Thursday, July 6, 2006

Sculptural Knitting and Crocheting

Hi Everyone,

On the Free Form Crochet List, the topic of sculptural needlework came up.  The writer asked if any of us had any experience with this medium and if so, to share our experiences.  The question brought to mind my experiences and I thought that it was a great topic to share with all of you. 

Many years ago, when I worked as the needlework instructior for Bloomingdales in NY, I met Mark Dittrick.  Mr. Dittrick had just written a book called HARD CROCHET.  He made very unusual articles, bowls, vases etc with a hook and all manner of cords, thread etc.  He was so enthusiastic, that I thought I would give it a try.  I discovered quite rapidly that this was definitely not "my thing".  My hands hurt so badly, that I could not knit or crochet for a week.  That was the end of "hard crochet" for me.

Years later, while vacationing in Florida, I saw the most enchanting dolls in a local yarn shop.  By now I was a grandmother, so I started on a journey of making 8 of them, and quite a journey it was.  They are from a series of leaflets, from designer Jean Greenhowes, whose wonderful, whimsical dolls are fabulous.  The dolls are all different, with the most incredible details.  Pictured above is the Golfer Clown.  After this project was completed, I vowed never to do anything sculptural or doll like again.  "stick to fashion" I told myself.

More years go by, and now I am on the Internet, I am incredibly busy, my days are flying by, I am designing again, teaching all over the place, writing books again etc, and --  one of our fellow listers, Mirjam Cohen of Haifa, tells us that she is putting together a crochet  exhibit in Israel.  She invites several of us to participate.  The theme was to be figures, any interpretation that we wanted.   At first I did not want to participate, but having my work in a museum in Israel was so tempting that I agreed to do it.  I had no clue as to what I would do.  I was fairly new to the Internet, and the fact that, through our list, I was literally meeting people all over the world was mind boggling to me.  It dawned on me that our common interest was crochet and I tried to come up with a concept promoting this idea.

Coincidentally, at the same time I was attending a series of lectures by Dr. Rock Brynner, on literature.  Dr. Brynner's special cause is making people aware of how we are eroding our natural resources, and so he started his lecture with a little speech about this.  He likened our world to a sweater, went on to say, how someone was snipping a stitch here, and another person snipping a stitch there, and soon the whole sweater would unravel.  Someone in the audience, knowing I was there, said "give it to Margaret, she can fix it".  Well it did get a laugh, and wouldn't it be great if it were that easy.  I left that night with the seed of CONNECTIONS planted in my brain. 

Thinking of the world as a giant sweater, with everyone, crochet hook in hand, working to restore their little corner of earth.  WOW, I liked it a lot.    My grandchildren helped me find  a picture of an oval world map (I needed a visual to copy and wanted it oval instead of round) and some costumes.  My son helped by cutting down very small crochet hooks to fit my doll's hands.  I was on a roll.  While I loved my idea, I personally think of my execution of it, as very child like.  In spite of this, people seemed to like it.  It was in the exhibit, along with some wonderful artists works, and I was thrilled to be part of it all.  Pictures of the exhibit may be seen at  

Once again, I am thinking, that I probably will never do this again, but I have learned one thing over the years, and that is - never say never.

Have a great day everyone





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