I started collecting from an interest in crochet; how it is created and the numerous amount of crochet items that I was finding discarded. I was drawn to the colors and patterns and overly intrigued by the items that were being made from crochet i.e. Tabasco hot sauce jar cover, toilet seat cover, corn on the cob cover, etc. My collection consists of over 75 Afghans, 100 small pieces, 10 sculptures and one tent. I am also very interested in why this craft/art is not considered a fine art. I wanted to collect a variety of crochet items to create a fine art installation displaying all of these found objects. An overwhelming amount of hand work was put into the objects and yet most all of it was discarded by the hands that made it or by family members. I did not want to harm any of the objects by cutting them or destroying them in any way. I wanted to find a way to give them new value and meaning; suddenly make them precious instead of trash.
I have created a fortress. A fortress reminds one of childhood or a castle to protect you from enemy fires. This recreates the safety and comfort that we had when we used blankets, sheets and chairs to create a fort in our living room as a child. This is an adult fortress. It is enlarged from our small forts and full of color. As we grow older we often fear color. This installation throws color in our faces. Some childhood shapes are enlarged to be more realistic to adult size. The braid along the floor is symbolic of childhood hair and sitting around with girlfriends braiding each other’s hair. The chain is a link from the past to the present. The items used to create the fortress were all abandon, left behind, passed on, discarded, even thrown away. I have found these items and given them new meaning and purpose. Each piece represents a different woman (most likely a woman from the southern region of the country) who created them. Crochet is still very much a woman’s craft in the southern region. This piece has hundreds of voices. The voices come from different families, different stories, different hands. Why is there no value placed on something that someone made? Most crochet items are made to cover something whether it be a person or an object. The amount of hours needed to create this amount of crochet is very large and these hours are unpaid and unappreciated labor.
I am questioning the idea of home and safety within. I am creating a place/space of safety using significant objects created by someone’s hands. A place that makes you think of childhood and the carefree safety and security that we experienced. I am doing this by creating a fantastical place where one can become entranced in the shapes, colors and textures. From large, round, crochet objects hanging from above to small pockets of mystery on the wall; this is an experience of childhood memories and adult fantasies which can be very much the same to me. It is my fantasy to have a safe, colorful, fun, fiber filled world to live in. I have struggled with a home for several years now. Living with my ex husband, before and after we were divorced since we couldn’t sell the house and had to keep living together. I was then required to move in with my parents for a few weeks while all of my belongings went in storage. I then found a small house that doesn’t have anywhere for me to create. It is also in an unsafe location. Now, this house is being foreclosed on and I am forced to find a new home. So I am currently searching and searching for the perfect, safe home. As we become adults many of our fantasies do include sexual things. I think that many of the shapes used in the installation reflect a shape that could be one thing to a child and something very sexual to an adult. I do not find it sad to escape to that feeling of childhood again. I think it is healthy to step away from the craziness of the real world and go back to the time of comfort and safety.
I have used re-purposed, salvaged and scavenged materials. I find in a world full of “stuff” that creating new is sometimes unnecessary. This also allows me to use work by other women and give it a new meaning and purpose. I also feel like I am saving a beautiful piece of art from the trash. I have no knowledge of how to make all of these patterns and objects and by using some already made I am not limited to my knowledge. I am re-creating a space of memories and fantasy. I could do this anywhere and would love to install it many different places. The shape and display would change no matter where the location but the ideas would remain the same.
I incorporated interactive and participatory elements into this installation. Patrons were invited to get in the tent, lie down, listen to a story and relax. I think the simple idea that people could come into a gallery and touch things and walk on them and lie down and sit on it allowed for an interaction to happen that rarely happens with art. The tent provided childhood stories, once read to me, by my father.
Systems of Objects
Making Things Public Atmospheres of Democracy by Bruno Latour
Cloth and Cultural Production
Selected Melanie Klein by Juliet Mitchell
Winnicott by Adam Phillips
Playing and Reality by Winnicott
Rachel Perry Welty
Melanie Klein Envy and Gratitude and Other Works 1946-1963
The Free Press New York, NY 1975
Melanie Klein Her World and Her work
Alfred A. Knopf, Inc New York
Mothers of Psychoanalysis
W.W. Norton and Company New York
Babies and their Mothers
Addison Wesley Publishing Company Reading, Massachusetts
Home is Where we Start From Essays by a Psychoanalyst
W.W. Norton and Company New York
Winnicott life and work
F. Robert Rodman, M.D.
Perseus Publishing Cambridge, MA
Attachment, Play and Authenticity: a Winnicott Primer
The Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group