Tag Archives: art

Wearable Art

We had friends visiting over the weekend (Hi friends!), and we dragged them all over Seattle.  We had lunch at Pike Place, we explored local parks, and ate and drank our way across the city.

And we visited the EMP, a weird pop-culture museum in the shadow of the Space Needle.  It’s full of movie and music memorabilia.  It’s an odd collection, but a pretty fun way to spend the afternoon.  (Want to see Princess Buttercup’s gowns from The Princess Bride?  A collection of phasers from Star Trek?  Nirvana’s old set lists?  Then the EMP is the place for you.)

This summer, the EMP is hosting a traveling show of “clothes” from the World of WearableArt Awards Show.   This show/competition is apparently held every fall in New Zealand, and now I need to visit New Zealand.

The “clothes” are only clothes in the sense that you could put a person inside of them.  They’re really wearable sculptures made out of plastic, leather, metal, wood and every other imaginable material.  They’re truly stunning.  If you ever get a chance to see the exhibition, definitely take advantage.  It’s really amazing.

One piee particularly piqued my interest, and (surprise, surprise), it featured wool.WP_20160711_16_20_21_ProThis is “Totally Sheepish”, by Sarah Peacock (whose website I couldn’t find, so if you can find more information about her, I’d love to see it.)

OK, it’s a little weird, but look at the craftsmanship!  Most of the wool for this piece was harvested from the artist’s pet sheep, High Jump, and processed by hand.  Some was spun into yarn, which was then knit and crocheted.  The teardrops were wet felted, and the corrugated pieces woven around the waist were hot-molded (a process that I don’t know much about).WP_20160711_16_19_50_ProCan you imagine all the work that must have gone into making this thing?!  It must have taken months and months, maybe even years.

Be sure to check out the WOW website, or just Google the World of WearableArt to see the amazing creations.  And if you happen to be in New Zeland in October, go to the show and tell me all about it!

Young Girl with Two Sheep

Last week, in Portland, my husband and I visited the Portland Art Museum.  It’s a nice little museum, and a lovely way to escape the heat of July for the afternoon.  We had wandered through most of the museum, when we stumbled upon an exhibition of photographs of gardens, and the people who enjoyed them.  It sounds like a weird show to curate, but it was actually pretty neat.  There were modern photographs as well as pictures from the beginnings of photography, when ‘snapshots’ were less popular.  It was interesting to see how, though the clothing has changed from the 1800’s, people still enjoy their gardens in pretty much the same way.

My favorite photograph was a tiny (about 4inches by 6) print that had been taken in France in the late 1870’s by someone called “Auguste Giraudon’s Artist.”  I looked online for more information about him, but came up blank.  I can only assume that Auguste Giraudon must have been a member of the aristocracy, and his unnamed artist must have been paid to take photographs of his holdings and the people that lived there.  Of course, I’m just making that up, so it could be totally wrong.

2012.81.4Anyway, look at this beautiful little picture of a young shepherdess and her two charges.  It’s almost 150 years old, and it’s still a lovely little photograph.  And, look closely at the girl’s hands.  See that?  She’s knitting!  I know it’s historical whitewashing, but tending over your flock while knitting socks for your family sounds like a lovely way to spend your time.

Wall Shawl

On Monday, I told you how I love making lace shawls.  You’ll notice that I didn’t say I love wearing lace shawls.  This is because I am a pretty big tomboy.  I love how lace shawls look, and I love making them, but I always feel like a monkey in a top-hat when I wear them.

So, I had a whole stack of gorgeous shawls that did nothing but sit in my closet, waiting for moths to show up and start munching.  Something had to be done.  How could I display them?  I tried hanging them over my closet door, but then I couldn’t open and shut the door without them falling all over the place. I tried putting one over a table lamp, but that looked like something from a palm-reader’s office (and I was paranoid about setting the whole place on fire).  And, so my lace shawls went back into the bottom of the closet again.

Until I realized something.  These lace shawls were basically great big art pieces.  And my house was full of empty walls, begging for art to be put up.

I grabbed my Panache shawl and a dowel I had laying around (because I am a pack rat and have dowels lying around, just in case.  You never know.)  I carefully sewed the flat edge of the shawl to the dowel using a little bit of matching scrap yarn, and tied a big loop from one end of the dowel to the other.  I pulled out a sticky hook, and I  had filled my wall with lacy, yarn-y goodness in no time.  (And yes, I know this is a terrible photo.  Apparently I have forgotten how to take a decent picture that isn’t a close-up…)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy Panache is a medium sized shawl (about a 40 inch wingspan), but my Aeolian shawl, is a monster.  It’s at least 60 inches from point to point, so sewing it to a yard-long dowel wouldn’t fly.  I thought about it for a long time, and then the perfect solution came to me while I was doing yard work.

I cut some long (6+ feet) switches from one of the trees in my yard, and lashed them together with twine.  I added a loop of twine and hung them from a nail in my knitting studio.  Then, I looped the Aeolian shawl over the ends.  I really like how it turned out.   It’s pretty, and rustic, and if I ever want to display another shawl (or scarf, or sweater, or blanket) I can switch them out easily.

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