Sunday, March 28, 2010

From Purl to Couture

I came sort of in a haphazard and indirect way, from the fashion industry. At least I was surrounded by it for a good many years. I actually was not even a little bit interested in fashion's industry and jumped ship at the first good opportunity. It had never been my intent to be there but for some reason I just kept ending up there. Go figure. The thing that I really never got was the industry part... but the ART part... this I understand.

It is a rare occasion indeed when I find something involving textiles that makes me stop and pay attention. It is a case of been there done that that, and quite frankly, gets annoying. I don't like to think of myself as a snob, but I must be one. I simply don't get all caught up in the latest whatnots or media hype around whatevers... and I always find that the things I am impressed by are found off the beaten track.

Case in point.

I don't knit. Or crochet. Ok, once I attempted to knit something resembling a scarf for everyone for Christmas... I used big needles and thick chunky wool so that nobody could see that none of the rows had the same number of stitches in them. But I do understand that both arts consist of highly mathematical (this is where I get lost) and complex systems of almost but not quite knots. This is important. Why? Because the fascination here lies thus. You can take one very long and uninteresting string or line, and bunch it up in such a way that it becomes not only very useful, but insanely beautiful. This is art at it's most brilliant. To take simplicity and convey it in a way that makes it seem complicated, and yet it is dependent on that simplicity to be useful. Lines turned into structure.

Adrienne Rogers, who created these stunning pieces says “What drives my designs and choice of materials is the ultimate texture that can be created using such basic tools as needles and a single, continuous thread.” Her unbelievably sumptuous and tactile pieces epitomize this process and she is one of a few who see and understand the art in what she does. I am not sure why the terms knit and crochet conjure images that include rocking chairs and porches, but if we take a minute to consider that they also usually include women who are wise and generous, I suppose it all falls into place. More of these women need to see the worth in what they do and in return, we should follow suit.


kimberj said...

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I think those arts including tatting are truly brilliant. It concerns me that so many skills have been clumped under "polyester crafts" when the potential for some of the purest forms of creativity lies right beyond the obvious. Look at the Gees Bend quilts and the lovely knit and crochet wonders you posted.

Three Owls said...

I want these afghans alot!! It is truly amazing what can be created with a long string... not just beautiful knit yummies... but an entire lifestyle for the artist and the patron :)

Vive le handcrafts...

Sunny Haralson said...

I'm not really into "fashion" either-I just like to make things. The sleeves on that tank top in your shop have inspired me.
My aunt made an afgan out of spun dog hair. Scratchy.

Samantha Levang said...

Beatiful! I too have made many a scarf--and I use that term very loosly! I can't even imagine all the love and work that goes into these pieces.