ACC Member Spotlight: Jaime Gjerdingen

ACC Member Spotlight: Jaime Gjerdingen

Jaime Gjerdingen

Jaime Gjerdingen, ACC member and founder of LitKnit

We're launching a new series to highlight our fabulous members, and first up is Jaime Gjerdingen, the founder of the Twin Cities nonprofit LitKnit, which connects neighbors through craft and literature. We're fortunate to be home to a weekly LitKnit circle at the American Craft Council Library, and we wanted to share more about Jaime and her connection to craft and ACC.

What was your first experience with ACC?
Coming into the library to ask if the ACC would be willing to let our LitKnit circle meet there once a week.

What encouraged you to join as a member?
When our LitKnit Circle began meeting at the ACC Library, I wanted to give back to the ACC in some way for their generosity to our organization. That was my initial reason, but I continue because of my belief in the importance of craft to benefit people's lives.

You have a unique relationship to ACC in that your nonprofit regularly meets in our library. Can you share more about that and how it has impacted your work?
It has been amazing to meet in the ACC Library. Just being in the space, I think, forms appreciation for craft in our participants. I see the kids go and look at the pieces that are there. We have been there when artisans have brought in their collections and set them up to display. I feel those experiences help the kids feel that being an artisan is an accessible possibility for them. The people who work at the ACC are always friendly and encouraging to our group. Having access to the world of craft through the ACC, I have come to believe more and more that the work our nonprofit is doing matters - that it is important to expose young people and those who may not know about craft yet to the possibilities of a craft-inspired life.

What made you decide to attend the Craft Cage Match?
I felt like it was a great opportunity for my family to be exposed to the fun of craft. It was an incredibly accessible way to interact with the ACC for them, especially at a neighborhood brewery because it made it a great dinner and entertainment event.

How did you come to craft?
I was watching the Craft in America series from PBS, had come to a Salon Series event, and was starting a nonprofit that sought to bring the traditions of craft to people in their neighborhoods; through all those factors, I realized I am a craftsperson and am passionate about it.

What inspires you and your work?
Possibility and beauty inspire me in my work as a craftsperson. In my work with the nonprofit, I am deeply inspired and encouraged when I see someone we are teaching grab on to their craft with passion. I love to see them grow in confidence and hope that they can make things that benefit themselves and the world.

Why does craft matter to you?
I think, in our increasingly abstract and digital age, craft is extremely necessary to keep us concrete and grounded in our bodies and the physical world. I think practicing a craft actually forms our inner worlds in ways that make us value the outer world and people around us. I also think craft is a powerful community building tool and I desire to see people in distressed areas have more access to it.

Member Spotlight features American Craft Council members and their connection to craft. Are you a member who would like to be featured? Let us know! Would you like to become an ACC member? Join today!