Most people use social media for selfies and cat pictures. Not so Phil Ferguson. Inspired by Melbourne’s foodie culture, he rediscovered a dormant love of granny’s favourite crafting technique, and started crocheting colourful food headpieces that are as witty as they are wacky. His Instagram account, featuring the artist deadpanning as he’s transformed into a hamburger or piece of sushi, makes for joyous viewing. Bibelot sits down for a yarn with ChiliPhilly.
1. How and when did you discover the joys of crochet?
A few years ago I taught myself from Youtube. I studied Fine Art so I already had crochet as a skill set, but I didn’t do it as much as I have been within the last year or so.
2. Tell us about your creative routine – do you work in a studio or at the kitchen table, what’s your caffeinated beverage of choice, do you listen to music or work in silence?
I drink a lot of coffee and just sit in my room with something playing! I sometimes work in silence because it helps me work within a time period, sometimes listening to something distracts me and I take longer than I should!
3. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people.
I have pretty long hair! I guess in my photos my hair is covered up, but I’m growing out my hair so it’s a bit longer than you’d expect.
4. How long does it take to make a crocheted headpiece?
It probably takes a day or two of solid, caffeine fuelled crocheting!
5. You’ve said that you only started focusing on hat production when you started your Instagram account. How important is social media for the modern artist?
I think it is somewhat important but not necessary. You just need to understand how certain industries work, and social media is the right path for me with the direction I want to go in life. I consider using my Instagram as a part of my practice and not as a tool to advertise myself to a larger audience. So I guess for young artists, social media can be a great way to put yourself out there, but you also need to be doing real world things for it to be worthwhile.
6. What inspires you – apart from food?
I always say my two main influences are the TV shows RuPauls Drag Race and Adventure Time! I’m all about fun, becoming a character, and colour!
7. The photos of you wearing different food items had Bibelot in stitches (sorry) – what comedians or films make ChiliPhilly laugh?
I find lots of things funny. While I don’t have any specific references, I always find either really smart jokes funny or really random moments funny. Start randomly pretending you are an animal and I’ll love it.
8. How has moving to Melbourne influenced your work?
It has forced me to think of different strategies to make friends! I wouldn’t say that it forced me to make crocheted food hats, but it definitely allowed me to have to look at starting an Instagram account and utilising it as a friend making tool.
9. Which famous person would you like to see wearing one of your hats, and which hat would you pick?
I’m not sure! The thing is, I don’t really let people wear them just randomly. If I do make them for someone else, I would want to make them something with the intention of giving it to them and it being a new thought or idea. So if any famous people want a hat, just ask!
10. When are you happiest?
When I finish making a hat and it’s uploaded on Instagram!
Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to SING.
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
What is your most treasured possession?
Which living person do you most admire?
My future husband.
What is your favourite sound?
The great outdoors.