SHIRLEY – Town native Harry Reardon-Daley first got into fiber arts when he was a young boy, around six or seven, and nowadays shares his creations and talents with people of all ages.
The 32-year-old was born and raised in town, where he learned how to braid hair when he was in kindergarten. He attended Shirley schools until high school, when he went to Nashoba Valley Technical High School for a year where he studied office tech, and then transferred to Lunenburg High School.
The talented artist lived in Barre for several years with his husband Stephan and then moved back to Shirley before settling in Leominster recently with his husband and his brother Paul Jessie Daley, an aspiring writer.
Reardon-Daley said his paternal great-grandmother taught him how to hand sew and latch hook, a form of rug making, and that she and his grandmothers on both sides “inspired me to create.”
“I saw my other grandma macrame and crochet, which inspired me to learn macrame in my teens,” he recalled. “Both my great-grandma on my dad’s side, my grandma on my mom’s side, and my step-grandmother all did some form of fiber art or multiple forms. Now I crochet, Tunisian crochet, knit, macrame, needle felt, latch hook, spin yarn, and more.”
He decided to launch Harry's Hooks and Needles in 2021 when he got certified to teach crochet. Nowadays he teaches others his skills and brings his beautiful creations to crafts fairs and shows across the region as a vendor, including the Sterling Street Market held downtown Sterling on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May through September.
Next up is the Nashoba Valley Celebration of Service on Aug. 19 from 4 to 10 p.m. at Rogers Field in Devens, a celebration of the men and women of the armed forces. Reardon-Daley will be one of the vendors and offer some of his most popular products such as stuffed Poké Balls, turtles and other adorable animal plushies, crochet dolls, to-go kits, felted wool pieces, and “small and quick sell items” like keychains.
“Customers are always fascinated in my work. However, when I tell them how much time goes into each thing I make, they always are surprised,” he shared. “Kids always throw tantrums at my booth because they want a stuffed animal I am selling, which is just both cute and hilarious.”
He offers workshops in the area and said that “people are always fascinated by the amount of work and what you can create using all forms of fiber art.” When asked what he enjoys most about teaching others fiber arts – and what inspired him to get into that field -- Reardon-Daley disclosed that “working as an activity director teaching arts and crafts made me want to pursue teaching.”
“I enjoy creating from nothing, designing, and teaching others how to do any form of fiber art,” he conveyed. “I love passing on the skill and sharing the joy that fiber art can bring to all age groups.”
He said the response to his Harry's Hooks and Needles “has been great.”
“Craft fairs draw in a lot of attention to my business but by teaching, I’m slowly building my repeat and regular customers,” Reardon-Daley imparted. “Definitely the hardest thing is building up followers on social media and just getting my designs and what I offer seen.”
He said it doesn’t bother him that he is in a field dominated by women, as he was taught by women and grew up “being friends with all of the girls.”
“I do, however, like to be the representation that not just women can be fiber artists,” he declared.
Reardon-Daley is grateful for his growing clientele and student base and that he appreciates the people who support his business endeavor.
“Thank you so much,” he conveyed. “Every like, love, share, and comment is appreciated. I love to be recognized as a fiber artist and to just get my work seen and to share my skill. I thank everyone who supports my business in whatever way possible.”
For more information follow Harry’s Hooks and Needles on Facebook (facebook.com/harryshooksandneedles), Instagram (instagram.com/harryshooksandneedles) and TikTok (tiktok.com/@harryshooksandneedles).