Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Take Me Away From Crochet

Wenesday, July 18, 2012 You know what they say, "A day without crochet is like a day spent in Hell!" I had a few days last week without crochet but it wasn't "Hell," it was exhaustion. My husband and I were babysitting our grandchildren at their house and they are two busy little bees! From Monday night until Saturday, I just got one bracelet done.
However, here's what filled my time and gave me great joy in spite of the lack of crochet! No complaints!
Chloe, almost three and Jack,almost one!
This week the folks at Interweave released a new free booklet on bead crochet. A design that I had published in Beadwork magazine quite some years ago is included. I am honored to be featured with 3 other well-known bead-crochet designers in this booklet. Get your for free here: Another sweet "blast from the past" happened this week. A student that I had years and years ago in class searched for me on the internet because she had lost her pattern from the class and now wants to re-create the little fuchsia flower scissor fob the she learned from me.She explained to me that she is a volunteer in a nursing home and had told one of her residents about the flower. The old lady was so intrigued, my student was inspired to make her one. I found the pattern and sent it off to her.She was so delighted and excited to get to work. I'm waiting to hear how it turns out.

Monday, July 9, 2012

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!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2012 Chain Link Crochet Conference

Tuesday, July 2, 2012 I've just returned and am recovering from attending my 18th Chain Link Crochet Conference sponsored by the Crochet Guild of America. This year it was in Manchester, NH and I think this is the 4th time we have held the conference in this same location. My time there was brief and my main task this time was to present the "Founder's Award" at the Design Competition awards presentation.
Like in most organizations, I suppose, in CGOA when you offer constructive criticism, you are given a job! I have a concern that the history of CGOA is sometimes forgotten and new members often think that this wonderful convergence of extreme crochet talent just happened magically. Or, they don't think at all and just take for granted all the hard work, sweat and tears that went into it since 1994. When I approached Doris Chan, Chair of the Design Competition, about being a sponsor of the Design Contest, SHE suggested that we call it the "Founder's Award." It was also her idea that the award be given to the design that "best exemplifies the tradition, spirit and creativity of CGOA." Along with choosing a winner, I prepared retrospective slide show of past juried crochet art exhibits held by the CGOA since the very first conference in August 1994. These were running behind me as I gave my brief presentation of the award. I chose "Princess and the Pea" by Michele Wilcox as the winner.
Before I got started, I was worried that it would be very difficult to choose a winner because the parameters are broad, but I was wrong! As I made my first round to look at all the entries, my eyes immediately lit on this delightful afghan. I said to myself, though, keep going; you must look at everything at least once. So, I took a look at everything and came back to the afghan twice just to be really sure of my decision. (I am not known for my fondness of afghans!) The reason I chose this as the winner is because I saw many stitches, sc, spike,long sttich, cables, granny squares, and edgings. At first, the afghan was draped over the chair and when I looked at it the last time, I lifted it to finally realized there was a princess with a crown. That cinched it since I believe that all CGOA members are "princesses" if not "queens." But seriously, all those diverse stitches coming together to make something beautiful: the whole is better than each individual part. That says it all about what a guild should be and what CGOA is! There were approximately 100 entries and all the winners can be seen here: I was privileged to be able to have lunch with my dear friend, Vashti
and many other notables in the world of crochet:
Marty Miller, Past President, CGOA
Carla Scott, Ed. of Vogue Crochet and Cari Clement, Ed. of Crochet 1-2-3 (a new magazine that will be in Walmart)
Karen Klemp, Past President, CGOA My dear friend, Sue, also drove up from Boston to have lunch with me. We love to see each other each time I am in Manchester. We had lunch at the famous Red Arrow Diner and I have the best Reuben sandwich I've ever had in my life! While there I took time to yarn-bomb one of the dog statues in front of the hotel.
I bought the annual commemorative hook this year and here's a photo of it: It is made of Pyrex by Chris Murphey and the color design is an old Italian technique called Latticino: $38.00
The last exciting thing that happened this week is that the day finally arrived when our book for the International Freeform Crochet Guild (INTFFCG) was made public on line and we were allowed to post the photos of our entries. One-hundred percent of the profits go to Doctors Without Borders and Soul of Somanya from the sale of the book: Inspired: Music and Art in Fiber Go here to purchase the book: Here's my piece: a necklace inspired by Van Gogh's Vase With Red Poppies