The characters she creates by transforming her drawings into three-dimensional objects and using wool can become a brooch, a toy or even a family portrait at times. Duygu Bircan’s brand Wool Bender can also “amigurumi” everything you can draw on paper, and even accepts special orders. Instead of directing our questions at her, this time we wanted Duygu Bircan to tell us her story…
I was born in 1986 on International Working Women’s Day as the daughter of a working-class family who wanted to raise her as a revolutionary woman and an artist. If only Sailor Moon and Spice Girls were not so popular among young Turkish girls back then when I was in the final years of elementary school! My parents might have succeeded about I was very into the colors of popular culture, and to the great disappointment of my dad, I was drawing Usagi and Mel C pictures instead of Che or Mahir. I had my first period cramps at a Grup Yorum concert, and I first fell in love with Leonardo di Caprio. But even if the colorful world of capitalism had dazzled me I still breathed the air of communism at home. And throughout out my school life I was always the best student in art all the way until I started preparing for my fine arts education…
While I was studying graphic design in university, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to pursue it as a career and that working at an ad agency was not for me. Around that time I was given an assignment to illustrate a children’s book using a method other than drawing, so I wanted to apply the amigurumi method, which I had seen on the Internet and loved. Considering that I had not knitted or crocheted since my childhood and because I was in Eskişehir away from the women in my family, I had a lıt of difficulty trying to figure out the amigurumi technique. Back then it was not quite popular, therefore most of the resources were in Japanese and I had to solve the technique on my own. So I rolled up my sleeves and as I would realize many years later I made up my own technique as I went along. My crocheting style is different than other amigurumi makers but I am not really bothered by it.
It became the assignment that I loved doing the most so I continued to crochet amateurishly. I always thought that I was born to be a housewife. If I could knit and cook, I would be perfectly happy… But I was also in constant pursuit because of my need to always create something as part of my nature. It was a wonderful chance for me to discover amigurumi as I was thinking how fun it would be to transform one of my hobbies, cooking and knitting, into a business.
I gave been doing “amigurumi”, which gives me a chance to turn my drawings into three-dimensional objects, for six years now. It took about two years for me to muster up the courage to share what I have created with others. Now I am confident in my work, and share my creations under my Wool Bender brand with people. In 2013, my friend Aykut Alp Gürel, a ceramics artist and a lecturer at Anadolu University Department of Fine Arts, and I opened an exhibition titled “külliyen kil ile yün” (completely clay and wool) at Eskişehir Cartoon Museum featuring my wool creations that Aykut turned into ceramics using the fired mold technique.
On the other hand, I occasionally give amigurumi lessons. These courses are usually a combination of chats and crocheting, and I find the opportunity to share my talent while I also get to know new aspirations.
There is no limit to what I can do with knitting and crocheting! I love being able to transform everything I can draw on paper into three-dimensional objects. There are so many projects on my mind, and one that I really want is to “amigurumi” a children’s book.
I short, I love what I do!