This is without a doubt one of my favourite conversations I’ve ever had with a creator. Diva Zappa is amazing! She has such simple, beautiful ideas about creating and life in general. The magical knittress, actress (appearing in The Mighty Boosh + more), photographer and artist makes wonderful, colourful, unique handmade creations – ponchos, capes, scarves, gloves, beanies etc. – and embroidered couture canvas. Her wearable art is worn by (friends and fans) Noel Fielding, Diablo Cody, Corey Parks, Chloé Trujillo and many others and is inspired by light, faeries, magic, gunfire, Bruce Willis, tea, animals and Law & Order among other things! Each piece is handmade with love.
Your business is named Handmade Beauty. What are some of your first memories of beauty?
I’m a big fan of light and the different tones of light that bring out the colours in flowers. When you say ‘beauty’ I basically think about odd light shining from the sky, I can’t really explain it. If it’s a cloudy day things kind of sing at a different vibration – I see that stuff.
Your ‘about me’ section on your Facebook profile reads: I laugh so much it makes me cry and everyone is terrified of me. When was the last time that happened?
[Laughs] With my sister the other day actually. She made me laugh really, really hard. We were sitting and having tea at a gelato bar and she just said something completely stupid [laughs]. It really wouldn’t make anybody laugh but it was so ridiculous that it was like, really? It made my brain break and I laughed so hard I cried—it was awesome! People were starring [laughs].
Your profile also mentions: I like compliments. What’s one of your favourite compliments you’ve been given in regards to your art?
I had a show in London earlier this year and Noel Fielding, when he saw it, couldn’t stop saying that he felt like it was underwater!
What is one of your favourite things about your art? About knitting?
That anything is possible. That it starts from one string, it’s just a straight line and a straight line can be anything you want. It’s so cool to me that you can actually mould a straight line.
That reminds me of a time when someone asked me that saying: how long is a piece of string? And I replied to them, however long you want it to be. They were surprised by my answer because they had just accepted that it was one of those questions that have no answer. It really is up to you.
Yes, yes it is completely up to you, that’s one of my favourite things. It’s so astounding to me when I knit that it starts out… it’s just creation, it’s totally cool. I blow my own mind looking at a piece of string all the time! It’s ridiculous [laughs].
I can so relate to that! What are some of your favourite colours to work with? What colours make your heart sing?
It depends on the kind of day and the kind of light that’s outside. On grey days if the light is shining through a cloud it will be yellows and blues and gold that usually comes out and play. If it’s a sunny bright day I could go with a dark green or something. Honestly it’s whatever the light is telling me to do and the textures, I filter through my bag and grab things. I really don’t have a choice, the yarn tells me what to do next and what the next colour will be. It can be dependent on what’s happening around me, where I am or my mood. If I’m in a coffee shop and someone is making noise like a constant snapping of gum and I’m a little bit annoyed that will come out – I might knit with some grey or some really hideously textured yarn that I’m just a little annoyed and then I might switch to something pretty and… it might not necessarily work but it tells a story and ends up being an art piece—a living journal basically.
I love that you follow your instincts and allow yourself to do that. I find a lot of people can unfortunately suppress that part of themselves and they do what they think they should be doing rather than listening to their natural intuition.
Yeah. I’m a big believer in trusting yourself and doing things for you and not doing things for other people. If you’re making art don’t make what you think somebody else wants ’cause no one wants that, everyone wants to see what you make because you are what’s interesting.
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