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….)

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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

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not so precious

not so precious

At Delridge Library….all about the Mother

DSC_0225It’s been almost three weeks of really traveling the cardinal directions of Seattle.  Today I’m spending some time crocheting up huge strips of hand-dyed silk, alpaca and pearls for the wearable element of MMMM, and I also need to reflect upon and share some of the places I have been to.  Thank you Delridge neighborhood for joining in with MMMM!  

brother and sister crocheting duo

brother and sister crocheting duo

 

A diverse group of all ages

A diverse group of all ages

Now that Camp Long has been confirmed as the site for this installation integrated into the natural environment, interpreting and celebrating our urban creeks and watersheds, it felt good to be working just around the corner from the Longfellow Creek watershed at The Delridge Library , and sharing my project with members of the community the creek runs through.  

It was one of my best attended events that wasn’t a street fair, several children playing hookie from homework made long beautiful chains, including 2 four years olds.  Towards the end of the day, yarn was everywhere with kids running around the room eating animal crackers, and still crocheting.  I loved it!  For me, art and learning are both messy chaotic and wayfaring processes, full of sensory overload.  So I was quite pleased with the rumpus!  And glad I could create a space where children can mess around and babies can screech while mother messes around with yarn!   Even my doula stopped by, Betsy Hoffmeister who is an activist in her community supporting mothers and children with birth and breastfeeding support.  

Betsy and Becca

Betsy and Becca

We have hardly seen each other since she was with me during the birth of my son, so I am really thrilled to have a tiny fuzzy whirlpool made by her hands join this long river.   She sat and taught her daughter to crochet, as well as two other mother and child pairs.  

Brenda teaches her son

Brenda teaches her son

Crocheting has been a way for me to generate my giant installations in tiny bits of time, because it’s a very simple looping process I can keep in a little bag and carry with me throughout my daily life.  My ordinary experiences of watching my kid at the playground or waiting for a few minutes in the car get imbedded in the larger mythical narrative of my work.

I'm just waiting...not driving

I'm just waiting...not driving

 

 

  I always feel like this correlates with how myths or archetypes would have been created, the repetition of the ordinary story until it transcends the individual.  So to have these moments of mothers and  children, passing hands through hands, recorded in knots in this work, to me, gives it some powerful magic.

See the entire set of images here

Mariko and little one

Mariko and little one

Robert and Tenny hold back nothing

Robert and Tenny hold back nothing

 

babies don't crochet, but they sing for us

babies don't crochet, but they sing for us

 

 

already a crocheting ace, taught by her grandmother

already a crocheting ace, taught by her grandmother

 

a tiny pool

a tiny pool

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A HUGE thank you to Karin Skacel Haack at Skacel Yarn! Crochet hooks for kids!

This piece is bringing me in contact with so many generous people, freely giving their support (a hem, Sharon Arnold at dimensions variable), encouragement, their time, old clothes, old yarn, etc. etc.  But I have to just also give a gigantic thank you to Karin Skacel Haack , the president of Skacel Collection, Inc. , a Seattle-based family business importing yarns and beautiful German crochet hooks.  Karin contacted me during the making of my last project, The Silvering Path, and wanted to donate some yarn. crochet-party I believe she had seen Small but Mighty Wandering Pearl, and also one of her newest designers had helped me with some beading on that project.  She generously gave us a mountain of yellow yarn and other supplies.  She also came for a day and crocheted.  Karin and I recently got in touch again, and she again wanted to donate more yarn and asked me what else I might need for this new massive project.  I told her how I have been giving away my crochet hooks to kids who come to the events, and yarn where I could, to the point it was outside of my budget.  She said she’d find me some hooks too.

Well, her awesome web designer Candice, came to the Southwest Library crochet event with a giant bag of the most beautiful blue yarns, and a box of an unbelievable amount of glittery crochet hooks (yes, they have gold glitter in them, they are truly the glam rockstars of crochet hooks).  Not only has she insured that I can take this piece to the scale that I would like it to be without busting my budget, but also I can make sure to pass on a crochet hook to every kid I come across.  

Skacel yarn and hooks!

Skacel yarn and hooks!

Crochet hooks are like special wands of transformation, simple and elemental, archetypal tools that can create infinite variety through the single gesture of knotting loops inside of loops.  I don’t even know how old they are…..It feels good and full-circle to hopefully keep a kid working with their hands.  Handwork and reading were really the saving grace of my childhood.  Someone somewhere taught me the simple gestures that have shaped my life and set my hands and mind into the motions that will probably be with me for as long as I know.  Thank you Karin for such generosity.

 

 

crocheting at Delridge Library

crocheting at Delridge Library

 

four hands together

four hands together

All you new crocheters, remember…..

 

Beautiful hands working at SAM Olympic Sculpture Park

Beautiful hands working at SAM Olympic Sculpture Park

……..insert, wrap, pull through one, wrap again, pull through two, insert, wrap, pull through one, wrap again, pull through two…

Many many thanks to all who have joined in!