A Review: The Fine Art of Crochet by Gwen Blakely Kinsler

ScannedImageGwen Blakely Kinsler, has done much for the skill of crochet. Twenty years ago she began the Crochet Guild of America, creating a national, excuse me, international setting for crocheters of every level and area of interest to come together and share the love they have for a hook and the fabrics it creates. She continues bringing new life to crochet by highlighting those utilizing crochet in fine arts with her new book, The Fine Art of Crochet Innovative Works from 20 Contemporary Artists.

So I have an admiration of art, even fine art, but I will admit that contemporary art does not always speak to me. So reading through this new book was a revealing time for me. Just flipping through the pages I would see photos of various pieces of art, things that I would have to be in a different mindset to fully appreciate, but then I began to read. 51LhiyLx5ML

Each artist has a very different approach and message that they are expelling through works that involve crochet and this book allows you to enter the creative process and approach by each artist, as Gwen gives each a personal voice. It gave me a greater appreciation of the work that they do, I could see more in their art then I ever could on my own. It was interesting to see how each artist discovered crochet as a medium, as no one ever set out and imagined using crochet in their art, but came to it for different reasons and spoke different things.

Even days later, the work of some of the artists have remained in my mind. The way Jo Hamilton uses crochet as a form of paint, while “showing the brush strokes” was amazing to me, and I can vastly appreciate the skill involved to accomplish the “painting”. Soonran Youn work has such meaning that I may have over looked without understanding her theory of expression. The work of Carol Hummel feels like home, yet really is revolutionary in its approach and undertaking.  Jerry Bleem has such a message in his work by his materials used that it really is thought provoking. I have had the pleasure of taking a class from Dr. Carol Ventura, so I have appreciated her work up close, but her chapter allowed me to see more about her creative process and growth of her art.

The Fine Art of Crochet is more than just an outline of an artist’s life and how they use crochet in the art that they place in museums. It can speak to you, as it spoke to me, and allow of an awaking in a new approach that my crochet can take, and at very least provoke a new understanding of crochet elevated from a craft, a hobby, to fine art.

Inspiration is Outside my Crochet….but not my Expression

ScannedImageI was asked a question recently, about what my “design inspiration” is. This actually made me think, as my inspiration is not usually crochet, although that is how I express it. My “inspirations” come from some unlikely places.

I actually put together the idea of an afghan while practicing dance steps. My mind would envision visual patterns to help me remember the points in the music and what steps I was to execute.  Things like “the rodeo move”, where the dance would rotate around with an “in & out” movement of the arms….it became a crocheted flower. MB900441798

Other times it is from seeing shapes in nature or art work. Sometimes just a piece of something visually piques my interest and I can see it as something else, like the simple stack of triangles that became a beret.

Conversations lead to many ideas, talking with people, not necessarily crocheters or even crafters for that matter. Usually they ask questions and help me to look at the craft from an angle that I have never thought about before. Like when someone that has never tasted chocolate before (okay, I know this has to be a fictitious person), and asks you if it always has a little salty after taste. It is something that you have taken for granted, and not until someone that doesn’t experience daily asks you a question do you reflect upon it.

I cannot even count how many pictures I have taken of motel/hotel lobby carpets, or brick work of old buildings. There is always something about these repetitions that give me ideas.  Not to mention I love catching the sewing/quilting shows on my local PBS station, it helps open up different ways I can put things together.

MR900441790These ideas only cover the basic stitch; it does not even delve into my color inspiration that can come from even more interesting areas.  But mostly what “inspires” me, takes a little practice, it is being open to accepting inspiration. I find that days when I can smile and the world feels like sunshine, that I can see inspiration everywhere, compared to the more typical day when the kids are fighting, the dog is barking, and dinner is burn. I have to keep that little note book to jot down those times of inspiration, so I can remember those days of “sunshine”.