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Ava Wilson-Noellien plays a dual role: in the days she is a registered nurse and at nights she is a talented crochet artist.
Mrs Wilson-Noellien is a 25-y-o who got into crochet at the age of 16 after post-CXC boredom set in:
“My mom would always be making doilies for her chairs and center pieces for the table. I thought it was pretty but never thought I would one day be making them… until after CXC when the boredom set in. My mother suggested that I pick up a craft and so I chose crochet since I had already done embroidery and lots of other hand crafts,” she said.
What she started with, doilies and chair backs, would eventually lead to more complex works of art such as a wedding dress and elaborate St. Lucian themed pieces.
“Being an over achiever I decided that doilies and chair backs were not going to be the end of my crochet history.. My first project was a Bolero for church. It was nothing spectacular just made of simple stitches but I was so proud of myself that I decided to make a business of it. Hence the birth of Exotic crochet designs,” she said.
In a response to the question of how much challenge she faced during the creation of the business, Wilson-Noellien reiterated many common issues faced by young business people in St. lucia:
“The business has not been without is challenges. Firstly persons who enjoy seeing it would rather buy it at a cheaper price. As much as I would love to sell all my items at less than $100 it is not possible because the thread itself is expensive and a rare find in St Lucia. That’s one of the reasons I give most of my customers the option to buy their own thread and pay just for the creative service,” she said.
“I have tried many times to get the exposure in St Lucia with my designs but of course like everything else in St Lucia it’s all about who you know.”, she added.
For Wilson-Noellien one of her most successful creation to date was for Miss St. Lucia 2012:
“I was pleased to produce a piece for Ms. Filamenia Days in 2012 when she went up as Miss St Lucia in the pageant in St Kitts, ” she said.
Her most popular pieces however are St. Lucian themed and have helped to promote the country:
“Most of my prized pieces are St Lucian flag based or St Lucian color based. I have since the establishment of the company sold quite a few St Lucia themed pieces to St Lucians in the States and Europe, needless to say St Lucian themed crochet has already placed St Lucia on the map,” she said.
However her most prized piece is her own wedding dress which she croched on her own:
“My most prized piece at the moment is my wedding dress and umbrellas for my bridal party. Started on the 12th of October and completed on the 2nd of December. It was not something that I worked on every day because of my work hours mostly on weekends. Since then I have gotten 2 serious orders for wedding dresses I look forward to those creations,” she said.
She has also honored Sir Dunstan St Omer with a creation:
“I have a full outfit that I made in honor of Sir Dunstan St Omer which I wore proudly to his remembrance service,” she said.
When asked about her future goals for herself and the business she gave a response than involved other young St. Lucians:
“At the moment my goal is to revive the art of crochet in the youth to help them understand and appreciate the things of old. My philosophy is that you must better what u were taught. So I look forward to “de-grandma-fying” the art of crochet and making modern designs which appeal to this generation and the generations to come.
I also look forward to passing on the skill to those who are interested because if it is not passed down it will surely become extinct,” she said.
“My ultimate goal is to be featured at fashion shows and hopefully have a TV show where I teach crochet and knitting.”
Mrs Wilson-Noellien creations can be found on Facebook at exotic crochet designs and their website at Exoticcrochetdesigns.com. They can be contacted via email at [email protected]
They ship to most countries.