It’s hard to imagine that a weave once reserved for our grandmother’s cardigans and bed throws would become this summer’s next big trend, but crochet is making its way into our wardrobes as balaclavas, bucket hats, jumpers and more, one slip stitch at a time. It’s an old-timey textile-making technique that involves a hook being used to interlock loops of yarn, resulting in an intricate textural material, and – if Ella Emhoff, Michelle Amo and Cannelle’s wardrobes are anything to go by – right now it’s too hot to hate.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic, which sent us all to our sofas for the greater part of a year,meet the person innovating crochet from the couch: textile designer Kine Ulvestad of the brand 2 Much Pressure uses gargantuan yarns for body-morphing silhouettes, and makes functional yet avant-garde ready-to-wear pieces and cool ceramic creations. By adding sculptural ingredients, fuzzy edges and quirky appendages to classic designs, Kine manages to transcend forward fashion, entering a realm of composition beyond the body.
BRICKS chatted with the Norweigan designer about why she started 2 Much Pressure, the current crochet renaissance, and how increased crocheting during COVID-19 has left her injured and hardly able to handle a hook.
Hey Kine! Could you start by introducing yourself to our readers? Please describe who you are and what you do in your own words.
My name is Kine Ulvestad. I’m 22 years old and I‘m from Bergen in Norway. I’m currently taking a Bachelor’s degree in Fine arts here in Bergen. My main media are crochet and ceramic. The pieces I make are often functional objects or sculptures.
I sometimes make unfunctional things too but I‘m mostly fascinated by functional and not very practical things. Because a lot of my pieces have a function, it can often be seen as both art and design. I’m constantly exploring where the limit between art and fashion/function goes.
I’m a strong believer in formalism, where the objects shape and the way it’s made in itself is the most important, and all the other things such as political aspects come as a secondary thing. I believe in the power of an object.
I dropped out of high school and crocheted for a whole year in my bedroom while I was still living at home. It was the only thing I really wanted to do, and it gave me a sense of accomplishment.
Why did you start crocheting and how did you learn the craft?
My grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was very young, maybe around six years old. I’ve crocheted on and off since that, but I started crocheting full time in 2017, and that’s when I started @2mpressure. I dropped out of high school and crocheted for a whole year in my bedroom while I was still living at home. It was the only thing I really wanted to do, and it gave me a sense of accomplishment.
What inspired you to start your own brand?
I just wanted to show my crochet pieces for themselves, separated from everything else I posted on Instagram. In the beginning, ‘2 Much Pressure’ was just a name for the crochet [Instagram] account, but now I see that people think of it as a brand, which I’m totally fine with.
For me, 2 Much Pressure is the part of my artistic practice that has to do with crocheting. So, if I make a vase in ceramics and crochet something on it, it’s a 2 Much Pressure piece too. It doesn’t need to be a clothing or a functional thing to be a part of 2 Much Pressure.
Can you please describe your creative process for creating both your avant garde sculptural designs and your unique garments?
It’s pretty much the same process for everything I do. If I make a piece, I always get a ton of new ideas while I’m making it, so I always have several plans in mind when I’ve finished a piece. I work very intuitively and freely, and nothing ever turns out how I thought it would. I try to let the process take care of itself.
After I’ve made a bunch of clothes, I usually collaborate with a photographer for a photo series. Documentation of the work is very important in my process, that’s how the universe I make and live in comes through.
What has it been like for you crocheting during the pandemic?
It started out very good but unfortunately turned into “crochet-stop”. In the beginning of the pandemic when school closed, I literally lived on the couch. I was crocheting all day, every day and I enjoyed it way too much.
I was constantly crocheting for three months and then my body said stop. My arms were inflamed so I went to see a physiotherapist. I’ve been going there for nine months now and I’ve still not healed. I must admit it has been a bit hard watching everyone on Instagram crochet and then not being able to do it (as much) myself.
Crochet is very meditative and therapeutic to work so repetitively, and I think it’s the time for learning something that makes you feel zen right now.
Why do you think crochet is so popular right now?
I think there are a lot of reasons for that! Many people have of course been very bored, and you are never bored with a crochet hook and a ball of yarn in your hands. It’s also pretty easy to learn, and with only a few techniques you can make literally anything.
It’s also very meditative and therapeutic to work so repetitively, and I think it’s the time for learning something that makes you feel zen right now.
Crochet might also just be something that comes and goes. We are not dependent on making our own clothes anymore but we are definitely interested in it more than our parent’s generation was.
What’s in store for the future of 2 Much Pressure?
Hopefully a physical store somewhere in the future… with tons of crochet pieces, and with some ceramics too. At least that’s the dream now. We’ll see!
Enjoyed this story? Help keep independent queer-led publishing alive by becoming a BRICKS community member for early bird access to our cover stories and exclusive content for as little as £2.50 per month.