On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about creating an inclusive craft community with my guest Cecilia Nelson-Hurt.
Cecilia is a proud Afro Latina who was taught to crochet as a child by her Grandma Sophie and learned to knit many years later. Known to many in the fiber community as ‘Creative Ceci,’ she is a global knitting and crochet enthusiast. Ceci is a Diversity & Inclusion practitioner for global brand L’Oreal and has over 15 years experience developing and executing initiatives to create an equal opportunity workplace. She leverages her training and experience as a speaker at many fiber events and is also an inaugural member of the ‘Vogue Knitting Live!’ Diversity Advisory Council and on the Board of Knit the Rainbow, an organization founded to provided knitting garments, crafting instruction and support to homeless LGBTQ+ youth. Ceci loves to travel and ensures she visits a yarn shop wherever she goes. To date she’s visited over 150 shops both across the USA and internationally.
This episode is sponsored by Digits & Threads.
The member-supported online magazine for Canadian fibre and textile arts.
Digits & Threads is the member-supported online magazine for Canadian fibre and textile arts. No matter where in the world you are, there’s something crafty in the Great White North for you. Use the code ALLIANCE for 10% off your first year at digitsandthreads.ca.
We begin this conversation with Ceci talking about her childhood and learning to crochet. She was surrounded by creative women who were skilled at sewing and other fiber-related activities
and spent summers visiting her grandfather in Panama. Cecilia explains that although she really enjoyed making potholders and doing other fiber arts when she was young, she left it behind for many years until rediscovering knitting as an adult. In high school, she had a transformative experience that helped her envision a career for herself working in marketing.
Cecilia talks about becoming a mom and attending college while caring for her own mother. She then got an admin position at a large firm. She applied to and was accepted into the firm’s leadership training program and was able to work her way up to the role of vice president until being laid off during the recession. Next, she did some consulting before getting a job in diversity recruiting at L’Oreal.
Cecilia taught herself to knit using diagrams in a book, and she was hooked. She travels frequently for work and always visits the local yarn shop in each city. Cecilia shares what she’s observed through all of those visits including what makes a brick-and-mortar shop feel welcoming and inclusive.
In January 2019, she realized that her professional experience working in diversity, equity, and inclusion would be helpful to the fiber community. She began recording videos on Instagram talking about various issues and soon was offered speaking opportunities at various events. Cecilia talks about how she learned to be a confident public speaker.
We discuss the Vogue Knitting Diversity Advisory Council, including its mission and how it’s structured. Cecilia shares some highlights of the progress this group has been able to make to date. And finally, we talk about Knitting the Rainbow, including this organization’s mission and vision.
And, of course, I ask Cecilia to share three things she’s enjoying right now. Cecilia recommends:
- Passion Planner
- using Canva to create more interesting Instagram posts,
- and journaling to practice gratitude as well as develop stronger writing skills
Keep up with Cecilia on her Instagram account to see what she’s up to.