Showing posts with label textile art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label textile art. Show all posts

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Knit-Perfect Portraiture

Polish artist Izabela Kaczmarek-Szurek, who also goes by the name Formallina, works in various media: painting, illustration, typography design and, of course, extreme knitting. In 2008 she created a calendar using twelve of her Warhol-esque knitted portraits of various famous faces (George Michael, Joan Collins, David Bowie, Paris Hilton) all incorporated into common knitted items (a sweater, a bikini, a cushion, a dog sweater), in ways that on the whole seem a sardonic commentary on the celebrity's individual and collective meaning and value in our culture.

You can check out all twelve of the calendar images here, and visit Formallina's blog to see and read about more of her work. Formallina's grasp of the English language is a little uncertain, but her artwork has a clear and definite universal appeal.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Where the Knitted Things Are

Artist Reina Mia Brill likes to create bizarre but cute creatures (such as those above, in a piece entitled, "If You Keep Making Faces") through a several step process that combines clay sculpting, painted, and knitted wire mesh made on antique knitting machines. As Brill states on her website,

I make creature sculptures that live in a children’s world. Part animal and part human, their lives are filled with mischief, insecurity, fears, and curiosity. Their story begins as a lump of clay which is slowly formed through my fingertips. After being bisque fired, colorful underglazes are painted on the surface. Once all the firing is finished, I pause, change pace and step back in time. Sitting down with my 1920’s and 1960’s knitting machines I decide how to transform the glazed surface with an unexpected texture, knitted wire. Colorful wire mesh is stretched and sewn over the hard clay surface for the actual skins and garments for the creatures. These old mechanical machines are truly precious. I love using them for a renewed purpose, which adds to the story and fabled world where my creatures reside.

You can visit Brill's website to learn more about her and her work and especially to see more of her fantastical knitted mesh creatures. Which I so want to see starring in an animated movie.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Does Anybody Really Knit What Time It Is?

Norwegian design student Siren Elise Wilhelmsen's final student assignment at the Berlin University of Art before her 2010 graduation was to design something on the theme of "Everything Counts". Wilhelmsen created a knitting clock that she entitled "Developing Time — Time Developing", and that shows the passage of time by showing a process. This clock is an impressive multi-tasking appliance, as it can be used as a 24-hour clock and takes one stitch every half hour. Anyone who buys a clock like this will have to stick to the stove top timer if they want to cook an egg, but will have a new 2 metre/6'7" scarf at the end of the year.

Wilhelmsen, who is now working as a designer, talks about her knitting clock project in the video above. The knitting clocks don't seem to be widely available as yet, but Wilhelmsen dreams of designing for IKEA, so it may happen. In the meantime we're just going to have to knit our own scarves.

Coming up: A review of Knitter's Magazine Issue 110, set to release tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

500 Sweaters, One Knitter

Loes Veenstra of the Netherlands knits so very quickly that she has made more sweaters than she could ever give away. Many, many more. She had a surplus of 500 never-worn sweaters, dating back as far as 1955, stored away in her home on the 2nd Carnissestraat in Rotterdam.

Christien Meindertsma, a Dutch designer and artist whose work explores the life of products and raw materials, with the aim of regaining understanding of processes made unfamiliar or obsolete by industrialization, heard about Veenstra's collection when it was displayed at the Museum of Rotterdam as part of the exhibition "Over leven in Carnisse" (Life in Carnisse), and decided something more had to be done. So she included the sweaters in her project, "DNA Charlois", which involves materials and crafts by people from 160 different countries, and prepared a forthcoming book about the sweaters. When even that didn't seem enough, Meindertsma organized a flash mob event featuring the sweaters, a marching band, dancers, baton twirlers, and a throne for Veenstra to sit upon while she enjoyed the event. This video of the show also features bonus observant cat and dancing dog.

I hope you enjoy the video and getting to see all the sweaters in it. I especially liked that one can probably hazard a pretty good guess as to the vintage of these sweaters from the design, as some are quintessential examples of knitwear design from a specific era. The Cosby Show could have hired this woman for their wardrobe department, is what I'm saying.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Knitting In a Winter Wonderland

This past Christmas Lion Brand Yarn wanted to create a special display for the window of their building on West 15th Street in New York, and they came up with the one above. You can see a slideshow of the creation process on the Lion Brand Yarn site.

I wish I could have seen the display in person, because it really is stunning. I love how real those swans look, and how sumptuous the queen's dress is. And my guess is that the display is meant to be a reference to Hans Christian Andersen's The Wild Swans, a story that features a queen, swans, and knitting.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

The Materialistics: making material art in a material world

In 2011 a group of 40 women known as The Materialistics exhibited a collection of their art work called "The Grand Tour", at the Customs House in South Shields, England. "The Grand Tour" comprised 50 pieces of art work and it took The Materialistics a year to create them. What made this collection remarkable was the medium used to create these art works: they were not painted or sculpted, but knitted, crocheted, and embroidered. Through needlework, The Materialistics had recreated 50 well-known works of art in painstaking detail: Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe, Edvard Munch's The Scream, Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers, Pablo Picasso's Woman in Garden, Rembrandt's self-portrait, Dante Gabriel's Rosetti's Daydream, Gustav Klimt's The Kiss, and many more.

"The Grand Tour", which travelled to various venues in England for exhibition, was not the first nor the last of The Materialistics' exhibitions. Their first two were "A Coat for a Boat" in 2009 (which involved an actual boat covered in knitting) and "Victorian Christmas" (a full scale room including window, Christmas tree, and Santa by a fireplace all in victorian style) in 2010, and in 2012 their exhibition was a recreation of fairy tale characters and scenes entitled Once Upon a Time. Their current project, which is a work in progress, is called Home Sweet Home.

There's everything to love about The Materialistics and their work, but my favourite thing about The Grand Tour project is that no one who sees it can ever deny that needlework is as much, and as variable, an artistic medium as paint or clay or metal.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

They Knitted it with SCIENCE!

Discover Magazine has a weird and wonderful gallery of knitted and crocheted science projects, including a knitted dissected frog (which reminds me far too vividly of grade ten biology and my weird science partner who liked to stick my pens in the Bunsen burner), and knitted plankton.

I'm too pragmatic to ever do knitted sculpture or stunt knitting myself, but damn, do I ever have to respect and admire the sheer level of skill, ingenuity and effort that goes into it when I see it.