparents who have long sinced passed away. Many Latinos I know locally are creative, but I think creativity surrpasses ethnicity. You can’t put art in a box that way.
UC: How can we find your work online?
Diana: I do have a blog, and it’s Arte y Poemas.  I blog in both Spanish and English, but mostly English. It’s mostly about my art and poetry, though I do post the occasional craft project.
I have an Etsy store with some art and my hand spun yarns. (I also accept custom work, if anyone wants a specific shade of yarn, etc.).  And a society6 store, where people can purchase prints of my work.
Thanks for stopping by, Diana!  And I can relate to the overflowing stash problem!


The next interview in the series will be posted on October 7 with Teresa Alvarez.

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