I first noticed Micky Aldana’s finger-crocheted designs at a Downtown Long Beach Art Walk last fall. The bright colored yarn drew me in, but the many numerous cap designs is what made me purchase. There were probably over 20 crocheted hats in every color you can imagine and styles fitted for all. I ended up choosing a pinkish beanie and it’s my most favorite hat I own!
In addition to her obvious crochet talent, after talking with her, I was amazed to learn that she doesn’t use needles, only crochets with her fingers! Her kindness and passion for her skill was also apparent, so let me further introduce you to an innovative and inspiring woman who does so much for the Long Beach community, far more than providing us with stylish hats, scarves, gloves, shawls and skirts.
1. Can you give us a brief description of your background and how long you have lived in Long Beach?
I have been living in Long Beach on and off since 1989. Grew up in Argentina, moved to US at age 10, moved back to Argentina at age 19, and got a degree in Fashion Design. At 24, moved back to the US and worked for a clothing company for 7 yrs.
I started Aldana Mica Company last year. I have participated in art related classes since I was 5 (thanks to my mom) and I come from a very creative family, which I think influenced me profoundly.
2. I know you started crocheting at a very young age, can you talk about your influences and how you got involved in finger crocheting, specifically?
My mom taught me to crochet with a needle when I was young…I would make clothing for my dolls, and then for myself. Around 1999, while taking a theatrical fashion design summer course at a museum in San Telmo, Buenos Aires, we (the students) had to do a special project. We were handed a bag of miscellaneous items, which we needed to use to create a costume for our characters. Luckily for me, there was yarn inside that bag, but I had no needles around. So, I thought I would try to make something with my fingers and luckily enough I was able to create a cape. It didn’t look very good…but I liked the idea of crocheting with my fingers, so I kept practicing and now I think I got it down. I have been doing it ever since. I had not heard about finger crocheting at the time when I started, until a few years ago I found a video on You tube. I also taught my family and close friends and now I am doing workshops and love teaching it to others.
3. What do you love about finger crocheting?
It calms and focuses me, it brings me happiness to create something new, it’s something I can share with others. Finishing a project is very exciting too, and being able to teach someone else and see their own excitement is so rewarding and fulfilling. Creating something useful and unique that keeps you warm and/or can decorate your home is super! Also, there are numerous amounts of projects that can be created, the possibilities are endless. Not having to worry about traveling on the airplane with crochet hooks. Being able to take it anywhere at anytime. I finger crochet while waiting and riding the bus/metro, on road trips, by the fire, while watching a movie…anywhere.
4. You also like to reuse materials or scraps of yarn that others might throw away, correct?
Yes! The only things I throw away in my home are vegetable/fruit scraps and the dust I sweep off the floor. Everything else either gets recycled or reused. Cardboard gets cut into business cards, non-recyclable plastics become filling for floor pillows (idea I got from a book called “Make it, Don’t Throw it”), milk cartons and tp rolls are used to make bags and musical shakers at kid’s workshops, wire hangers get turned into jewelry frames, used envelopes become note pads, empty pens are turned into yarn kites or used as the legs of dolls ( wall art), beer/wine/water bottles become hanging water plant pots, scraps of yarn/thread/fabric/ribbon become pins/broaches/hair clips, yogurt lids are turned into flowers and sometimes dried orange peels are turned into butterflies…
5.Where did you go to Fashion School? What did you enjoy about it?
EL INSTITUTO SUPERIOR DE DISEÑO DE MODA inBuenos Aires, Argentina. I had two teachers that really helped me explore my creativity, Gabriel and Christina. They had assignments like taking the story of Madame Butterfly and designing a wardrobe for Cirque de Soleil based on that story. We also had to assign them a job function, like the clown or the acrobat, and make sure their costumes would allow them to perform properly. They are the same teachers who taught the summer program where finger crochet sparked in my head.
6. You seem to be very involved with the Long Beach community. Can you tell us what collectives/groups you are associated with?
I am associated with The Long Beach Depot for Creative Reuse, Catalyst, Green Long Beach, 2nd Saturday Art Walk( now titled Downtown Long Beach Art Walk, LB Creative, Circle Painting Community, The Growing Experience, Lyons At Night and various boutiques (listed some below).
7. You will be attending the Children’s Day and Earth Day celebration at El Dorado Park this Saturday, what will be going on at this event?
I will be representing The LB Depot for Creative Reuse and I will be doing an up-cycled/recycled art workshop for kids, their families, and anyone else that wants to join in. We will be making bags/purses out of milk cartons, musical shakers out of empty tp/paper towel rolls, weaving strawberry baskets, all until supplies last. And if any youth or adults want to try to finger crochet, than we’ll do that too.
8. Where can residents view your work and purchase?
Items for sale
My up-cycled dolls will be exhibiting at Averyboo for First Fridays on May 6th. My work can be purchased at: Iguana Imports (clothing, accessories, some up-cycled art)…The LB Depot for Creative Reuse (up-cycled art), Beach Health Tree (Lavender eye pillows)…Belle’s Nest in Sierra Madre, Etsy:www.aldanamica.etsy.com, Thread Society: www.threadsociety.com/aldanamica
Last fall/winter 2010 my winter items sold at Twig & Willow so I hope to be able to be in their store again this coming fall/winter 2011.
Iguana Imports, Consignment Corner, InspyrArts for kids and adults (all are ongoing but no specific dates set after May)
During the spring/summer, workshops come up sporadically so people can check my blog for those dates/times. I try to post a list of events monthly.
Averyboo: workshops for adults on the last Wed of every month from May-Aug, and currently working on ideas for kid’s workshops.
9. Anything else you would like to include?
Thank you so much for thinking of me for this piece. I am so grateful. As an earthling on this planet, my wish is for people to share with each other and stay informed, become aware of how we can help the environment and how much she needs us, unite and reuse!
I thank you Micky, for the awesome beanie and the opportunity to highlight you, and Long Beach thanks you for the wonderful things you do for this city.
Please check out Micky’s products in local stores, online shop www.aldanamica.etsy.com, and visit her blogwww.aldanamica.blogspot.com for great workshop information and updates on her activities. Also, visit the Children's Day Event Saturday, April 30 with info on her blog page.