Crochet pools coming in! Not too late to join in!

My hope for people to join in MMMM remotely is beginning to bloom!

My mom, in Virginia, has been hard at work.  Thanks Mom!


And Maggie Dean put together a Community Crochet event at The Blend of Art and Coffee, in Prosperity South Carolina! Maggie is a former assistant of mine, and I am so excited she decided to bring MMMM with her as she traveled.  I’m looking forward to hearing more about the event.





1009308_10151634518028810_1795604310_o1014510_10151634518788810_1564855057_oI also have word that crocheting is happening in Tacoma and Soap Lake, Washington, Atlanta, Portland and Alaska!  If you still want to join in, contact me, and check out these directions.  I’d like to get the crocheted pieces around July 1st!

Mater Matrix Mother and Medium will be installed this summer, and will flow down the streets of Bellevue, Washington, and create a striking gateway to The Bellevue Arts Museum’s 67th anniversary of the BAM ARTSfair this July 26th, 27th and 28th, 2013. The installation will remain up until mid-September.



Directions for those wanting to join in MMMM this summer!

I’m sending out my first round of directions for those people requesting to join in MMMM project this summer, so I just thought i would post them to the blog as well!

I’m so thrilled at the response so far! email me at if you need more information!

Thank you so much for wanting to join in the MMMM community-based installation.  This on-going project will be a part of the 6oth anniversary of the Bellevue Arts Museum ARTSfair, in Bellevue, Wa. cascading down the streets above the fair and the entrance, celebrating both the way that art can form community and actively trying to create it!

Crocheting at Delridge Library

Crocheting at Delridge Library

Because this is the most ambitious version of the project, spanning city blocks, I wanted to get anyone involved who would like to participate, not just those able to attend the workshops that will be at the museum before and during the fair.

I would so value your contribution!

What I have loved about this project since I have been working on it since 2009, is it creates individual connections between people, even though it represents the gathering together of our larger communities around water.  I began crocheting for this summer’s iteration and a poet who was teaching a class my son was in, says to me, ‘oh that reminds me of an artwork I saw a few summers ago, and I was inspired to write a poem about it’, not realizing that I was the artist who had created the piece that spurred her on to write.  I love that this artwork seems to have a life of its own, because so many people are still a part of it, their energy, hopes and desires still move it along.

So welcome!  The first thing I need you to know is, there are really no mistakes involved in this process.  You can contribute in anyway you want to, however little or large you life allows.

You can crochet alone, or ask a few friends to a coffee shop.  Or you and a few friends could invite a few friends, or even make a public Facebook invite that invites anyone who wants to learn to crochet to join you. 

Do you have to know how to crochet to participate?  Well, you need to learn, and I wish I was there to teach you, but there are so many great sources to learn the basic stitches on Youtube (chain and single or double crochet).   But I think an exciting thing to do would be to put the word out among your friends and acquaintances that you want to learn and meet for coffee, talk, share something new about yourselves.  And anything you make is perfect for the installation, within just a few parameters.

If you know how to crochet already, in the spirit of the project, see how many new people you can teach to crochet.  It never fails, when I have done community crocheting in a casual environment (i.e. coffee shop), if there are more than two people crocheting blue stuff, people gravitate over. “What are you making?” and some even stay to help or learn.  Try it!

I never try to force a didactic message about water and our relationship to it at the communal gatherings; I want the community space to flow naturally, but I do ask a few questions sometimes once people get going.  Doing handwork allows people to feel relaxed and free- associate, and that makes for some amazing thoughts to emerge.  I would love it, if it feels right, for you to do the same.  And document some of the responses and impressions, have people write it down.  Take pictures of people with their crocheting, sharing some moments together.  I would like to share these on the MMMM blog, so make sure everyone is cool with it.  If it gets too busy, or you aren’t interested in this part of the project, that is fine too.

It can be as simple as :

-What are your earliest memories, impressions, experiences of water?

-What emotions do you connect to bodies of water you have lived near by? 

-How do you engage with water on a daily basis?  Is it mundane, sacred or some point in between?

-What do you want to change in the human relationship to water?

These things alone will get the conversation going.


Now about the crocheting.  Basically your only guidelines are to make flat rounded panels about 6-8 inches in diameter, or you can also just make chains.  They could be square – I include those too, but the rounded ones seems to reference flowing water more.  But flat or mostly flat works best when I am incorporating all the pieces together.  Ruffled pieces are just too hard to add in. And the yarn and fabric can be any color or shade of blue.  I know rivers have other colors in them…sometimes people have wanted to add green or grey or brown, but the stunning blue of this massive installation is one thing that makes it compelling to experience.  Any kind of yarn and any size hook will work.  Experiment!  Have fun!  Ask people to clean out their closets, stashes and craft bins, search the thriftstore…no need to buy anything new!

I will begin to reshape and add in panels to the installation beginning July 1st, so would like to receive the panels around that time.  I have a small amount of funding to send to about 10 groups to use a USPS Medium Flat rate box, as long as it is STUFFED full.  If you need assistance with the shipping, please let me know.


Thank you so so much for wanting to join it!  I am so excited to see what surprises will come from this open call!

And if you do belong to a knitting/crocheting/crafting group, I would love it if you would share this project among your member, or even organize an event together.  And please let me post about your group!


If you still have any questions, let me know!

Thanks so much!

Last days of Seattle summer recap: NEPO 5k walkers/crocheters, making support for MMMM in NYC

I’ve finally had a moment to digest and remember what great fun I had at the NEPO 5k on September 10th before we had to fly out to NYC to begin the newest installation of MMMM.  Paul, Hazel and I set up a Community Crochet station at the stunning turquoise and red Korean Pagoda in Daejon Park, with piles of shredded fabrics and yarn, tons of sun surrounding the pagoda, a strong breeze and just enough tree buffer to make I-90 sound like the ocean.  Like most of the art stops on the route –  a 5K-long stretch of art events, installations, performance, happenings and galleries — we spent about 2 hours alone, then a deluge of people as they all made their way to us, all seemed happy to take a rest out of the sun and have some water and crochet a bit.

