We had the good fortune of connecting with Chelsea Billingsley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chelsea, why did you pursue a creative career?
I chose a creative career because this is the language that I understood the best.I know that it sounds very abstract, but the truth is, the fiber arts(fashion design) has allowed me to express and communicate in ways that universally others can understand. Crochet for me has been this meditative process of looping that I truly enjoy. Art and the skill of crocheting is the place that I feel most freest. It’s my lane to do and be whoever I want to be. I said this once before and I still stand by it to this day. In a creative field, I have the ability to create and manifest the life that I want.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Being an entrepreneur is already hard but being a woman….woman of color…fiber artist pursing something that is in some ways so foreign to others makes me a super woman in my eyes. Although being and entrepreneur gets hard, I won’t give up. Along my journey was so many “No’s” but it was all worth for that one “Yes”. That one having my work on the female rapper Flo Milli….that one yes was having my work on Yung Baby Tate’s recent music video “I Am”. I did not start my business just to start one, I started my business with a purpose, a purpose to be an example to other girls and boys that being a creative is cool and that it is indeed possible to pursue a creative career. I am the first in my family to graduate from college, start a business, and walk in my truth. Along my journey, I’ve learned to trust my instincts and to never abandon a project. Just take a moment to breathe and it will all work out with the right work ethic. With that being said, I am a multifaceted artist of poetic literature, love of color, skill and love for creating. “A fluid flow of energy: an abstract portrait of self” is how I would define my art. My work explores the art of crochet, embellishment and illustration. With these skills, I try to re-present art to the world in innovative ways. One continuous linear medium (yarn) creating patterned fabric through the meditative process of looping is what I am drawn to. This “handicraft” that seems so foreign to others is a language of skill that I have learned to interpret through color, technique, imagery, and fashion. Within this culture of fine art, many have placed boundaries on the technique of crochet but I have broken those boundaries. I want to shift the opinions of those that believe “craft” and fine art cannot be bridged together. As a designer, I aspire to redefine what garment is and what garment could be in the future to pursue a creative career.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I for one am a lover of museums and all things art. So I would definitely take her to a one of the museums here in Chicago, like the MCA, Museum of Science and Industry, Womanish, the list could go on and on. I actually did this with a group of friends on my birthday this year. I took them with me to the Woman-ish museum in downtown Chicago and hired a photographer to come and do an impromptu photo shoot of us. It was one of the most amazing experiences. I’m all about creating new memories and capturing those experiences to remind us years later that we lived. But i am also a lover of food so I would definitely go to one of my favorite whole in the wall taco spots. We would also probably do something a little risky and go get tattoos. I truly love my city so I would definitely take them on a long drive down Lake Shore just took at the sky line. Often times when I’m in a rut or stuck creatively, I go get ice cream and then take a long drive through Chicago’s Hyde Park area and through downtown. It just helps me think. The Pilsen area has a lot of wall art and graffiti, so would definitely check that out to get some great pictures. I used to take the Trains and talk to the homeless people, they have so much wisdom and are so kind. Funny I had this one homeless man pray for me. But it stuck with me forever. There are so many things that you can do and events that you can go to here but I would probably finish the week out with a paint and sip party to just create memorable art,
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The person that I would like to Shout Out is my high school home room teacher Meg McGivney. She was actually the person who taught me how to crochet. She bought me my first crochet shook and ball of yarn. The plan was to teach all of the girls how to crochet but I was one of the rare few who really caught on and truly enjoyed it. When other friends and even family members didn’t believe in what I was doing, Ms. McGivney did. I don’t even think that she realizes how much that one moment in my Junior year of high school has truly impacted my life. I will forever be grateful for her.
Photographers: Jade Lilly Instagram: @shootmejade (Rooftop, Scrunches) David DeShawn Instagram: @daviddeshawn_ (Orange look)