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Art

A 79-Foot Labyrinth Crocheted by Ernesto Neto Hangs from the Ceiling of a Houston Museum

June 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

“SunForceOceanLife” (2021), 30 x 79 x 55 feet. All images © Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, shared with permission

Brazillian artist Ernesto Neto (previously) is known for his enormous, fiber-based installations that plunge viewers into a multi-sensory landscape of organic elements: people are encouraged to walk through canals of stretched yarn and grasp the structural weavings, while spicy scents like turmeric and cumin are often diffused throughout the room.

Similarly immersive and imposing, Neto’s latest work at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is one of his largest to date. “SunForceOceanLife” is a hand-crocheted, walkable maze of yellow, orange, and green threads that stretch 79 feet across the gallery and spiral 12 feet in the air. The pliable installation centers around “fire, the vital energy that enables life on this planet,” the artist says, sharing that each polymer string utilized is burned at the end to further infuse the piece with sacred, meditative rituals. “I hope that the experience of this work will feel like a chant made in gratitude to the gigantic ball of fire we call the sun, a gesture of thanks for the energy, truth, and power that it shares with us as it touches our land, our oceans, and our life,” he writes.

Plastic balls also fill the pathway and shift underfoot, which forces those passing through the suspended structure to intentionally maintain their balance. Neto explains:

It directly engages the body as does a joyful dance or meditation, inviting us to relax, breathe, and uncouple our body from our conscious mind. The sensation of floating, the body cradled by the crocheted fruits of our labor, brings to mind a hammock: the quintessential indigenous invention that uplifts us and connects us to the wisdom and traditions of our ancestors.

“SunForceOceanLife” is on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston through September 26, 2021. You can see more of Neto’s interactive, site-specific projects at Galerie Max Hetzler. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Art Craft Music

Bright Floral Crochet Wraps an Iconic Stratocaster Guitar in a Psychedelic Layer of Color

October 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Flower Power” (2020), crocheted wool and Fender Stratocaster, 106.7 x 12.7 x 38.1 centimeters. All images courtesy of The Big Art Auction, shared with permission

A new piece by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos (previously) envelops one of Fender’s Stratocaster guitars in a vibrant sheath of wool. Titled “Flower Power,” loosely crocheted petals cover the entirety of the instrument, wrapping the body, neck, and head in a kaleidoscopic bouquet. The fibrous webbing evokes the aesthetic of the 1960s when Fender’s model secured its legendary status.

Along with a diverse series of artist-customized Strats, “Flower Power” will be auctioned on Nov. 4 through The Big Art Auction, a collaborative event hosted by The Big Issue Group and Creative Giants. Proceeds from the sales will be donated to The Big Issue, a United Kingdom-based organization that creates economic opportunities for folks who are marginalized and in need. To follow Vasconcelos’s crocheted interventions, head to Instagram.

 

“Flower Power” (2020), crocheted wool and Fender Stratocaster, 106.7 x 12.7 x 38.1 centimeters

“Flower Power” (2020), crocheted wool and Fender Stratocaster, 106.7 x 12.7 x 38.1 centimeters

 

 



Art Craft

Playful Ocean Life Sprawls Throughout Mulyana's Immersive, Knit Installations

July 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Big Mogus” (2020), yarn and dacron, 96 1/2 × 18 7/8 × 22 1/8 inches. All images © Mulyana, shared with permission

Complete with spiraled tentacles, textured features, and toothy grins, the yarn-based creatures that Indonesian artist Mulyana knits and crochets take a playful, bizarre approach to ocean life. The artist frequently recreates what he refers to as the mogus, or octopus, as a mainstay in his underwater environments. Dotted with multiple sets of eyes, the creature has various iterations ranging in size, color, facial contortions, and number of tentacles. Each billowing mogus is presented suspended from the ceiling, giving it the appearance of floating through the ocean.

While many of Mulyana’s formations are brightly colored, the pieces in his Bety series (shown below) are crafted entirely in white to draw attention to coral bleaching caused by pollution. To maintain his own commitments to sustainability and community, Mulyana re-purposes the yarn that forms his textured corals and ocean life.

If you’re in New York, Mulyana’s sea creatures can be seen at Sapar Contemporary through August 21. Otherwise, keep up with the artist’s vibrant projects on Instagram, and check out where the mogus heads on its next adventure.

