Introducing Stay Crafty SoDak with Chynna Lockett

Last Updated by Heather Benson on

Lori Walsh:              Chynna Lockett is South Dakota Public Broadcasting's, Arts and Culture Reporter. She is launching a new digital series this month that introduces you to the crafty people of the state. It's called Stay Crafty. So Dak and Chynna joins us from the Black Hills studio for a preview. Hey, Chynna.

Chynna Lockett:       Good Morning, Lori.

Lori:                          So this is an exciting idea, and tell me where it first came from for you as an arts reporter, not just to cover, art in the gallery, art in a concert hall, but a sort of art that's happening in our living rooms across the state.

Chynna:                 So I've been covering artists around the state for the last two years and there are just so many cool creative ideas. Every day I get new contacts that are making these ridiculous things that you would never think of, that are easy to do. So I always have that, "Oh, I wonder if I could do that," kind of moment.

Chynna:                 And then I go home after I do these stories. And I just spent hours crafting alone in my room with my rabbit. It's the best. So after my craft pile got so big because I keep on purchasing all of these things to make these crafts, I was like, "I wonder if I could get paid to do this, teach people across the state something, too." Because everything is so interesting.

Lori:                          Right. Like every good journalist, at some point you say, "Could I get paid to cover this? Because I love it." And that's right, listeners she did say rabbit. So you got a bunny rabbit that lives with you and hops around. Tell us a little bit about just some of the early folks that you have met, and then we'll go into a little bit about how folks can connect with you and with the project

Chynna:                 For sure. So my early contacts, of course, I started out with my mom. She makes fairy gardens and works at Jolly Lane, and I think she's great. There's a couple other contacts I have from some of the artists groups that do a lot of organizing or PR work around the state for artists, but also go home and craft themselves, also. So Cecily Inglehart showed me how to do glitter top tables, which is a really easy but really exciting process and will really spruce up your house, any room in your house. I've met with somebody from Slipknits, who taught me how to felt, and I gave one of those felted pieces to my grandma and she loved it. And yeah, I'm just getting a bunch of contacts from around Rapid City right now, but I would love to hear people's ideas. If you have a mom or a grandma that makes greeting cards or does scrap booking or anything that's a small craft that I can fit into a two to five minute video, please get ahold of me.

Lori:                          All right. So when you say felts, do you mean knitting and then felting a bag, or do you mean like punch with the super sharp needles where you're stabbing the felt until it turns into something?

Chynna:                 You're stabbing the felt 'til it turns into something. And the funny thing is the person who taught me how to do, felting, she told me beforehand, I would stab myself with that needle twice. I stabbed myself with the needle twice. And it was great.

Lori:                          I have done this felting. I have a little pig that I felted.

Chynna:                 Oh, cute.

Lori:                          Yeah, so I'll have to bring it along when next time I see you. But this is one of those things that you hear about and you look at, and you think, "Exactly. Can I do this? And can I do this with minimal amount of puncture and blood damage?"

You mentioned your mom, and I want to talk just a little bit about this notion of how many of us grew up with somebody in our family, whether it was a grandpa, a grandma, an aunt, a mother, who crafted, and how often those skills are really passed down in families a little bit. Of course, now, we have Etsy and Pinterest and all those things. But there was a time when you just did what you were surrounded by.

Chynna:                 Yeah. And I think that's a very Midwestern, especially a very South Dakota thing. So I've got my grandpa taught me how to bake, and I love baking. My Grandma, I mentioned to her that I was interested in sewing and she gives me all of these books and a bunch of vintage fabric from the seventies. My mom, we used to color with pastels and join in any projects that she was doing.

And then even on my aunt's side of the family, we have, her mom teaches me how to knit and crochet and they always have a new craft that you can get into, and they have the stuff to start you in it. So they have new ideas for you. And it's nice to be able to sit around the table with your family and hear, "Oh, you're doing this stitch wrong. This is a faster, more efficient way to do it. Why didn't you try this?" And yeah, it helps a lot.

Lori:                          Yeah. Hans Christian Andersen used to write about how his mother was spinning. He sat there with the women at the spinning wheels, and sat at their feet, and listened to them tell stories and talk and the things that they said. And a lot of his inspiration for fairy tales and storytelling really came from those conversations.

Women talking to each other as they created. They weren't crafting, you know, they were creating something out of necessity instead of artistic expression alone. But talk a little bit about when you get into this idea of crafting and art making and making with other people, what do you get out of it other than just a felted whatever, or a purse or a new skirt to wear?

Chynna:                 So that's another one of the brilliant parts. The ladies at Slipknits do these classes. They're one of the few community classes that I've heard of in Rapid City, where different artists from different parts of the community meet up and they just share stories and they knit around a table. Well, I learned how to crochet from one of the women in that group, and her name is Lucy, and Lucy is just like a great person to talk to.

She's really fun, and every time I hang out she'll tell me stories about how she grew up, how her garden's doing, how her dogs are doing, she's the best. And then I, actually after three classes or three videos recorded in the studio, have already started like a new crafts group with a Cecily Inglehart, and we're trying to get our friends to join in. And we sit around and bring whatever crafts we want and we just have a glass of wine and we make something but we also have fun together. So it's more about hanging out and doing something productive. It's really nice.

Lori:                          All right, in our remaining 30 seconds or so, tell people how they connect with Stay Crafty. So Dak. Where do they find it?

Chynna:                 So you can find it on Instagram. Just search for @staycraftysodak, and the videos are actually going to be released on January 10th. The first one is coming out on our Facebook page at South Dakota Public Broadcasting. If you just search for that, you'll be able to find it. And I think we will have upcoming biweekly videos, sorry, bimonthly videos.


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