One of my favorite things to do is to visit knitting/yarn shops while traveling the country. Mostly, I like to pet the fibers and any person who works with yarn understands the need for this activity. And, best of all, this store also had a posting spot for announcements, causes and news. In the background, the words “challenge, change, cure” aptly fits the theme of this project. If you happen to be passing through Evanston any time soon, I encourage you to stop by Close Knit and see if the sweater is still there as well as pet the luxurious silk, mohair, wool skeins that adorn the interior!
While the top sweater is experiencing culture shock of being exhibited in a gallery in a more formal art setting, the sweater below was placed on a bicycle rack on the corner of two main streets of Spartanburg, SC late last week. And, since I didn’t want to promote one specific business, I found that this seemed to be a great compromise by placing it in front of a what seemed to be a popular eatery but also a placement promoting alternative transportation options. The pattern used for this sweater is one that is new to me and reminded me of ancient Peruvian textiles. The language of textiles are as universal as one can get in the sense that we all have some connection to a shape of a textile, its use or the images imbedded into them. I am hopeful that this little sweater spoke to someone out there to pick it up and investigate its meaning.
The 7th sweater taking part in the Australian exhibition is reminiscent of items found in a local Toys R Us aisle as these two colors seem to be very popular among a younger audience. The design of two small stripes indicates text of some sort that no longer is visible and is derived from contemporary fashion with shirts that have mantras stamped across the front of them. The sweater below was placed in a local dog park adjacent to a sporting field. A dog park can be one of the friendliest places and people are eager to strike up conversations. I have often spent an afternoon immersed in conversations with people that I would normally never come into contact with, but because I have a dog, there is something in common. I am hoping that this underlying commonality bridges the gap in encouraging others to support the National Coalition for the Homeless. Now if only our politicians could find some common ground to work from, maybe things could actually get done for the good of the people!
Over the weekend, I participated in a local arts fair in Oak Park and used this time to promote Found Objects. It was fascinating to hear responses from, “What does it do?” to “Can Barbie wear it?” and my favorite, “Why not just knit a sweater for a homeless guy.” I love the opportunity to explore audience reaction to what I have been doing in the studio as I always find it such a litmus test to theories pondered upon while meticulously working on highly repetitive tasks. It is not often that artists get the chance to hear direct feed back regarding their work. In addition, due to the nature of the work being “hand-crafted”, knitted, etc., it brings upon it’s own set of assumptions such as taking very little time to complete or needing to be functional in some way. Many people were surprised at how long it takes to knit one sweater (between 3 & 4 hours), and couldn’t understand that they weren’t for sale. Also, I realize how little people read and the necessity for personal interaction for audiences to understand the concept behind the work. Obviously, this work is for those that have the time and energy to devote in order to fully comprehend the work–often a neglected fact that artists overlook while working in the small self-serving environments we often place ourselves (such as the isolated studio concept). In the end, only a few people took a card or two explaining the project. Looking forward to hearing future results of these collected objects.
Finally made it to the Metra station in Oak Park. I placed this one out just minutes before the next commuter train arrived. I love the wanted notice just below the “To Chicago” sign. It’s things like these that you don’t notice when you are moving quickly but is captured in a second with a camera.
Item #11 was placed on top of a newspaper box in front of the CTA Ridgeland Green Line station on Tuesday afternoon, about the time that the high school students are milling about and waiting for the next bus. I didn’t notice the graffiti until I looked at the photo when I returned. Hoping to find other interesting backgrounds for future sweaters.