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Art Craft

Social Issues and the Climate Crisis Intertwine in Subversive Crocheted Works by Jo Hamilton

November 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

“I Crochet Portland” (2006-2009), mixed crocheted yarn, 63 x 114 inches. All images © Jo Hamilton, shared with permission

From a mix of wool fibers and yarn made from plastic waste, Scottish artist Jo Hamilton crochets large-scale portraits and architectural landscapes delineated with dangling threads. Her knotted pieces push the boundaries of art and craft traditions, bringing the two together in subversive portrayals of powerful women and metropolises marred by production. Unraveling at the edges, the textured works reflect on interlocking issues like unchecked capitalism, social disparities, and the increasingly urgent climate crisis.

All of the materials Hamilton uses are recycled, whether sourced from estate sales and resalers or created in studio. A few years ago, she started turning grocery bags, videotapes, and other household items into skeins of yarn-like threads—the artist shares some of this process on Instagram—as a way to reduce her impact on the environment, explaining:

We tend to glorify nature as an eternal and everlasting idea, separate from ourselves and our real-life actions. We’ve held on tightly to these ideas during the last few decades in the throes of late capitalism and globalization, and if we don’t change our thinking, policies and behavior immediately it will be too late. So I channeled my anxieties about over-production, pollution, and climate change into my work, using plastic in some of the works in contrast with the yarn.

If you’re in Portland, stop by Russo Lee Gallery to see Hamilton’s most recent works as part of her solo show Transitory Trespass, which closes on November 27.

 

“Cherry Steel Above and Below” (2017), mixed crocheted yarn, 68 x 122 inches

“Shinig Mountain Eclipse.” Photo by John Clark

Left: “Masked Metamorhic.” Right: “Masked Marbled.” Photos by John Clark

“Death Star PDX” (2018), mixed crocheted yarn, 45 x 52 inches. Photo by John Clark

“Isaac Montalvo” (2008), mixed yarn, 23 x 22 inches

“Head & Neck Dietician” (2016), mixed crocheted yarn, 29 x 27 inches

“Groucho Gia” (2013), mixed crocheted yarn, 51 x 36 inches

Hamilton with a 2019 outdoor crocheted mural project on SE Foster Road in Portland. Photo by Kevin McConnell

Hamilton with a 2019 outdoor crocheted mural project on SE Foster Road in Portland. Photo by Kevin McConnell

 

 



Art

An Eclectic Group Exhibition Brings Together Contemporary Interpretations of the Archetypal Vessel

July 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

CHIAOZZA, “Bouquet Sculpture No. 2” (2021), acrylic paint on paper pulp, 36 x 23 x 9 inches. All images courtesy of Hashimoto Contemporary, shared with permission

A group exhibition at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco offers a new perspective on the enduring legacy of the vessel as both standalone object and motif. Spanning ceramic vases, oil-based works on canvas, and sculptures made of paper pulp, the show explores the myriad ways the ubiquitous container has appeared throughout art history and how two dozen artists working today interpret the classic form. Included are the minimal, ritualistic paintings by Laura Berger (previously), Stephanie Shih’s sleek Molotov cocktail inscribed with a strikingly hopeful message, and Katie Kimmel’s zany dogs. We’ve gathered some of our favorite works below, and stop by the gallery before Vessel closes on July 31 to see them in person.

 

Laura Berger, “Vessel 1” (2021), oil on canvas, 42 x 32 inches

Left: Munisa, “La bonga de la vida ‘Josefina'” (2021), clay, wire, and glaze, 18 x 11 x 6 inches. Right: Stephanie Shih, “Molotov Cocktail (A Better World Is Possible)” (2021), 10 x 4.5 x 2.5 inches

Leif Zikade, “Emergence” (2021), acrylic yarn, 24.5 x 16.5 inches

Hilda Palafox, “Cosecha” (2021), high temperature ceramics, 12 x 12 x 12 inches

Left: Katie Kimmel, “Nosferatu vase” (2021), ceramic, 13 x 7 x 3.4 inches. Right: Katie Kimmel, “Camelot vase” (2021), ceramic, 11 x 6 x 3.4 inches

