Art takes many forms, and one of the most ancient is that which involves the pulling and knotting of thread and yarn. From the Fates who weave, to the Wise Woman who learns the arts of the magical distaff, there is not end to the line of mysteries which have continued throughout time. A local artist who is continuing this sacred lineage of the textile arts is Olea Hokes. Fierce, sharp, gifted, and amazing, she is the living embodiment of what it means to be blessed by the Weavers. Get to know this Pagan artist and dance on her webs with your local Detroit Paganism Examiner.
For those who do not know you yet, what name do you create your are under as a professional moniker?
I don’t really have a professional moniker as of yet. When I taught the class at Pagan Pride I used the name MistressO.
And what medium is your art?
Crochet and knitting is an old world craft that has been passed down from generation to generation. It’s amazing that it took a recession to happen to bring tons of new crafters out of the woodwork.
Where did you get your start?
I learned to crochet in junior high school. It was something that never left me. As I got older I didn’t have time for such things, I wanted to party and hang out and be a wild child.
I got sick in 2006 and I had to slow my life style down a bit. Going for a high pace life to a very slow lifestyle was very depressing for me. One day on a trip to Walmart I seen some yarn and some crochet hooks.
I thought “I wonder if I can still crochet after all these years”.
To my amazement it was like riding a bike. Slowing I started making little things like bags and a small throw blanket. I took a trip to a yarn shop and picked up a pair of knitting needles and I slowly taught myself the basics and loved it. I’ve been knitting and crocheting every since.
How would you describe your individual style?
I don’t have a style, I just go with what feels right at the time.
What are your preferred materials and themes?
I preferred soft but well constructed yarns. As for themes it depends what I am thinking about.
I like to go with the seasons so if it’s cold out I do more hats, gloves, scarf’s, in the summer months I do more easy stuff like barefoot sandals and such.
Are you a student or adherent to a certain school ?
Yes, I currently attend University of Michigan Dearborn.
Do you have collections or series that you have created?
I created a series of washcloths with the triple moon, pentacle and triquetra.
Do you take work on commission?
I’ve never been asked but I probably would.
Do you find that being Pagan influences you in your art?
I believe so, I do my best work as a method of meditation. When things are really stressful or bothering me, I pick up the yarn and I let the stress of the day get worked out with every stitch. Feeling the different textures pass slowly through my figure is very relaxing and calming; it’s as if I am in a trace.
Do you integrate Pagan themes into your artwork?
I often do Pagan themes but I am willing to do other themes as well.
What has been the hardest thing about pursuing this path?
Finding mentors or people of like minds that want to listen.
I find that most people, who say they have been on their path for a long period of time, don’t have time to listen to those who are new to the faith. I find that to be sad.
Speaking from a woman of color, it’s easier to talk to someone of another race about the things you are experiencing than with my own race. If that makes sense.
What rewards have you found?
Meeting others who don’t find that I’m crazy when I said I hear voices when no one is around. People who are creative and share their creativity with others without a price.
How would you describe your creative process?
I create out of necessity. If I want something to wear, and I don’t have the funds, I create it on my own. If, and when, I create for others I let them name their own price because I enjoy.
I have had incident where I was never paid which isn’t right, but I just chalk it up as it’s a way of giving back.
People think that when you create there should always be a high price. If you love what you do and you have the resources why not create and give away the feeling of giving should out way the price. Now, don’t get me wrong if I have to out of my way to buy a certain material than yes, I would like to be paid.
Are their any pieces that you are particularly proud of?
My time is precious, and if and when I finish a project ahead of time, I am always proud of it.
Where do you see yourself venturing with your art over the next five years?
I would love to sell my items on a regular basis but trying to find the time is an issue.
Are your works currently in galleries at this time?
If someone would like to purchase one of your pieces, how can they contact you or your agent?
They can contact me through Facebook. I can create whatever they want, just need to have a consultation with them first.
What would you say has been the most significant way that art has influenced your development as a person and as a spiritual being?
It allows me to escape my everyday life and enter a world of beauty. A world that is unlike my own.
What advice would you leave those who are contemplating whether or not to pursue their drive to create their own art to share with the world?
Do it even if you do it just for yourself. Nothing can make you feel better than something that you have created. Something you have nourished and dreamt about. Take it upon yourself to try to create your own and if and when you do not matter the outcome. Wear it proud let people know it’s an original piece. If it’s not perfect you say to yourself it’s a unique work of art and I love every miss step that it took to get to this point. Love it and it will love you back.
Is there anything you would like to say that we did not discuss?
Be true to yourself, we are not made to be alike, be adventurous, be unique, be proud that you are different and your not a clone of society. Thank your ancestors no matter where they may have come from for providing you the path that you are on. Listen to you internal self more your gut will never lean astray. Stand strong, stand brave, and when the time is right reach out and embrace what’s next.
For those of you who are inspired by this artist, it is rumored that the folks who put on Pagan Pride Detroit are planning on asking her back again this year in order to facilitate her doing an instructional workshop again. She was loved the last time and had rave reviews. This writer even was gifted with a pink set of her soleless crochet sandals. They were cosmically awesome. And they were swiftly confiscated by this writer’s preteen who wore them out after long usage. Contact her if you want to experience something magical.
If you would like to discover more about Pagan leisure arts, there are many forums out there. For information on patterns, Walking the Hedge’s site has a great archived forum. Become inspired.