The theme for this exhibition was taken from a series by Lindsay Obermeyer which, in turn, was inspired by a text entitled "Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society" by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. (1) The title, Woman's Work?, in the context of art, brings to mind the traditional (acceptable) forms of artmaking by women such as knitting, crocheting, embroidery, etc. Endeavors such as these not only have had to overcome the stigma of "craft" but also their association with the feminine due to their ties to the home and to the family. Yet while our customary idea of family has changed and "sewing arts" have overcome their non-high art classification, there remains something inherently familial, homey often, about these particular art forms. The three artists chosen for this exhibition, Anni Holm, Mark Newport, and Lindsay Obermeyer, share both their process-knitting-as well as the use of knitting as a metaphor for our connection to one another.
Mark Newport knits several Costumes whose bright colors, often recognizable symbols, and shape are reminiscent of the super-masculine action heroes which picture largely in our childhood memories. The concept of action hero speaks to the traditional notion of husband and father as protector of the family. Not only do Newport's Costumes remind us of heroes battling outside forces but also of our interior world, our home. When juxtaposed with the medium of knitting the Costumes conjure memories of the warmth and safety sought in our domestic environment through their allusion to cozy blankets and warm sweaters. Due to the lack of an actual body to fill these Costumes, when exhibited, they appear passive as they hang limply from the gallery wall. Thus Newport creates performances which "activate" the Costumes by showing himself in the process of making and wearing them.
The connection of textiles to the traditional role of woman finds its strongest voice in the work of Lindsay Obermeyer. For Obermeyer's series entitled "Woman's Work" she addresses the relationship between mother and child. For example, in her piece Twirlers Obermeyer uses thread to create a sweater whose "breasts" extend and pool onto the gallery floor. The resulting image is one in which the viewer is invited to connect to the biological demands of motherhood as well as the reality of an unending bond/giving of parent to child. Twirlers also alludes to the demands upon one's time which can be problematic for an artist/parent. Historically, for women, a choice must be made between their artwork and their duties to their family. Obermeyer reconciles this dilemma by conflating the two.
About NEIU Art Gallery
The NEIU gallery is located at 5500 N. St. Louis Avenue in building E in the northwest area of the campus. Parking is free in parking lot F the night of the reception only. The Fine Arts Center Gallery is a visual exhibition space committed to showing innovative works of art in all media within a pluralistic, culturally diverse setting. Fall gallery hours are 10am-5pm Mon-Fri. Please call 773-442-4944 or visit our website at www.neiu.edu/~gallery/ for more information.
So happy! Our final yarn bombing was installed last Thursday and it is holding strong. After our Day of the Dead installation being stolen in under a week, we were holding our breath on this one. But worry not, it is still there! In fact these photos were taken by fellow neighbor and artist Sara Convery after several days and two rain storms.
A big shout out to Joanie Friedman for offering the opportunity and to my new community arts partner Mary K. Lawrie for helping with the design, construction and installation. And a BIG thank you to all the knitters and crocheters involved. Your dedication was inspirational!
Happy Fall! So many new projects are in the works. I am excited to share with you that I am a new blog contributor over at Illustration Friday. If you haven't swung by this website, you must. Every week a new prompt is given and artists from around the globe send in their finished ideas based on that prompt. It's full of oodles of inspiration as there are no limitations on medium, so you could see the same prompt illustrated in graphite, watercolor, collage or even mixed media. The sky is the limit. There are also artist interviews, book releases and a new kids section. Started by Penelope Dullaghan, the website was a way to meet others in the field and further develop her portfolio. Little did she expect it to become the powerhouse it is today.
Twenty years of teaching art to children is being brought to you in the form of projects on a twice weekly basis. I am having a blast covering techniques I haven't explored in years. Check out my first two posts and sign up over at IF to get blog updates sent direct to your mailbox.
Mary and I wrapped up our projects in Rogers Park this past weekend at the neighborhood's Harvest Festival. The day was overcast and chilly, but families came out to greet the clowns, paint a pumpkin and of course, make a few fabric flowers.
After the theft of nearly 2/3 of our Day of the Dead installation, Mary and I were determined to up the number of flowers at the corner of Howard and Clark. We succeeded. In just 1 hour children and adults had made 80 flowers for us to install! We used the same technique I taught at Intuit in August, so I knew even the youngest of children could do it. Everyone loved the idea and looked forward to spotting their contribution. Mary is proud to show off her creation made with upcycled t-shirt fabric.
