It’s never a good idea to leave me unsupervised in a bookshop. Actually, I probably shouldn’t be left unsupervised at all, but that’s a separate blog post. Yarn shops are OK because I’m that weirdo who isn’t into stash, but bookshops are another matter. I certainly shouldn’t be allowed in the sort of bookshop that sells this sort of thing:-
Both of these were published in 1972* which also happens to be the year of my birth. Please, no comments about which of us has aged better and maintained a degree of contemporary relevance, because I’m too old and cranky to hear them.
These beauties are from Much Ado Books in Alfriston, East Sussex. (We were down that way a few weeks ago.)
Dangerous things, bookshops, especially ones with second-hand sections in which you never know what might turn up. Last time I was in such a place, I found this:-
…which really got me thinking about the possibilities of freeform crochet and quirky knitting because it included work such as this:-
…And that inspired me to work on what became The Chair:-
…So I should probably approach these things with a tad more caution if I’m not to lose another year trying to recreate a herbaceous border in DK-weight yarn. But I’ve been spending quite a bit of time reading The Crocheter’s Art. May I share a little of it with you, please?
The author (Feldman) was originally a sculptor, so it’s not surprising that when she discovered crochet, she set out to explore the outer reaches of its artistic and three-dimensional possibilities. Some of the work in this book is hers, some is by other artists whom she respects.
She explores the separation of art vs. craft, and how in ancient times “art and craftsmanship went hand in hand to enrich everyday life” (p.12). Not gonna lie: that sentence really spoke to me. Just because something – a watering can, for example – is functional, why does it have to be ugly? Some of her language is of its time, and I winced at the mention of ‘primitive tribes’, but she does raise a good point about how “[p]erhaps there is nothing new under the sun. We go back and forth with our art.” (p.9).
That said, she’s interested in the fact that crochet is a (comparatively) new medium, and so its outer limits are still to be explored. She’s excited by the artist’s freedom to play.
She, and the people she admires, like to mix media, in this case yarn, plexiglass, and ribbon:-
She is wildly inspired by pieces from cultures that she refers to as ‘primitive’, but her work is a product of the modern world, too.
Have you seen enough pictures yet? I hope not. Let’s have another picture.
For now, the words and pictures in this book are fermenting in my woolly brain. Perhaps they’ll inspire another crazy project, perhaps they won’t. But still, it’s a joy to see the products of creative minds that have come before.
Happy yarnery, my friend.
*To be pedantic, the crochet title is a British 1975 release of a book that was originally published in the US in 1972.