All seemed enthused and engaged by the long walk and comradery of the blend of art makers, art viewers, neighbors, friends, bands of performers and the ever-shifting site and cityscape.

Map of NEPO 5K through the city

Map of NEPO 5K through the city

My lovely first guest and I talked about her visceral reaction to the female crusifix hung at Cathedral St. John the Divine she has seen in the 80’s. And then with the crush of people arriving, it was non-stop teaching and crocheting!

Unlike most of MMMM crochet events over the past few years — where production is relaxed and process-oriented — this time I really needed to crank out the crocheted ropes to accommodate the scale of the Cathedral, with some of the columns 40 feet in diameter.  At the end of the day, I thought we had enough crocheted ropes but Paul and I still had to crank out more our first two days in New York, using up every last bit of fabric I had.

But there were still a few skeins of yarn left in my suitcase to spend an afternoon crocheting on the grounds of the Cathedral with some New Yorkers…….more pictures of that to come.

The connection between making the actual supports for the installation and the way Seattle has continued to support this evolving project is not lost on me.  So thank you for the send-off Seattle and  NEPO 5K-ers!

You can also still support this project traveling to NYC through my Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds necessary to cover some of the shortfalls from time off from work, materials, shipping and travel expenses.  I have 9 days left to raise 40% of my fund-raising goal …it’s getting very close but not there yet.  If you don’t know how Kickstarter works, you must meet your financial goal or receive none of the money…yikes.  Deep thanks to the 34 backers who have already pledged, you don’t know how heartening your support is in this uneasy time for my family.  Seriously, thank you!

And thank you Klara Glosova for a triumphant event to celebrate the community-driven art activity blossoming in our time.

Two of my favorite people in the world , Vis-a-Vis Society!

Two of my favorite people in the world , Vis-a-Vis Society!

Check out the slideshow for more images of the day and the James Harris after-party Bavarian Beer Garden.  There should be Polka at every art event!

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‘MMMM’ installation in NYC needs your help!

If you are at all interested in my process-based installation ‘Mater Matrix Mother and Medium’, I hope you’ll consider supporting it as it travels to NYC, even if just through a very small donation, on Kickstarter.  I sincerely appreciate the support!

ALSO:  I’ll be at The Cathedral St. John the Divine this Sunday September 18th, 2011, crocheting on the grounds just behind the Peace Fountain.  If you just happen to be in NYC, I would love it if you could join me to crochet little pools for the next incarnation of MMMM.  I’ll be there from 12-3pm, and will have all materials and hooks, and can teach anyone to crochet.  If you have extra scrap blue yarn, I would gladly accept that too!  Or just drop by and say hello, and take a peak at the installation in the Cathedral.  Here’s the Facebook invite!

Thank you!

A little film from the “Knitting and Networking” event at the AFTA conference on June 19th


YouTube – hooked in seattle 7 1 09.

A perfect example of the flow of conversation  when people have something to do with their hands.  (but it looks like I’m talking about washing dishes….)

We all make art

I found this environmental fiber/community fiber-based art practice by Iranian artist Atefeh Khas on another friend’s website (another amazing environmental/fiber/community-based writer artist, Abigail Doan).  I came across these images just as I was beginning to work my river into the trees, and just as all the storm of the Iranian election was beginning.  I, of course, feel a great deal of kinship to the work I am seeing on Atefeh’s website, and am reminded of the freedoms I have to do and share what I love.  I am also reminded by her work of how patterns, materials, impulses and desires for beauty, kinship and meaning span all cultures, and art can shorten the distances between us.   












Dancing at the Sustainable West Seattle Festival a few weeks ago


Patti's hands

Patti's hands

I’m continuing to try to catch up with posting about all the great places and events I’m visiting, in no particular order.  A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of bringing my project to a booth at the Sustainable West Seattle Festival.

getting sunburned

getting sunburned

  I just happened to share my booth with West Seattle’s “Dance for Joy” studio, who spent their time teaching people to dance in the street!

Dance for joy, ya'll

Dance for joy, ya'll

 I also chatted it up with members of West Seattle’s Senior Line dance troupe, all decked out in fringe.  I want to kick my own shin for not taking their picture, drat!  For a good part of the day, I felt like I was in the middle of a musical, which is a pretty good way to feel. DSC_0097 Met many West Seattlites excited about this project sited in their neighborhood!  (Still hoping to catch up with some of them for crocheting this weekend when I’ll be at Delridge Day at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 11am-4pm)!  I also began having the trippy experience (it’s now happened at least 5 times!) of having someone say to me “There’s this show down in Portland that you would love….”  or  “I saw this show at BAM last year, did you see it?, you would have liked it…”  That’s me, those are my shows…  It’s a funny experience, takes me off guard, I get tickled…I’ll say it.  But it also got me thinking about another benefit I’m gaining from this project.  Often, when I set up a huge installation, it’s like a gigantic marathon, all I can think about.  It goes up, there is an opening for a few hours, then I leave.  People see it, and I never really get to hear their thoughts about it.  A review may happen, and a friend or two may email.  But in general, there is not a lot of discussion with people I do not know about what I made, what they saw in it, how they felt about it, etc.  Being so out in public, so all over the city with MMMM, I’m getting these conversations that I have never had before.  Critics are one thing, friends, other artists are another.  But getting to hear what the general public thinks about your work is eye-opening.  Valuable.

Robert, chain maker

Robert, chain maker


not so precious

not so precious