Happy Pride Month! Over the next several weeks I hope you will join me on an adventure celebrating and recognizing makers within the LGBTQIA+ community! Every Wednesday this month I have a fun line up of individuals who will share their fiber arts stories.
Mathew Boudreaux AKA Mister Domestic
Mathew Boudreaux of Mister Domestic learned to sew as a kid, but the antiquated binary gender expectations of his parents got in the way, so he never really felt compelled to up his game. Shortly after his daughter Helena was born in 2013, his spouse bought him a couple sewing classes and then he took off like he was at the races. With his kid as his muse and inspiration, the quality and coolness of the stuff he made far exceeded anything that he thought he’d ever be able to create with his own hands. Then the social media powers-that-be combined with his desire to test out the knowledge he’d just acquired from his MBA at Portland State sparked the serendipitous journey that is the Mister Domestic of today. He’s a fabric & pattern designer, sewing instructor, owner of his new online sewing school SEW U, inspirational speaker, consultant, and global influencer with his TikTok, YouTube & Instagram each set to surpass over 100,000 this year. But hands down, his favorite thing about this journey is the truly inclusive Mister Domestic community that has been created by all of its members. And everyone is legit welcome. Unless their happiness is based on the oppression of someone else, of course.
Mrs. Deveter: Mathew thank you so much for agreeing to chat with me today. I have to tell you that the entire Furls team are huge fans of yours! Every time we see you on social media with an Odyssey hook in your hands we squeal with joy! We are excited to learn all about you. From social media we’ve learned that you are a social rights activist. The shirts you sell on your website are perfect example of your commitment to the ‘people’.
Queer activism through the visual arts is nothing new but over the past decade, there have been quite a few emerging queer artists working in fiber. I was recently introduced to the term “craftivism”, in the beautiful coffee table book, “Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community”. Would you consider yourself a craftivist? If so, what does that mean to you?
Mister Domestic: If someone else needed to call me that, I wouldn’t be upset about it, but the term isn't anything that I’d ever say. I’m mostly being silly, but I’m about to get deep for a moment. So like I’m Mathew. And Mathew is all of these things including Mister Domestic, gay AF, an activist, a crafting genius, blah blah blah... And for the longest time, I felt like I needed too compartmentalize different aspects of my life. Like there were certain places I allowed micro-aggressions, or like I only did advocacy in my personal life. And last year, that need was obliterated and I began showing up, fully, as myself, everywhere that I occupied space. So anywhere I am, I am all of the things... Gay AF Craftivist included.
Mrs. Deveter: I love it!!! Well said. Are you consciously spreading a message through your craft? If so, what is your work saying?
Mister Domestic: I am now. My general M.O. on my journey of Mister Domestic has been to lead with my intuition while exploring whatever else is occupying my brain space. And now that activism is a part of the DNA of Mister Domestic, it often finds itself interwoven into my creative endeavors. So, while there might be pieces or projects that will be very direct and in your face like my “No Room for Racism in Quilting?” Quilt. Whether it’s gender through a Transgender Pride weave or racism by creating something using a variety of skin tones, I’m often trying to find ways to espouse conversations. My mission overall is to create a truly inclusive space for everyone. Which means you don’t get to sit in the corner enjoying all of this good good while actively oppressing me or my friends during your free time. I’m going to make you think and hold you (and myself) accountable. So, whether it’s my work or my literal words saying it, that’s my focus all day every day.
Mrs. Deveter: I’m here for all this “good good”. I find it so interesting how many biases and preconceived notions exist in the crafting world. For instance crochet and knitting have for a very long time been seen as something older (White) women have done. Recently there has been an emergence of men, multi-ethnic, and much younger people embracing fiber arts. Why did you learn to crochet?
Mister Domestic: My serendipitous crafting journey just led me to crochet. I was doing a lot of sewing and quilting and it was becoming more of a job, so I needed a “hobby” when I wanted to step away from fabric. I never realized I would love it as much as I do and I haven’t been able to put the hook down since I picked it up. It’s just wild to me the things that can be created with a hook and a couple skeins of yarn. Blows my mind.
Mrs Deveter: I can certainly attest to picking up a hook and being mind blown! Speaking of which, what is your favorite Furls tool?
Mister Domestic: Odyssey 6 mm. This hook changed my life. Seriously. My crochet improved exponentially after I bought my first one and it helped me discover the rhythm of crochet that I could never master with other hooks. I’m obsessed.
Mrs. Deveter: I love hearing that! The Odyssey certainly is the Tesla of crochet hooks!!! Are there any fiber artists that you particularly look up to?
Mister Domestic: You know what? This is gonna sound cheesy, but I look up to everyone who’s a maker. Like anyone choosing to make something with their own hands or try something for the first time and just has fun.... I think that’s badass and I’m legit proud of that from everyone that I see on my feed or in my email or when I chat with maker friends.
Mrs. Deveter: That is not cheesy at all. As a follow up to that question, what sort of things are inspiring you right now? Where do you look for inspiration?
Mister Domestic: Like most folks, 2020 was a year of transformation for myself and what’s inspiring me is what’s on the other side. I feel like I let go of all of the toxic relationships in both my life as Mathew and as Mister Domestic. And now I have space and time to look within to see what I truly want to do with Mister Domestic. But externally, I’ve been really inspired by what’s going on over on the Tiktok. I decided to join back in December 2020 and am so inspired by what makers are doing over there, both in what they’re making and how they’re sharing it on the platform. It’s a totally different vibe that I’ve experienced on social media and I’m living for it right now. Heck that’s where I saw the chunky crochet bees and animals using blanket yarn and of course I had to make some for myself.
Mrs. Deveter: Oh 2020 what a year! As you said it was a transformative one for many. What unexpected benefits has crocheting brought to your life?
Mister Domestic: Without crochet in 2020, I don’t know if I would’ve managed well. It legit became something I know that I can do to help me focus or decompress or calm down. I get panic attacks and this has become one of my tools to help either manage or avoid them altogether, which I think is pretty neat. But the coolest unexpected benefit is the awesome community of yarn lovers out there. There’s literally every type of humanoid that crochets so it’s really rad to both witness the diversity at large and then build a truly inclusive community.
Mrs. Deveter: Now for my final question. We live in a mass-produced, buy-it-now society. Why should people continue to make things by hand?
Mister Domestic: Because it’s amazing and people who make things are the best kind of people. And for me, it’s not about the thing that I’m making it. It’s about the experience of making. Every single thing I’ve made has unique memories trapped in them from whatever I was doing in the various places I might have constructed different components. I find that really true in crochet because it’s super easy to grab a couple skeins and a hook to go anywhere. There’s just something really special about making stuff, so I guarantee it’s not going anywhere. At least not while I’m around.
Furls Fans I hope you learned something new about Mister Domestic and have been inspired by his story. Be sure to like, and follow him on social media! His TikToks are THE BEST!
I'm Deveter Brown thanks for reading, now get back to your WIP!