Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Terrace on 14th St.

Hello, fellow web-wizards and friends. Currently writing to you underground, from my 45min morning commute to work. I moved to a quiet, little brick place in Astoria, NY, that my fiancΓ©, Z, and I call The Terrace on 14th Street.  We want our wedding on this little terrace, so we're spending our free days whimsifying the place––a fleet of rocket ships and a room with celestial magic.

I started this blog when I was 12 and I'm now 22 and I can honestly say that all the good things that have happened in my life have come from friends like you who believed in me enough to just keep reading.  A sincere thank you to those who have taken an interest in my journey.

The last time I wrote on this blog (March πŸ™ˆ) I was sleeping two hours a night,  20lbs under weight, and losing hair in clumps.  Since graduating in June, I'm happy to say that I'm now 10lbs overweight, sleeping a balanced 7-9 hours a night, and my hair is growing back at a steady rate.  

I’m finally at a spot where I’m excited to share again––how I’ve grown, how I'm growing.  I'll be posting again on the reg, starting with these illustrations from my senior collection.  

Also, Z's a really amazing guy.  Can't wait to share more about him ^_^ 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sparkly Things

Over the summer, I looked at a lot of broken glass.  It was comforting and beautiful to see light reflect and bounce off of something considered incomplete.  The summer, was also a huge healing process for myself.  I felt a little broken at the time, but by the end of the summer I was a little more pieced together and shards of glass really didn’t seem like it fit this upcoming chapter.  

I didn’t end up going with broken glass.  

I went with something a little more whole.

I didn’t want to look back at this time of my life and see my art and remember it as broken. I didn’t want anything I created to give off this feeling. I wanted something more whole, something more healing. So, instead of using broken pieces of glass, I starting dreaming up the idea of using real crystal.

It all started with meeting an amazing artist here at SCAD. Hannah (this girl is filled to capacity with creative energy). I’ll be talking about her in later posts fo sho. This girl's heart is beading.  I mean, she live it, dreams it, breathes it.  She'll stay up for hours till 3am beading away, not because of a deadline that's making her stay up to these sunless hours, but because she just gets so wrapped up in the processes and love of a finished piece.  We soon became friends and talked about working together.  I wanted to use what she was most naturally gifted with.

With that, I decided to no longer use glass. and reached out to the lovely people at Swarovski Crystal. I’m incredibly thankful to be working with them, who were so kind to sponsor Hannah and I in this collection. These crystals the most sparkly, radiant things I've ever seen and I couldn't be more excited to work with such materials!

And now for your eyes some sparkly things!

For more vids and swatches for dayzzzz, check out my gram! 
instagram: estherboller 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Avoid the Chiropractor with these Fancy Knitting Maneuvers

Are you sacrificing your physical health to crank out knits? Are you tired, sore, or just plain struggling? Do not fear!

These five, fancy maneuvers will spare your shoulders a trip to the chiropractor, and will basically make you the coolest cat on the block—which brings me to the first maneuver. My personal favorite, The Cool Cat. This diddy was taught to me by my mentor, Sachi. You need to doo daaaaa CAT! Much like a feline, the goal here is to be as cuddly as possible with that post. Really dig your shoulders in there.
The next pose is a classic. It keeps you from slumping and tensing up. It keeps you balanced and upright, is very good for posture—and it brings you back to a simpler time with a peaceful mind. I’m talking about The Monkey!
If your posture doesn’t improve, don’t sweat it. The monkey isn’t for everyone. You might just be in need of something more dynamic, something more powerful and concentrated. You might be one of the rare few who practice the sacred art of The Power Stance. The Power Stance is an ancient technique passed down to us from the greats. Are you willing to carry on its legacy?
Those are the three major maneuvers passed down by my mentor, Sachi, and adapted for my comfort. Feel free to mix them up, match them, altar them and invent your own—but before you go grab your needles, wait. There are two more maneuvers, exercises designed to recover those muscles and build up strength.

Surprise the Tiger is a necessity, an absolute must for any knitter’s arsenal. Begin by squeezing your hands together tightly. Then stretch them out as wide as you can. Imagine you’re in a great forest, and among the shades of green you see orange and white stripes peaking out behind a tree. Surprise the Tiger! Stretch those tired tendons.
La Mallet requires a little more prepping and more technique on your part, but, you guys... mastering this technique will really help you in the long run. It’s definitely helped me. Place the mallet in your hand and lightly, ever so lightly, slowly, let your wrist hang forward and then, just as slowly, pull it back up. For best results, repeat this process 50 times every day.