 

“Harmony 14” (2019), yarn, Dacron, cable wire, and plastic net, 41 3/4 × 60 5/8 × 17 3/4 inches

Left: “Mogus 39” (2020), yarn and dacron, 14 1/8 × 29 7/8 × 5 1/8 inches

“Bety 1” (2020), yarn, dacron, cable wire, and plastic net, 73 5/8 × 37 3/8 × 20 1/8 inches

Big Mogus” (2020), yarn and dacron, 96 1/2 × 18 7/8 × 22 1/8 inches

 

 



Art Craft

Extravagant Masks by threadstories Offer Cultural Commentary on Selfhood and Social Media

March 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © threadstories, shared with permission

Covered in full-face masks of fringe and knotted details, threadstories (previously) explores the tension between contemporary portrayals of public and private life. The Irish artist poses in front of gray backdrops for her self-portraits that obscure her face and only sometimes reveal a set of eyes or a mouth through the crocheted exterior.

threadstories tells Colossal that the process for creating each piece is similar. She begins by crocheting the balaclava—sometimes adding space for further detail like pointed ears or a hand-drawn face—before crafting various tufts and dense patches. “The yarns I use when tufting will create an endless array of outcomes from the same technique,” she writes. “The choice of yarn can mean the difference between a mask with a lot of movement or a mask with a strong form that can be brushed and manipulated to hold numerous forms.”

Once she’s photographed the finished project, threadstories deconstructs the pieces to transform them into a new extravagant work. “Generally speaking, I am working intuitively, no design or drawings in advance. I am thinking with my hands,” she says. “For me, it is the photograph or mask on film that is the artwork, not the physical mask. I don’t create pieces like a designer might. The masks are always in a state of flux.”

Each fiber-based creations serves as a visual representation of how people obscure their lives, both intentionally and not, for public consumption. “The masks are sometimes monstrous, other times farcical façades that poke at the performative nature social media cultivates and celebrates,” she writes. Each caption helps build a narrative.

threadstories is questioning how the erosion of personal privacy in the digital age shapes how we view and portray ourselves online. The masks deny the viewer the full story of who the sitter is, echoing the curated or false personas we view online daily. My masks are photographed against a sanitised white square. I know there is often chaos, mess and noise just beyond the margins of that photograph, but the messiness of life doesn’t make the edit for social media.

Find more of the artist’s work that intersects art and cultural commentary on Instagram.

 

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Art Craft Food

Decadent Baked Goods Replicated in Crocheted Wool by Kate Jenkins

October 11, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

We don’t recommend getting near Kate Jenkins’s breakfast spread before you’ve had your morning coffee, or you might find yourself biting down on a bagel full of yarn. The British crochet artist (previously) creates fiber-based foods that bear a striking resemblance to their edible inspirations. Jenkins has a particular affinity for baked goods: her recent spreads include bagels and lox, whole grain bread loaves, and individual fruit tarts. The artist creates every last detail down to tiny caper berries, thinly sliced red onions, and kiwi and poppy seeds made from black beads.

Jenkins learned to knit and crochet as a child in Wales, and shares in an artist statement that she has always been fascinated and inspired by everyday objects and experiences. In addition to her culinary crochets, Jenkins trained and worked for many years as a knitwear designer in the fashion world. Keep up with Jenkins’s freshest bakes on Instagram, and purchase artwork in her online store.

For those in NYC who love textile-based delectables, we also recommend Lucy Sparrow’s felt food “deli” pop-up at Rockefeller Center, open through October 20, 2019.

 

 



Craft Food

Crocheted Hams and Hairdryers by Trevor Smith Evoke Memories of Mid-Century Domesticity

August 9, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

By day, Trevor Smith is a local council worker in Victoria, Australia. After hours, Smith creates replicas of elaborate meals and household appliances in crocheted wool. Cheese platters, baked hams, toasters, and hair dryers are carefully constructed using foam armatures underneath the woolen exteriors. Smith has had a lifelong interest in crafts, and shared with The Design Files, “my mother was a talented craftswoman and I was always shadowing her, wanting to be doing what she was doing.” Smith earned a degree in Visual Arts as a sculpture major and also has been a curator of public art collections for the last 30 years. His crocheted artwork is available through Michael Reid gallery, and Smith shares updates on Facebook. If you enjoy the artist’s work, also check out Lucy Sparrow and Kate Jenkins for more fiber interpretations of food. (via The Design Files)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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