Famed Irish dancer Shawn Silver steps out of his comfort zone and slips into an easy chair to get creative with cotton, spreading love and joy in the process
That Shawn Silver is creative should come as no surprise. One of Tony the Tailor’s young’uns, Silver has been blessed with musical and creative genetics. He’s also, as his father was well known for, a gem of a human being. Generous with genuine and heart-felt praise for others, Silver’s own accomplishments often go unheralded. At least as far as he is concerned they do.
However, as it was with his fancy footwork when he donned his Irish dance shoes, Silver embraces each and every gift he has to offer the world with enthusiasm as a way to give back.
While a pandemic may have quieted his taps a tad, he’s certainly not one to be idle. What has kept this lovely soul busy these days? Crochet.
“I’ve been crocheting for many years as a pastime and to make gifts for family and friends for holidays and birthdays and this past year people have been more interested in local made and home made,” he opened.
Crafting for many has become a fun and often lucrative endeavor, he continued. “I set up the iCrochet Facebook page because I was receiving lots of inquiries. It’s been fun and exciting to share my little objects d’art. The best part? I enjoy crochet because it helps me relax and I love making things for others to enjoy,” he shared.
Butterflies. Hearts. It’s all about spreading light, love, joy and a passion for colour. In fact, the idea of any art being the “colour” in life is what motivates Silver.
“When I dance, I see colour. Crochet, it’s colour. Colour is life. Colour; it’s love. It’s beautiful. And we need more colour in this life,” he said.
Silver has helped others whose passion matches his. In fact, he is planning on offering classes. “Once we are all given a green light, I will offer a class in crochet for beginners and for those who have some experience and just want to make some art like butterflies, daffodils and all sorts of applique and home decor bits. It’s fun to sit with people and make art, so I can’t wait!”
For now, Silver shared, he’s open for inquiries at any time.
“If anyone wants to learn all they have to do is send me an email at [email protected] I encourage everyone to try. Art is anything you want it to be. These creations, they’re pretty to look at. I kind of feel like I’m sculpting yarn. Like my crocheted fedora. It’s my stylized take on the traditional Canadian toque. I call it the ‘Taque.’ Lots of stuff on my Facebook page, iCrochet, to see and I love sharing it.”
Will he dance again? Silver pauses. “It’s funny. Here we are speaking on St. Patrick’s Day about crochet, and not about dance. I’m actually on sabbatical from dance – It was a good time to pursue some of my other passions and hobbies, like crochet. My husband Bruce and I have been traveling and enjoying time together. It’s really great.”
Now, no worry. He still has his flurry of feet time, too.
“I still dance every day the equivalent of 10k or so to keep fit. Every day. But I need that in my life. Staying fit and strong is a huge priority and is extremely important to me, physically and mentally. I still have private students I work with. All online now, but that’s not new for me. I’ve worked with dancers in Australia and throughout Europe online for many years. I’m very lucky. I get to enjoy my hobbies and pursue my passions, dance being the biggest part of that.”
There’s so much joy to be had, he continued.
“I draw, paint, sing. I love everything about the arts. All art. I love and collect miniatures. I’m very interested in geology and gemology, photography. I love cinema. Film noir, everything about old Hollywood. And I love crochet. I’m interested in many things actually and I tend to pursue my passions equally. Life’s too short. Bruce and I are both very passionate about so much and we have many similar interests so it’s great to have someone to share it all with.”
Being creative, he shared, is his “second language.”
Silver certainly is following his passion when it comes to crochet. “I love style and fashion. And it’s really exciting and fun to create ‘little.’ Little things, you know what I mean? Small butterflies and little hearts and little flowers; things that can go into these little miniature worlds that I find really comforting.”
The pandemic helped, he added.
“We’ve all had a lot more time on our hands to sort of focus on our hobbies and our passions. And, you know, we’re all creative one way or another. Could be woodworking. It might be painting.
“In my case, I went into crochet quite a bit, but I’ve been crocheting for a number of years. I have six sisters and my sister, Donna, she is a master of crochet. My earliest memories are dance and fabric; sewing. Crochet. These were the first things I learned to do.”
As a creative outlet, crochet has been a gift from above.
“It’s a fun way to pass time, a little creative outlet that I’ve always found really important. I like that I can give something I’ve made myself as a gift. I just really enjoy the homey quality to it.”
Beauty & Colour
While he loves making others happy, it also brings him joy as well, he admitted.
“Dance and music – I can associate colours with it and I need it because it makes me feel good and is uplifting. I’m not really sure what the psychological element is behind it, but I’ve always noticed since I was younger that dance and music can represent colour. I don’t know how to really explain it, other than to say it’s not black, you know what I mean? It’s vibrant and it’s beautiful and it inspires me.”
In addition to his tiny creations, he’s made slippers and scarves and hats, too. It’s all about adding a little beauty, and colour, to this at times drab world.
“This past year has been difficult for all of us. We had that hideous snow storm which leveled so many of us and we all went through this pandemic. A good part of the spring and summer I was crocheting a lot of Christmas gifts. And then as the fall came along, I just knew that we were heading into a cold winter again and so I started to crochet a garden. Daffodils and butterflies and things that uplifted me, things that made me feel good and gave me colour in my life, which I think contrasted to the bleak snowstorm and the bleak period that we’ve all been through. It’s a peculiar time but I was crocheting butterflies and hearts, so life was beautiful.”
Feeling down? Visit Silver’s Facebook page and look at the beauty he creates with joy.
“I think my heart is so full and I’m happy in my life and maybe, just maybe, my heart might be overflowing. So creating hearts is my way of giving away love that’s overflowing. I like the idea that somebody can take some of my little pieces and use it as a magnet or a key-chain. It can be worn on your coat or your hat or put on lampshades.”
Heaping praise on Silver for his stunning dedication is a tough sell. He’s just heeding a calling, he shared. Knowing that he’s making the world a more beautiful place one little colourful creation at a time is rewarding enough, he added.
“It’s a sense of duty, almost. I think these art pieces reminds me of the good around me and the good in life and I like to share that.”