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Meet Kelly Limerick, the Crotchet Artist in iPhone Commercials

Making art, one knit at a time.

By Judy MaePublished 5 years ago 3 min read

I remembered this girl the first time I came across the iPhone X selfie commercial.

All the other selfies in that commercial are largely your standard portrait shots—monochrome color scheme, soft edges around the people. But this girl, she was literally bursting in colorful dreads, all screaming for every ounce of my attention; her eyes, her makeup all seemed alien-like.


It didn’t take more than three minutes on Google to give me the answer I was looking for—she goes by the name of Kelly Limerick, a Singaporean artist most well-known for her crochet works, and her signature look is of course, that full head of flamboyant, vibrant synthetic dreadlocks made out of yarn.

Her works and how she became the artist that she is today intrigued me. I began my research across the internet, hoping to sneak a quick peek into her fascinating mind.

Her interest (which soon turned into a passion) for crocheting started at a young age of seven, where little Kelly upon hearing that her mum was going for some neighborhood knitting lesson, begged to tag along. From then on, like a fault line cracking up the walls of a dam, it opened little Kelly’s world to arts and it just couldn’t be stopped from there.

But it was not all smooth sailing journey for Kelly. For a country with zero resource yet to be one of the wealthiest (Fact. See Crazy Rich Asians for reference), Singapore prides herself on her financial and medical hub status, but holds little regard and understanding for the overall development of her artistic scene. It is not that arts has no place in the Singaporean society, it is just that people see arts as more of a sideline hobby. So, for Kelly, a full time crochet artist with a heavy Japanese sub-culture influence, it was—and still is—exceptionally difficult to be understood and accepted in Singapore, let alone to be celebrated.

In fact, Kelly had mentioned that till date, her mother has expressed her regret in bringing her along to knitting class on that fateful afternoon, as if not for that, Kelly would have went down the “normal” path of graduating from college and maybe becomes a doctor or lawyer. A normal day out in public is also filled with stares from strangers, some curious, while others can be downright rude and judgmental. On multiple occasions, people actually took pictures of her (without her consent) and uploaded them onto social media sites, not forgetting to throw in some really mean captions and comments to go with it.

All these setbacks didn’t stop Kelly on her path. Sometimes the more one is denied of the chance to pursue something, the more it will make the person realize how much it means to him or her. That was the case for Kelly. In the recent years, Kelly’s works have caught the media’s attention and before long, she had multiple projects from mega brands like Louis Vuitton, New Balance, Puma and of course, Apple, come knocking on her door.

I remembered during one of her interviews, Kelly had shared about how crochet to her is like a language. The rolls of yarns, like alphabets, are just plain and one dimensional; but they come into meaning and life when they go through her crochet needles, with every knot and hook bringing out the things, ideas, and feelings inside her which would otherwise be silenced. I had never given much thoughts about crotchet until coming upon this young lady, and I can’t say I even understood what Kelly is trying to express through her artworks, but it struck me as a very beautiful way of coming to understand people whose expression are totally unfamiliar to us.

We all wish to communicate and it is a fundamental core to arts; but sometimes words, dance, painting, music (and all other forms of “normal” arts) are not the only medium one can feel free enough to navigate in, sometimes it is crotchet.


About the Creator

Judy Mae

I put words on the internet.

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