Sarah Joy Tan creates flawed characters to celebrate life’s imperfections.
While many people may be hesitant to acknowledge their shortcomings, Sarah Joy Tan is one who does so without inhibition. In fact, the 21-year-old is happy to share her (perceived) faults and foibles through loops of yarn.
On Clumsy Crochet, an Instagram page that she started last year, she’s shared the flawed characters she created.
“I wanted to share this part of me with people because the idea behind it is vulnerability, and you can’t be vulnerable if you are not sharing it with someone,” the Ngee Ann Poly graduate explained.
One of her first characters is Henry the Septopus – a tiny octopus which is short of one tentacle.
Sarah said Henry was born accidentally. She had wanted to crochet a normal octopus but she tied off and secured the end when she’s stitched only 7 tentacles.
That’s when Sarah found herself relating to Henry’s imperfection.
“I have been impulsive before and I have lost parts of myself – figuratively, of course, I didn’t lose a limb.
“I’ve lost part of myself or I’ve been hurt,” said Sarah, who decided to keep Henry the way he is.
This episode inspired her to conceptualize other perfectly imperfect characters, such as George.
George is a cute basketball-sized blue-white elephant with one eye permanently sewn shut.
Sarah shared how she had a tendency to “close one eye to the flaws and shortcomings of other people” because she either liked them too much, or simply “didn’t want to recognize that some people are [deeply] flawed”.
George, in a way, embodies a tendency that Sarah and many others share. While this is not necessarily a flaw, she hopes she can sometimes “open both eyes” to see others for who they are and not who she wants them to be.
Sarah is now studying Sociology and Communication at The University of Melbourne, but she’s committed to creating more characters and perfecting her handiwork.
“From the moment I conceptualize the idea to the very last moment when I end off the stitch and tie the final knot, it feels complete.
“It’s like I’ve gone through the first step of a mini journey of accepting that this is a part of me that I need to work on.”
She also hopes that Clumsy Crochet can be more than just a creative and therapeutic outlet for her. She hopes those in her generation, who’re so used to seeing perfect bodies and perfect lives on Instagram, can learn to celebrate our perfectly imperfect selves.