Lorien Stern, “Ready for the Afterparty” (2021), ceramic, 14 x 14.25 x 8.5 inches

 

 



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

Colorful Tapestries of Silk, Wool, and Cotton Hand Woven by Judit Just

December 28, 2019

Andrew LaSane

All images © Judit Just

Spanish artist Judit Just of jujujust (previously) crafts vibrant wall tapestries in improvised compositions using traditional and updated weaving techniques. Satin ribbons, viscose fringe tassels, silk threads, cord, and soft wool form unique color, texture, and shape combinations. While each piece is modeled after an original stored in the artist’s studio, the handmade nature of the process ensures that no two tapestries are the same.

These vertical works are hung from wooden dowels that are hand-painted to complement the neon colored textiles. Sizes vary, with some pieces measuring 25 x 25 inches and others stretching more than 3 feet. To witness Just’s weaving and cutting processes, follow her on Instagram. You can also add one of the wall tapestries to your personal collection by placing an order via the artist’s Etsy shop.

 

 



Art Craft

A 20 Foot-Wide Tapestry by Vanessa Barragão Recreates the World in Textural Yarn

July 19, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

In celebration of a partnership between London’s Heathrow Airport and Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, fiber artist Vanessa Barragão (previously) was commissioned to create a massive botanical tapestry. Using a range of techniques including latch hooking, felt needling, carving, crochet, Barragão mapped out and built up a textural surface that emulates a map of the world.

Earth’s diverse climates and topography are represented in yarn: the deserts of Australia and Africa are conveyed in warm, low-pile colors, whereas Barragão represented the lush rainforests of South America and the high peaks of central Asia with shaggy deep greens and coiling crocheted ridges. The artist also incorporated native plants like China’s Gingko biloba, European Cypripedium calceolus (lady’s slipper), and the coffee of Africa.

Barragão spent 520 hours on the piece, which is completely handcrafted and spans nearly 20 feet wide. The work is on view at Heathrow Airport’s departure area, echoing the diverse and globe-trotting guests who cross its path. To see more from the Porto, Portgual-based artist, follow Barragão on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Vibrant Gradients of Suspended Yarn Reflect HOTTEA'S Personal Memories

November 21, 2018

Andrew LaSane

“Odd Numbers”

Eric Rieger, known by the moniker HOTTEA (previously), is a graffiti writer turned installation artist whose medium of choice is yarn. With it, he creates colorful large-scale works inspired by the moments, experiences, and people in his life. Whether flowing down from the ceiling of a gallery, or interlaced across the top of a pedestrian pathway, Rieger’s installations always hold a connection to his past and those who helped shape it.

“Color to me represents memories and experiences,” Rieger told Colossal, “so in a way it is always in play. It all depends on what really strikes me at the moment of the installation.” When asked about his process, the artist revealed that it’s largely inspiration and concept that dictates form. “I have always let life unravel itself naturally and that informs my artistic practice. I let the space and my thoughts guide me, and from there I create a design based on what I am going through at the time.”

“Migration”

Rieger credits his retirement from graffiti as the catalyst that got him to his current work. “Not being able to paint anymore inspired to me to create something totally opposite,” he said, adding that the two practices are very different. “As a graffiti writer I only painted at night, I kept it from my family and I only practiced my artist name. Doing work under HOTTEA, I create all of my work during the day to interact with people, I share it with my family and create installations inspired by them… everything that I was as a graffiti writer I didn’t want to be as HOTTEA.”

Rieger’s grandmother taught him to knit at a young age, which is part of the family influence expressed through his work and his identity as an artist. “The very name HOTTEA is derived from a memory I have of my mother ordering hot tea on the weekends at Baker Square growing up,” he explained. “The name reminded me of all the good times we had as a family there and when my parents were still together. HOTTEA brings me absolute pure joy – it’s something I will fight for till the very end.” (via My Modern Met)

“I Bet You Are Flying Inside”

“Bad Dreams”

“Hot Lunch”

“Passageway”

“Romance”