Lima Al-Azzeh

Introducing LbgDesigns

In Vancouver Style on January 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm


Designer Lindsay Block-Glass wearing crochet collar - LbgDesigns

When I was interviewing joiner and craftsman Jeff Martin he told me a fascinating anecdote about how fashion icon Louis Vuitton actually started out as a furniture maker, designing gorgeous trunks which would later become the inspiration for his iconic vintage luggage. I’ve heard a lot of stories about architects, graphic designers and other types of professionals specializing in various aspects of art and construction turning to fashion as their true calling. Vancouver-based crochet designer Lindsay Block-Glass follows in the footsteps of these great craftspeople turned fashion moguls. 

Though Block-Glass hails from Toronto, the grime and urbanity of the city never quite suited her. She moved to Vancouver a few years ago, seeking the quiet zen of the mountains, trees and beaches of the West Coast. She attended Emily Carr where she studied sculpture, always finding inspiration in nature.

LbgDesigns - Meditation Blanket

In October 2009 Block-Glass started experimenting with knitting as a casual, fun activity, rather than a dedicated art. It would have been perfect timing to start making her (then) boyfriend a Christmas gift. The months rolled along and Block-Glass, being Jewish and not one for celebrating the holidays, nearly forgot about the Christmas gift altogether. In a mad-cap attempt to make a gift in a few days, a friend of Block-Glass’ suggested she switch to the much faster art of crochet and encouraged her to make a hat. It didn’t take long for Block-Glass to pick up crochet, and sure enough in a few days she had successfully made her boyfriend a hat and had a head full of ideas for future projects. This boyfriend benefited from a few fruits of her labour, including this original, one-of-a-kind meditation blanket.

Block-Glass hadn’t really intended on forming a business around her crochet work. It started out as a simple, entertaining hobby, but sure enough, people began to notice that she was good. Really, really good. “I was making stuff all the time”, said Block-Glass, ” I would just give it away to people, friends mostly. But then their friends started asking them where they got their scarf, or hat or whatnot and so I started selling it to them, just to cover the cost of the yarn. I’ll usually give a few pieces away for free as a way of marketing.”

Her background in sculpture has proven to be a priceless asset in launching her crochet career. “I think my background [in sculpture] does help me to conceptualize things. I’ve always been better at making 3D art than drawing or doing anything on a flat surface. It’s much more intuitive for me to work with my hands.”

Signature scarf with hood - LbgDesigns

With all this knowledge, and the encouragement of a small fan base in her community, Block-Glass challenged herself to make more complicated things than a basic hat or scarf. While on a trip to Florence to visit some artist friends (one of whom happens to also study sculpture) in December 2009, Block-Glass recalls her attempt to flip the concept of a simple scarf on its head, “we were sitting around the table in this tiny little Italian apartment, trying to figure out how to make a hood” this would become Glass’ signature piece; scarves with hoods, “the three of us were mapping it out, in terms of the design and structure. Eventually, we came up with a pattern and I ended up making a pretty sweet piece.”

Block-Glass’ “I’ll try anything” attitude has lead her to try her hand at all sorts of new and innovative designs. While living in Nelson, BC ( a place where she moved to briefly in order to more intimately commune with a natural environment) Block-Glass further honed her crochet skills. “There was friend of mine in Nelson who wanted me to make a hooded vest and I’m always game to try something new, so I gave it a go and it turned out really well!  I don’t have a whole grand line planned out, my designs come from a really organic evolution and I like it that way. I just know that I’m willing to try to make anything that’ll make people feel sexy happy.”

Living in Nelson proved to be a strong catalyst for the evolution of Block-Glass’ designs. Not only is she deeply inspired by her surroundings, her designs are earthy and feature a lot of greens and browns, but it also inspired her to collaborate with some of her most artistic friends.

Elf Hood with Button

“My friend Morgan Mackie hand carves buttons and accouterments from wood, and they’re absolutely gorgeous. I actually know him through my yoga community and we’ve developed a really good working relationship because we really inspire each other, even if we’re working in completely different mediums. I incorporate as much of his work into mine and even base a lot of designs specifically around his stuff. We also talk a lot about what we’d like to try in the future or the kinds of stuff we’d like to make and haven’t gotten around to yet, it’s really nice that we have a relationship where we try to accommodate one another’s artistic goals.”

In the future, Block-Glass is looking to team up with designer and friend, Jennifer Cook. “Jenn wants to start making jewellery with metals”, elaborates Block-Glass, “and I’d love to try some stuff with leather and wool in collaboration with her. It would be great to involve Morgan [Mackie’s] work in these projects as well. Jenn and I have always been on the same page, art wise, so I think some really fun things could come out of this.”

When I asked her about the future of LbgDesigns, Block-Glass confessed that she was a little apprehensive about turning herself, and her work, into a fully fledged business, “for now I’m so connected to what I’m doing and if I wanted to really build a business around it, my connection to the customer and the work would change a lot. I would have to hire people to make me stuff and supervise and manage them to make sure everything is the way I want it to be. I’m not sure if that’s the right thing for this venture at the moment.”

There are even some notable side effects as a result of crocheting virtually night and day (Block-Glass can be seen crocheting just about anywhere, from a coffee shop to public transit).

” I have joint pain and it’s getting hard on my hands, but to be honest, it’s not much of a deterrent. If people want me to make something for them, I will, because I love it (and so do they).”

It may be a little premature to label Block-Glass among Vancouver’s  fashion moguls, but LbgDesigns is well on its way to outfitting Vancouverites with a variety of colourful, comfortable crochet-wear, handy for those long cold seasons, nine months out of the year.

Check out LbgDesigns on Tumblr to find out where you can custom order your very own handmade creation.

*Photos with white wall background by Jennifer Cook

Hooded Vest - LbgDesigns

Cowl - LbgDesigns

PomPom - LbgDesigns

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lima Al-Azzeh and Maryam Mehrtash, Lima Al-Azzeh. Lima Al-Azzeh said: Introducing unique, cozy crochet designs from Vancouver-based LbgDesigns – Perfect for this time of year! #yvr #fashion […]

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