Gwen 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.
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.