By the end of the afternoon, we had added them to street poles and a traffic control box. I love it when folks honk, waving and giving the thumbs up. Such response makes it all worth it.
"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers
connect us with our fellow men." --Herman Melville
"Color! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams."
-- Paul Gaugin
We did it! Mary and I successfully completed two yarn bombings with the help of the Rogers Park community! Rogers Park is officially now blooming!
The weather was comfortably cool and sunny. We couldn't have asked for a finer day. Students from the Chicago Academy of Math and Sciences gave us a hand. With their help, it only took 45 minutes to install over 200 crocheted marigolds and a dozen or so papel picados. Thank you CAMS students! You rocked!
We managed to cover 2/3 of the fence along the Clark Street side of Touhy Park which is the length of a full city block. Given that a Chicago city block is 660 feet long , that's approximately 440 feet yarn bombed!
Waste not, want not. The chunky red flowers were made from upcyled red "thread" from The Red Thread Project®, the community art project I originated and led for 7.5 years. I love them and want to make a blanket full of giant squishy red flowers.
October 6th is the official Chicago Artists Month tour of the Rogers Park yarn bombings. Hope to see you at the mini yarn bombing event hosted by the Rogers Park Business Alliance at 2pm!
“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” — Henry David Thoreau
Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
756 N. Milwaukee
$5 / $3 Intuit Members
Entire Series: $25 / $15 Intuit Member
"While the spirit of neighborliness was important on the frontier
because neighbors were so few, it is even more important now
because our neighbors are so many." -- Lady Bird Johnson
Mary K. Lawrie and I are leading a yarn bombing of the handrail along the southern side of Addison St. Bridge. We will be knitting stripes of color to cover the handrail along the southern side of the Addison Bridge adding a whimsical dash to the grey expanse. Knit and crocheted by the community in colors taken from the mural, this temporary installation, reminiscent of one giant Dr. Who scarf covering the handrail, is designed to bring all ages of the community together, both in the act of making the installation and in the enjoyment of it.
Participants will receive a yarn packet with basic stitch patterns to be used, gauge requirements, and basic striping requests included, otherwise the participants’ creativity will determine the ultimate outcome of the striping sequences. A limited number of these packets will include knitting needles or crochet hooks and tapestry needles for sewing in ends.
Join us at one of our two workshops!
For more check out
--> A donation of $10-$20 is requested.
If you can't make it to either event, but want to participate, please leave me a message. I will send you the yarn.
Now for the specifics:
Your kit will include Lion Brand Yarn – Vanna’s Choice® in colors to coordinate with the new mural. There is enough to make one scarf approximately 7 x 60 inches. Please cast on or chain for 7 inches and not wider as the handrail is narrow.
We chose this yarn for its color range, durability and for the reason that Lion Brand donates a portion of its profit from Vanna's Choice® to St. Jude’s Research Hospital.
Note that crochet and knitting looms typically use more yarn as do cable and garter stitches. If you are knitting on a loom or crocheting your scarf, your end result may be a few inches less than 60.
There isn’t a particular pattern to follow, so have fun exploring different stitches and color combinations!
There are a limited number of kits, so it’s on a first-come-first serve basis.
Knit: 16 stitches x 22 rows = 4" (10 cm) on size 9 (5.5 mm) needles
Crochet: 12 sc + 15 rows = 4" (10 cm) on size J-10 (6 mm) hook
Knitting Loom Directions
If you are knitting using a knitting loom, please follow the directions for the one-over-three stitch not the directions that come with the loom.
The yarn is worsted weight, so the result will be lacy if done following the directions that typically come with the knitting looms. You will want to also keep in mind that you will be working back and forth on your loom and not knit in the round.
When you have completed your scarf, please message me or contact me through my website. You will be given drop off instructions at that time. We ask that all scarves be completed by September 30th. Please have all tails woven into the fabric and all knots secured. Remember, this will be installed outdoors for 2 months and we hope they remain in good condition for the duration of the installation.
The scarves will be stitched together by Lindsay and Mary. Installation will occur in mid-October. Everyone is welcome to assist us with the installation. The exact date and time will be announced here and on Facebook in early October.
Our hope is that enough of the scarves will be in good condition so we may cut them apart and donate them to a local charity. We will need volunteers to help us deinstall, disconnect and wash all scarves.
We would like thank Lion Brand® for donating three of the colors used in this project and to Clover USA for donating the knitting and crocheting equipment. And of course, we thank you for taking the time to join us in this creative community adventure.