An interview with the uber talented – Dalena White

dalena white collage

Social media has given me a platform to meet so many like-minded creative individuals.  I’ve “met ” so many new crochet friends on Facebook.  Dalena White is one of those new treasured friends.  Getting to “meet” Dalena has been a magical journey of discovery.  Every now and then I’d become aware of something that Dalena posted and each time I’d make a mental note saying to myself “I would love to meet the woman behind this post”.  And so it was that I became aware of her beautiful skull projects (I love skulls I have a Pinterest board dedicated to just skulls) and immediately contacted Dalena.  I’m bowled over by her down to earth passion and her absolute love for yarn.  Below is our interview with this amazing crafter.  I know you are going to enjoy it!…

What inspires you?

Nature, kindness, empathy, the ocean, my family, animals, wool and travelling.



When did you start crafting / knitting / crochet / sewing and who taught you?

when I was 5 years old, my Granny Lenie taught me to crochet, knit and sew. I made fancy outfits for my Barbie. We lived with my grandparents when I was small. My grandfather was a tailor and my grandmother worked at the local habby shop and was a dress maker.


Tell me about your product / service / concept

I’m the  Marketing consultant for Cape Wools SA,  we promote the use of Merino wool, develop products and concepts with designers, promote designers and their wool products at Design Indaba and on other national platforms.

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Finches; Inspired by Li Edelkoorts Nesting trend forecast –  using nature’s left overs and cultural craft to generate art and decor for the home. The skull protects the animal’s brain and nerve centre and carries the horns, which is his pride and joy during life. Yet it is discarded when the animal dies. I restore the horns and cover the bones with beautiful colours, to honour the animal’s life. The piece get’s a name and has a place in the tribe again.

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How did it all begin?

 I wanted to stop smoking, but knew I needed something to keep my hands busy or I would eat non-stop. I discovered the Facebook page Playing Hooky and was hooked (on something else than Nicotine). I wanted to test the local offering in Merino wool yarn and ordered wool from all the local Indie dyers and commercial spinners I could find. I combined it into a Merino Wool ripple blanket for our bed. During this time, I was doing work with youngsters and had to find a way to make them understand where wool comes from. Some of the kids told me that it grows on plants (like my mommy’s cotton wool that she uses to clean her face with) Gasp.

merino ripple

I asked a Merino farmer for a skull of one of his rams, which I covered with the African Flower design, named Mr. Merino and used on shows, to show the children where wool comes from. My recycling spirit liked the idea and Finches was born.

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I also wanted to find a way to turn crochet into art, as I believe it is a Textile Art and should be valued as such, as we do with oils, ceramics and wood. The tree outside my office is full of finch nests and they are weaving, talking and working the whole day long. They were the inspiration for the name. I like being busy and do not sit still for long.

Omgee-serpie projek op Playing Hooky,  met Nurturing Fibres Eco-fusion. Cotton and Bamboo blend.

What do you think will be the next big thing in the world of craft?

Natural fibres are the fibre of choice in the upper LSM groups and this trend will continue, with educated customers questioning the origin of their food, clothing and home textiles. Eco friendly textiles will be important and people are embracing ‘hand made’ more and more. Embroidery and embellishment of textiles seem to be making a comeback.

casamento collage

I am loving the new furniture trend, with hand stitched embroidery detail, as done by Eve at Casamento and the hand dyed and embellishment on fashion, as done by local couturier  Hendrik Vermeulen

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Personally I would like to try tapestry and hand weaving soon.

Who on the international craft scene do you admire most and why?

I love the work of Ingrid Jansen from  Woodwoolstool and enjoy most of the Dutch designers. They appreciate hand work and find a fresh and modern way to keep it relevant season after season.

Frederique Morrel enjoys embellished skulls as much as I do and recycles old tapestries into quirky art pieces. I just love her work.

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Then there is Dedri Uys from Look-at-what-I-made farm; I just love the way she creates a crochet art piece by using loops and stitches in different ways. She must have a seriously mathematical brain to do that! Respect.

Where can our readers find you (Pintrest, Instagram, Facebook, Blog address etc)?

I am on Facebook for Wool and Finches

 You can also find me on Pinterest  and when I get time on my blog.

Finches sell from Artvark Gallery in Kalkbay and Ebony in Franschoek

What is your favourite blog and magazine and why?

I follow many bloggers and as many web pages on fashion, design and art. If I only have one hour to read, it would be Design Daily, VISI Magazine, Missoni, SA Decor and Design and Vogue magazine. These would give me an feel of where the trends are for the season.


What is your favourite craft ?

Crochet, Knitting, Scrapbooking and Photography

If you had more time on your hands what would you do?

make a wool carpet for our home or a wool tapestry of some sort. Also want to play with textile art and collages.

Have you bought something online and if so what?

Yarn. Also Merino wool clothing from Core ; my ultimate luxury.

What magazines do you buy?

I prefer to read on my tablet and get VISI, Ideas and Home magazines regularly. Some I indulge in would be Platteland/Weg or Crochet magazines.

Would you buy a pattern, or the whole kit online?

Yes would do. Not mad about kits, as I enjoy making my own.

What is your favourite yarn store / craft store and why?

Our local Habby Galore is my ultimate. I can go there on my E-bike, they greet me by the name, they have a shelve full of real wool yarn and will order anything I ask for. Out of town would be Thimbles in Durbanville, which is like Aladdin’s cave for yarn addicts.

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Dalena absolutely loves to ride her bike.  And I suppose living in beautiful Langebaan is part of what inspires her.  Here she is riding her biking along the West Coast town.  Oh and by the way she made the beautiful vintage poncho she is wearing.  The free pattern is available here!

Be inspired! Be creative but most of all have as much fun as possible!

Love and Light!

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