77 cm x 50 cm / Fiber art sculpture: Wood, brushes, acrylic paint, and freeform crochet
Woman are soft and pink and delicate. They are caring and nurturing. They are so emotional, connected to nature and life on the deepest level. They are fragile and need a defender. Their tiny hands can work small and intricate patterns of flowers and hate. Entangled in strings of beauty, and thinness and youth and stupidity and meekness. Holdings hands with other woman to stop them to rise and to revolt. Oh, so great is our task of emotional labour, but who pays for it? All the abuse and oppression are painted pink.
The context of fiber art
For centuries needlework and fiber art are deemed as women’s work, but not in an appreciating manner but as in describing a lesser art: An occupation of idle rich woman who do not know how to kill their leisure time – a occupation for the fragile woman with slender white hands whose delicate nature does not allow her to participate fully in life. A beauty creating beauty. Needlework is seen as a craft instead of an art (and with this devaluing crafts). A work that can be done at home, where the fragile woman is hidden from the world. So many stereotypes connected with fabric, wool and needles. Up today I know men who would be ashamed to be seen in public while knitting or crocheting. They feel that these techniques rob them of masculinity.
Although these limiting ideas of femininity and art are slowly overturning with many great artist and writers who tackle this topic they are still present. The bevor mentioned stereotypical image of a woman doing needlework encases so many lines of discrimination (sexism, ageism, racism, ableism, and classism) it is frightening me. Therefore, my sculpture.
The explanation of the artwork
The disrupted texture of crochet which sprawls unhindered like the unshaved hair on female legs. The pink turning neon and by this becoming visible and loud instead of soft and meek. The broken and worn brushes which show that art (or craft) is always work, persistence, force, and fight, independent of sex and gender of the artist. The wooden post with splinters which symbolises the many women (and naturally also men and people who define themselves in other ways) who already have fight for my many rights today.
I have built a sceptre to celebrate the freedom of choosing which role we follow. To show that female qualities are qualities which female defining people show. There are no set rules, we create them. Perhaps my work is also an umbrella which protects women from all the opposing demands of being a mother, a worker, a lover, a beauty, demands of staying at home or going out, of wearing heels but not too high… you get the point.
The making off a fiber art sculpture
As I love challenges and hard work (that’s a lie, I am lazy, and I am still angry that I have chosen this time-consuming medium) I decided to work with many different materials and with crochet which needs so much more time/work than a painting (for me).
For this fiber art sculpture I started with a wooden bar in which I drilled holes for the old brushes I used as limbs for the sculpture. I secured the brushes additionally with glue.
During the last week I have made the freeform crochet. The sculpture consists of three main pieces, which I crocheted separately and attached after everything was dried and finished.The crochet develops out of spiral forms and I used the characteristic of crochet which allows the fabric to grow into many directions and to become three dimensional. I created the pattern while working and one stitch led to another. To lend the fabric a maximum of structure I used puff stitches, fans, and bullion stitches.
The connections between the wooden limbs and the different pieces of crochet are made from chains I crocheted directly into the sculpture. This also applies to the smaller fragments of crochet fabric in between the bigger ones (remind me to never do this again, because I had numb arms afterwards)
As I hate to sew in the ends I
forced bribed begged my good friend Silvia Szlapka to help me and because of her being a really lovely person (and a wonderful artist as you can see for yourself at her website) she helped me. Her work is all neatly sewn in yarn-ends, the cute little pompoms, and the photos.
I also want to thank @shanibeer for her inspiration to work with freeform crochet (go visit her blog, to see more knitting, crochet, and art) and @girlbeforemirror who reminded me that we all have obstacle to overcome. I want to thank @juliakponsford a great musician, filmmaker and artist for hosting the #artexplosion contest which encourages me to widen my artistic horizon. And naturally I want to thank the great needlework community and (@crosheille who nurses it) and who helps me to go on although my head or my fingers hurt. Who encourage me with supporting, intelligent, lovely, and funny comments. If you want to read all the comments of the #needleworkmonday community go to my steemit blog.
Thank you <3
By the way, if you want to buy one of my artworks, feel free to contact me by comment, mail or my website. I highly appreciate fame and money 😀