For the past several years creating my large installations has involved, in some part, asking for volunteer help from friends and acquaintances in my studio. It began as a matter of necessity; say an ungodly amount of crocheting/cutting fabric needs to happen, and I do also need to sleep (these three where made in 6 weeks!) Because I would invite everyone I knew, and ask them to invite all-comers, an odd blend of strangers and people who knew me but didn’t know each other would show up. If we were not crocheting, it might make for an awkward tea-party (myself, the awkwardest). But something about working with your hands allows a gentle flow of conversation to happen, and it’s always intrigued me.
Even long stetches of silence seems just fine, then a natural flow of conversation happens again. People stay for hours, some for a few minutes. It allows me to talk about my ideas about the project I’m working on in a non-on-the-spot way (unlike a lecture, with me jittery awkward and talking fast). It allows me and others to hear what the themes I’m dealing with means to them. I’m focused so much on archetypal human experiences, the crochet parties have been a way for me to see the archetypes through the personal.
So out of need bloomed content. Over the years, this process has become a potent vehicle for content in my work. Especially with Mater Matrix Mother and Medium, the making became a performative aspect of the content, with over 30 crochet events around the city of Seattle in 2009, and several hundred people joined in the energy of the final installation.
I really value how this process pulls me out of the sometimes isolating private studio when I am working alone, and pulls me into the lives of other people. My work has connected me to so many people I care about; a long thread between us. Viewers are no long these static anonymous entities, but now active participants in the forming of how I think about my work.
Even with the very intimate content of the Solstenen project, I am glad to know I will carry people with me to Iceland, probably people I haven’t even met yet. We all share the experiences of archetypes; we will all grow to earthward. So it makes sense for the personal to be communal as well.
So please join me! Let me teach you crochet during the 7 weeks I’ll be at The Project Room. Or come share what you know, if you already rock the hook! Because my work is so organic and rough, and I will be reworking everything I use, there is no possibility of failure for the begining learner. It’s purely about letting your hands teach you how they want to do it; no goals for a final product. And working around people of all different skills levels creates a very intuitive flow for the passing of knowledge. It’s fun. It’s addictive. I should know.