Well, ladies, I wasn’t entirely truthful. There is another technique. I considered keeping it to myself, for mastering it was a grueling process. It is tiring. It is difficult and it will push you to extremes you thought not possible. But it’s so rewarding and so fun…I just couldn’t not show you. I present to you, ladies, The Worm:
This is the technique of techniques. Master this and you may consider yourself a graduate of Esther Boller’s embarrassing school for oddly satisfying knitting exercises. I hope you enjoy rubbing your backs against posts and locking in your power stances. By all means, go out, do The Worm, and surprise some friendly Tigers while you’re at it. πŸ‘©

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Smallness - Senior Process


My senior collection is about the interaction of light and wind and how, when connected together, they create a transcending feeling of smallness.

I almost used broken shards of glass as one of the main elements. It was a time in my life where I didn’t feel entirely whole. But after advice from my mentor and praying and searching, I decided on something so much better.

What I really hope is that the materials, together, will interact with the true elements of this design: the wind and the light and the unexplainable aura that resonates from them. If I can do this, I can echo to others the absolute greatest feeling I’ve ever experienced—the feeling of staring up at the night sky, watching the stars reflect their light, feeling the wind against my skin, and suddenly realizing how amazingly small we are.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Harmony in Head

It’s midway through the day and I’m thinking three rows ahead, down at my knitting. It’s been 6 hours and whoa. I have completed, wait for it…wait for it… Three. Whole. Inches. 😐  This is a decent accomplishment, but I’m not admiring these fresh stitches. I’m calculating those three inches, into hours, and multiplying them by the knitting yield of the full piece, and then dividing that by seven and then counting down the few remaining days I have left until my critique with the dean. (10 days).

At this rate I should finish this single layer of my first look by, mm, next Tuesday.

I realize this same time comparison has actually been going through my head all day on repeat.  Inch by inch, hour by hour, day by day, minute by minute stitch by stitch by cup of coffee, by stich, I have been calculating my deadlines. The moment when I finish this piece, so I may move onto the next and begin calculating again, but as exhausting as it is to think about and as exhausting as this is to read, you should all know that there is a time when this chess game in my head quiets.

Two days a week, on Monday and Wednesday mornings, I have an art history class and it is my favorite moment of the entire week. It’s a time when I get to sit and pause and just look at artwork.  It’s so soothing. I’m not thinking in terms of a plan and a deadline. There’s no pressure. My boyfriend and I sit aside each other, both of our minds moving a mile a minute, admiring art, coming up with new ideas, and laughing at our professor’s ridiculous, interpretive, dancing. Yes, this really happens.

It’s a pause.  It’s a soak.  I always have a pen and paper ready, but not to write down the names of the artists or the dates of the paintings we cover in class; I have an entire notebook willed with new ideas.

As an artist, we need pauses. Soaks. We need to be inspired without the pressure of creating. Because when you’re not looking for something beautiful, is often when you find beauty in things the most.

Here are some of my favorites art pieces that I should have written in my notebook:

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

That Cold, Heartless, Knitter Critic

Sometimes, knitting is a barfight between your fingers, your needles, your mind, body, and spirit. And sometimes it’s your spirit that loses. Last night was one of those nights.

It was another beautiful day of working on my senior, Estonion lace inspired knitwear collection, when bam!πŸ’₯ πŸ’₯πŸ’₯

The inner-critic hit again.

This nameless, faceless ghost lives inside me and does this from time to time. Taunting me. Cursing me. It likes to creep up slowly and whisper insults at me without me noticing, but by the time I’m aware of its presence, it’s too late; my shoulder is aching, my callused fingers are burning; my mind and body have both taken sides with the critic; I can go on knitting no longer.

For this collection of mine (title still pending) I’ll need to be knitting 8 hours a day and pattern drafting the rest. Next month, I’ll need to step it up to knitting 12-16 hours a day. With thousands of hours still ahead of me, and my stitches slipping, yesterday was a battle I admittedly lost. Critic, one. Esther, zero.

But it had to happen, you guys. I’m so glad it did. It was a strategic loss and I’ll tell you why. Hand knitting has and always will be a slow process. There’s no better example of this than Estonion culture.

