STOCKTON, Calif. — Get to know the work of Prescilla Ann Fajardo and you will quickly understand that crochet and knitwork are not limited to blankets and doilies.
"A lot of people have that expectation, like, 'oh you crochet, you must love knitting sweaters,'" Fajardo explained. "I’ve never made a sweater for myself."
Fajardo is a yarn artist in the style of "amigurumi," which is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures. Her work is inspired by all things "kawaii," meaning "cute" in Japanese.
Round, plushie bumblebees, an octopus that looks like a scoop of ice cream, even her stuffed moths are adorable with their pastel antennae and pink wings.
"My artwork represents this colorful, happy thing I tend not to put out into the world," she explained. "It’s a great outlet to be like, 'yeah I’m going to be a pastel person for today or a colorful rainbow person.'"
Now 24 years old, Fajardo learned to crochet and knit by watching YouTube videos and blogs eight years ago. She said art became her outlet when she began to experience stress and anxiety in high school.
"Growing up, especially Asian, you don’t really talk about your feelings, that's just something you don't do," Fajardo said. "It’s kind of that thing where you have to learn to deal with things very quietly. Crochet was something that was really nice to put positive energy out there."
A creative profession was not deemed a place of success in her Filipino household.
"Before, I did feel hurt that my family couldn't see my work as something that is respectable and that I could do for a living since it's not necessarily a 'money-making' career," Fajardo explained.
However, she said she understood that their concerns came from a good place.
"They just don't want to see their kids struggle with money or feeding themselves like they did," Fajardo said. "My parents did immigrate here from the Philippines, so my siblings and I are first-generation."
Today, she said her family is much more accepting, and even proud, of her work and her business, Yarn Circus.
"My mom actually tells her friends about it, which is a sign to me that she is much more open to all of it," Fajardo said.
Her inspiration to create is to express herself and, in turn, she hopes others find comfort in her cute, crochet plushies.
"To be able to express yourself creatively, that is a gift," Fajardo explained. "If it makes you happy, do it because that’s all that’s going to matter later in life. That’s all it is."
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