A Q&A with Tom Van Deijnen

3 Mar

Gosh darn it! Next up is on the one and only Tom van Deijnen, resident mender and fixer upper who’s workshops begin in April. We can’t wait!

Tell us a little bit about you.

At the start of the millenium I moved from The Netherlands to the UK, to work for a medical systems company in Crawley. About five years ago I knitted myself an 8ft long scarf and I haven’t stopped since. Additionally I have always performed ‘fashion interventions’ to hide holes or stains in my clothes, and that has led to The Visible Mending Programme.

Where do you draw the inspiration for your work from?

Historical techniques and patterns inform much of my work, but I don’t let them restrict me. I have quite a shelf full of knitting reference books and I love spending time at the Knitting Reference Library at the Winchester School of Arts. I have a particular fondness for Elizabeth Zimmermann and Mary Thomas (the one born in 1884). I also find a lot of inspiration in stories of all kinds.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Focus, patience, detail.

How do you take your tea?

I like a stiff brew, with a dash of milk.

What encouraged you to get into this industry and what was your route into it?

My mum used to knit the most amazing sweaters and she had an eye for detail, but it really kicked of once I found Prick Your Finger, a Rock ‘n’ Roll Haberdashery and Yarn Shop in Bethnal Green. The owners, Rachael and Louise, have managed to truly unleash my inner crafter.

How do you like your eggs?

An omelette with freshly chopped chervil, cooked to perfection (what the French call ‘baveuse’). But I never turn down eggy bread!

Who are some of your favorite designers/artists/illustrators/authors?

In no particular order: Franz Kafka, Louise Bourgeois, Thomas Hardy, Chris Ware, Rachael Whiteread, Giuseppe Penone.

What would your dream outfit be?

I would love to dress up as Edward, Prince of Wales: all tweeds, Argyle socks, Fair Isle slipovers, and flat cap.

What can the public expect from your upcoming classes at Super+Super?

With my regular darning classes I hope to inspire people to wear their existing clothes for longer. Don’t throw them out when they are love-worn; instead, make them the pride of your wardrobe, with a beautiful darn as a badge of honour. And keep an eye out for one-off knitting courses, starting with a The Fitted Glove in the autumn.

What’s your favourite cake?

Either a tangy tarte au citron, or a raspberry ripple meringue

How would you spend your perfect day in our fair city?

Go for a coffee, then a wander about town dipping in and out of charity shops and book shops, do some shopping for a meal with friends. Once home, crack open a bottle of wine and start cooking whilst my friends start turning up, have drinks and food all night and sit on the balcony setting the world to rights.

What’s next for Tom of Holland?

Keep an eye out for The Curiosity Cabinet of Knitting Stitches. That’s all I’m saying for now.

Check out Tom’s blog at www.tomofholland.com or follow him on Twitter @tomofholland

You can book on Tom’s first workshop by clicking the link below:


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