For them, knitting wasn’t a hobby. It was tradition. It was about creativity and innovation. At a very young age, little Estonion girls would break out their needles and experiment with new techniques. They’d knit piece after piece, all this so that one day, when they were married, they could give these knits away to guests at their ceremony. And let me tell you, it was a ceremony, shawties. The whole town showed up to that Shindawg and the Brides’ knits represented who she was as a homeslice. It was a way of life, yo.

It was not something they churned out as fast as they could to meet a deadline. Knitting was a slow, organic, creative process. It defined them.

I realize today that I was holding my needles too closely and twisting my stitches incorrectly. (If any of you know a trick to increase the brioche stitch, lemme know, dawg).  I was rushing. I was working too tense, too fast, too long and too critically.

When I got home, I had a headache and a rowdy knot in my shoulder that wouldn’t stop yelling,

Don’t ignore me, you stupid, little, yellow piece of cake—you know your gauge is sloppy—oh, and that lentel soup you made? You don’t even like it. It sucks. Everyone at Friendsgiving was just pretending to enjoy it because they felt bad for you, but they shouldn’t, you know why? Because you SUCK.

I was done for the day and I was away from the needles, but the inner critic—that cold, heartless, Knitter Critic—wouldn’t shut up. It grew louder and louder and I cried a little.

But when I woke up this morning everything was different. My mind, body and spirit were working together again as always and I realized: last night may have been a loss, but the score is not Critique: one, Esther: zero.

I’m gonna’ slow it down, lock it in. Block it, draft it, and get it done, one stitch at a time.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

How to Whimsify Your Boring, Old HallwayπŸ‘ΌπŸ’«

Step 1: Forget everything you know about crafts

The art and act of crafting is not at all what most people think.

You could be a fool with your hands. Your cutting skills could be seriously lacking. Your gluing abilities might not be so hot and you may have little-to-no- spare time. That’s okay, gurrrl—turning a dark, horrible hallway into a whimsy wonderland requires none of these things! There’s only one thing you absolutely need to create another world, that is, an idea that excites you.

This will not be your typical how-to.

Step 2: The Vision

When I’m feelin’ crafty but don’t have a project in mind, its hard for me to relax. I always have to be doing something with my hands, but I always remind myself that it’s never good to force something. In the end, the vision and the feeling has to come first.  

After 12 + hours a day pattern drafting and knitting at Eckburg, coming home and opening the door to a long, treacherous, empty, barren, dark, quite, scary hallway was kinda the icing on top of the workaholic cake. So. I decided to remind myself of one of my favorite feelings, whimsyπŸ’«

Once you know what feeling you want to create, hone in on that vision, beebee! If you have a strong mind’s eye, this may be easy, but for others, focus on that feeling; search online and look for inspiration. Create a mood board if you have to.

For me, I thought about friendly clusters of butterflies guiding me kindly, safely, to my bed so I may promptly pass out in peace. Motivation! πŸ‘

Step 3: Choosing your elements

Now, I'm not going to lie to you all. I really broke the bank for this one, guys. I used some pretty high tech stuff (printing paper, masking tape). Which leads me to Bonus Tip number one:

Stay within your budget. And know that there’s almost always a much cheaper version of the material you’re envisioning. For me, construction paper was tempting, but in the end, borrowing copious amounts of paper from the printers at my school just made sense. 😊 ✌πŸ˜‹

TIP 2: Keep it consistent! More important than the materials themselves is consistency. Stolen sheets of computer paper may be paired well with masking tape found in a drawer! When creating a new world, the components need to create harmony.

Step 4: Execution

It’s all in the details on this one, son. 😎  The subtleties. The little stuff. Let the experience be organic. Don’t make every element a piece from a cookie cutter. Don’t feel limited to the designs you find online. Vary them in size and shape a little. Make some mistakes. I certainly didn’t cut all of these little butterflies perfectly. Some of them really suck. They aren’t clustered together into perfect crescendos or anything like that, and I didn’t have the principles of design floating around in my head constantly when placing them. I just had fun and cut away and taped and relaxed. Don’t worry if you mess up. You’ll be surprised: an imperfection up close can seem so horrible and ugly, but when you step back and look at your finished project as a whole, its these imperfections that makes it all beautiful.