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Crochet as Art

Monday, July 10, 2012

Last week I blogged about my presentation of a slide show at the CGOA crochet conference Design Competition awards ceremony. There is a slide show running here on my blog of the crochet art that has been exhibited by CGOA from 1994-2004. Today, I want to highlight some of the art in that slide show and give you more details.

From day one of the crochet guild I was very determined to showcase crochet art. The very first conference held in Chicago in 1994 had a marvelous juried exhibit and I thank Susan Kenyon for co-chairing my idea with me.I believed that crochet art is the best way to jolt pre-conceived notions of what crochet is.

Back then we were battling stereotypes of being grannies who sat around in our rockers making doilies. Eighteen years later, I am closer to being a "granny in a rocker" than I was then! But I still think I am young at heart and crochet art still remains a passion. We've come such a long way and with the advent of the Internet, a much wider public is exposed to crochet art...almost every week, it seems.

Back in 1994 and the succeeding years, to see a room full of crochet art was a very unique and amazing thing. It was not easy to install a room full of art in a hotel! Shipping, hanging, guarding was all handled by dedicated volunteers. We locked the room at night and bought insure that was very expensive just to be sure our goldmine of creativity was protected as best we could. It was all worth it in my opinion.

As you'll see in the following photos, crochet and crocheters have the fantastic ability to twist fiber with a simple hook and create a vast realm of variety and excitement. Nothing can compare and these artists are pioneers, some having worked at their craft since the seventies!We attracted big name artists who juried the work that was submitted and were privileged to have their works on display as well! Somewhere along the line, CGOA dumbed-down the exhibits. People complained that they couldn't provide slides of their work (yes, back then we used slides!) They complained about the entry fee. New board members didn't get the message and the wheel was re-created. Why is supporting the cause so hard to understand? Some vocal entities must have thought that money and volunteerism grows on trees! Currently there is a give and a take.

The evolution has changed the look of the exhibits. It is called a Design Competition and there is no fee.Anyone can send anything as long as they fill out the form and get it there on time. Still, some wonderful volunteers are in charge and they have recruited large sums of prize money from industry supporters. They also achieve some great digital photography which remains as an archive of the present.

About 100 entries this year provided a nice feast for the eyes both hung and displayed on a table at the marketplace during the conference in Manchester, NH. The variety ranged from extreme technical skill to creativity to the best in tacky!

CGOA is not the only game in town today for crochet art. Juried exhibits can be seen from Portland to New York. Today we don't have to travel to these places to see it, either. Just browse the internet and enjoy! Let's go; I can't wait to show you some quality juried and invitational art from the past! 1994: Ancient Roots, New Beginnings Juried Exhibit,Chicago. It was juried by Nan C. Meinhardt, nationally known bead artist.

Nan C. Meinhardt: "Medallion"
Chunghie Lee: "Woman with a Wig"

Elizabeth Tuttle: "Beaded Bag"
Elizabeth is a gem of an artist from the seventies who is now a curator in Madison, WI. She used sewing thread to create subtle color changes
 1995:Art of the Hook juried exhibit, Sommerset, NJ

Gwen Blakley Kinsler: "Crochetqueen ~ A Self Portrait"
Peoples' Choice Award, 1995 CGOA Juried Exhibit
Kate Coburn: "Iris Wall Hanging"
1996: California Crochet-Scapes juried exhibit, Lakeland, CA Jurors: Linda Kunz, Barbara Kervin

Fine Line Artists: "Mountain Colors"
Peoples' Choice Award 1996
Peoples' Choice Award: Mountain Colors by the Fine Line Artists, St. Charles, IL The Fine Line is a creative arts center and a group of free form crocheters worked together on this wall hanging.

1997: Chicago: City of Ethnic Celebration juried exhibit, Chicago Jurors: Linda Buckner and Tina Bliese, from the Textile arts Centre.

Ellen Moon: "Daphne"
1997 Peoples Choice Award
1998: Tapestry of Crochet juried exhibit, Atlanta, GA Jurors: Suzanne Deal Fitzgerald & Paula Vester
Suzanne Deal Fitzgerald: "Two Princes Vessel"
1999: Bring your Best to the West juried exhibit, Bellevue, WA-no slides available Jurors: Noreen havens & Bev Dillon. 

2000: What in the World is It? juried exhibit, Cleveland, OH-no slides available. Jurors: Sue Fisher, Joan Lares & Rosanne Madeja

2000: Chain Reaction juried & invitational exhibit co-sponsored by CGOA and the Textile Arts Centre, Chicago. Juror: Arline Fisch.

Arline Fisch: "Lacy Fish necklace"
Crocheted in silver wire.

Norma Minkowitz: "Com Closer"

2001: Head West for a Golden Opportunity, Sacramento, CA Jurors: Bonnie Meltzer & Norma Minkowitz
Bonnie Meltzer: "Passing the Mantle ~ Homage to My Mentors"
2002: Tropical Treasure juried exhibit, West Palm Beach, FL Jurors: Bonnie Meltzer & Laura Bryant.

Bonnie Meltzer: "Heirloom"
2003: Tenth Anniversary of CGOA: Rhythm of Crochet traveling juried exhibit, Chicago Jurors: Eileen Troxel & Carol Ventur.a Keynote Speaker: Jean Williams Cacicedo.

Eileen Troxell: "Bags"
Carol Ventura: "He Said, She Said"

Jean Williams Cacicedo: "Petal Vest"

Karen Searle: "Essence Overview"

Heidi Petach: "Cool Jazz Cat"

Irene Reed: "Rooster Shoe"

Prudence Mapstone: "Oh, Picasso"

Tracy Krumm: "2 Dozen"
Job Done! Hope you enjoy. Running off now, to babysit the grandchildren while their parents are in Iceland!Will post some pics of the darlings next week!


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