Friday, March 26, 2010

A Little More Freeform Crochet...

I am taking a stroll down memory lane these days, and have decided to share some pieces here, on my blog.  This is, by far, my most favorite piece of freeform crochet.  It started out as a necklace, but then grew into more of a collar.  I  created it for Prudence Mapstone, as part of a jewelry exchange with members of the International Freeform Guild.  I worked on it during the war in 2003.  It was great to have something to focus on, and to take away the stress of hearing the frequent air raid sirens.  It was quite a challenge to make something for Prudence, who is a legend in the freeform crochet world!   I made dozens of scrumbles for this project and only used about 1/2 of them.  I find that I get the most pleasing arrangement, when I have a big assortment to choose from.  The remaining scrumbles have been used to make smaller items, such as the 2 brooches pictured below, rings, and various greeting cards.  I try not to let any scrumble go to waste!  To add interest to the piece, I embellished it with beads, sequins, seashells, felt pieces, and embroidery.  I also decorated some of the beads myself, by cutting small pieces of paper and decoupaging them onto wooden domes.  I learned a lot while creating this collar, and I believe that it was this piece that really sparked my interest in designing crochet jewelry.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stitches That Heal

This piece is a freeform crochet “doily” that I created for a fascinating installation exhibition in 2003, by fiber artist, Akiko Kotani, at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.  It was entitled “Stitches That Heal”. The concept that has helped women focus their energies and ease their everyday complex lives for centuries, led her to create the installation to celebrate the hand-work items that have often been categorized as  “busy work.”  This exhibit demonstrated how individual prosaic items can be combined to show the internal healing power of the manipulation of threads by hands. 

The inspiration for the exhibit came from a visit to her mother, who was 92 at that time.  During her visit, Akiko noticed that her mother was without a filament on her lap or in her hands for the first time. She made a revealing statement to Akiko, saying that her work with her hands had helped her to make sense of a sometimes complicated life. It soothed her nerves. Like many women, this reticence was the extent of her revelation. 

Akiko put out an international call for submissions of doilies and doily like-forms.  The doilies were placed in an intimate setting.  The focal point was her mother’s chair, representing the one on which she used to do most of her handy-work. An optional part of the submission was a description on tape and/or in writing (in one’s native language) of the degree to which stitching the objects helped heal and /or helped to focus on a situation. This tape collection was orchestrated into a sound element of the installation.

The base of my doily was an old fisherman's net. I cut a shape out of the net, then I embellished the piece with crocheted scrumbles and scraps of burlap. Finally, twigs from a date palm tree were woven in amongst the scrumbles.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An Adventure in Crochet and Recycling!

One day, a few years back, I was cleaning out a drawer and came across an old roll of film.  I was going to toss it out, but decided to pull the film out instead, and survey the possibility of using it for something other than its intended use.   I had just finished a project, where I had punched holes in leather and crocheted an edging, so when I saw the holes in the side of the film, I thought about crocheting into them and what I could make.  I decided to cut the edges off of the film, and make it into bangles, crocheted with pearl cotton.  I was quite pleased with the results and contacted Kim Werker who was the editor at that time, of Crochet Me.  She was interested in publishing the pattern for them, but was concerned about the safety of film being worn next to the skin.  I then did some research, and found an expert in the film industry, Chuck Woodworth, who kindly responded to my email.  He said that the coated film base contains gelatin layers that will swell and get sticky if they get wet or damp, and they might stick to each other, or to the wearer.  He also said that there are some hardeners in the coatings that could produce a skin reaction.  So, unfortunately, I had to scrap the "Snapshot Bangles" pattern.  I still think that they are interesting to look at, and might think of another, non-wearable, use for them.  In the end, it turned out to be a creative exercise in recycling, rather than a viable design submission.  Hopefully, in the future I will be more successful with my recycling and crochet!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Crochet Everywhere!

Wherever I look these days, crochet appears!  Could it be because it is National Crochet Month?... Or just because it is such a beautiful craft and inspiration!  The photo above is my daughter's computer mouse pad. We bought it at my favorite Japanese 600 fils store, Daiso.   It wasn't until we got it home that I noticed the crochet motif design printed on it.  There are more than 90,000 items in that store, so everything is a bit of a blur until you get it home!  My next prediction is:  crochet motif wallpaper.  If I ever find it, I think I must have some on a wall in my studio!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Art Possibly Inspired By Crochet Stitch Diagrams?

I was passing by a trendy restaurant in a new mall here in Kuwait, and noticed that this lovely artwork painted on the side of their wall, resembled a crochet stitch diagram.  Perhaps I have had my nose buried in stitch dictionaries too much lately, but even my husband agreed.   The fabric used to upholster their seating also had this crochet diagram design.  I suspect that the artist translated the design on the fabric to create the mural.  My crochet projects are often inspired by things I see when I am out and about, and I love that artists are now being inspired by crochet!  

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Making of a Contest Entry (Part 2)

Things are progressing nicely with my contest entry.  I have completed 2 panels in a beautiful Japanese stitch pattern.  Now,  I am working in layers on top of the panels to introduce other colors.  The photo above is  of the back side.  I still have 2 more rows to do plus some embroidery embellishment to the top side.  It is very exciting making decisions as I go and not worrying about anyone ever having to reproduce the piece!