Hark! The Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn approaches! Extreme Crafters are holed away in their studios busily creating their creations. I can feel the vibrations that are coming from all of the sewing, chopping, rhinestoning, knitting, crocheting, and ceramicking. I counted something like 183 vendors on the website. For the uninitiated, the Renegade Craft fair was founded by Kathleen Habbley and Sue Blatt in Chicago in 2003, as a reaction against established craft fairs like the Bucktown Craft Fair. The first event drew 76 vendors, and planted the seeds for the fair's current success. Renegade added the Brooklyn event last year, and the co-founders are working on a shop to showcase D.I.Y. craft. The website contains a cornucopia of vendor links, which should have you dreaming of iPod cozies and stuffed monster dolls for...hours at least. The submission deadline has passed for the Brooklyn show, but you can always start planning for Chicago in September.
This is catch-up week at Extreme Craft. One of the other things that I've been meaning to make a post about is the knitted sequence in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". This prominently featured scene is an example of the "Improbability Drive" that fuels the spaceship "Heart of Gold" in the movie. The filmmakers should have realized that the scene was less improbably than they thought, because all roads seem to lead to knitting these days.
I've been meaning to share this beautiful handcrafted mahogany object that I bought in Kenya a few months ago, and now I actually am. It was impossible to escape Coca-Cola in Kenya (as it is everywhere else on the Earth. The crafty Kenyans make fabulous baskets and containers using wire and Coke bottlecaps...because tourists like me line up to buy them. I found this mahogany carved Coke bottle in a gift store during my 8 hour wait in Nairobi.
While I'm in Geekland (which I seem to be more often than not these days), let me share a link with you that I found on BoingBoing this morning. You are looking at a wireframe teapot that lives inside of a gutted Commodore computer. This might be the most extreme teapot that I've ever encountered...and that's saying something. When you visit the site, be sure to click on the video link.
Graphics Demo is a modified Commodore CBM 3032 computer. Its inner life was replaced by a mechanics. A wireframe model of a teapot, soldered out of silvered copper wire, is gimballed inside the monitor cabinet. The model is varnished with green uv-active paint and lighted by four blacklight tubes, which are installed invisible inside the cabinet. The teapot can be rotated in any direction by using the numeric keypad. During the rotation, you can hear the electric motors and feel their vibrations.
Last night, I joined the geeked-out throngs at the Midtown 8 in Atlanta for the premiere of Star Wars Episode III. I'm not the world's biggest Star Wars fan, but I can't deny the affection that my 5-year old self had for the first movie. I collected action figures and trading cards...I even...erm...carried around a purse that held my actions figures. Ahem. Like anything that attracts a cultish following, Star Wars has its share of tributes, expressed through the wonder of craft. It is with great joy that I bring you my Star Wars Craft roundup.
There are a bazillion sites devoted to creating Star Wars Costumes. You can get into all sorts of crafty trouble at TK-409, an entire site devoted to do-it-yourself Star Wars props. Hot on that sites heels is TK560.com, which also includes genres apart from Star Wars. One of the best things I have seen in my entire life is the annual Stormtrooper parade at Dragoncon in Atlanta. Finally, the official Star Wars site has an offering of craft projects including holiday ornaments, dioramas, and valentines. Whew! if anyone has any notable additions, please send them to me HERE
Wicked! Slowly, slowly, I'm joining the 21st Century. I'm sending this post from my cell phone. The photo that you see is an example of what happens when architects have too much time and inspiration on their hands. Jeff Stebar, an architect at the firm where I work, created this "PC Moose" from slabs of foamcore. Foamcore is to architects as clay is to potters, or little nylon loops are to potholder makers. Watch out for PC Moose at an internet near you.
That's what I'm talking about! All thanks to Elizabeth for hepping me to the work of Whitney Lee. Ms. Lee executes (sometimes very large scale) latch-hooked rugs based on soft-core pornography. I was very charmed by her artist's statement on her website, which gives viewers a bit of background on her art. Like many people, it seems like Whitney Lee was drawn to the thrill of mixing craft with seemingly dichotomous subject matter, but has achieved a depth and fluidity in her chosen medium .
When I first developed the process for turning photographs into latch-hook rugs, it made perfect sense to me to hook Playboy-style soft-core pornography. The women in those images still possessed the plasticky beauty that in that point of my art career I loved to hate, but this time I was more interested in placing medium against subject in order to point out the dichotomous relationship between a crafty, 'motherly' type woman and a sexually confident 'slutty' woman. In our society it is nearly impossible for a woman to be both types, when really the two should be able to coexist.
if that weren't enough, Whitney started a website, "www.madewithsweetlove.com" to make affordable versions of her art available to the masses. You can order a do-it-yourself kit from her website, which even includes the yarn that you need to complete your rug. Excuse me while I pick my jaw up from the floor.
My mailbox was brightened this week by the arrival of two of the best potholders on the face of the earth. My friend Kacy, a fierce advocate of crocheters rights take that, knitters) sent them to me. I'm not the only one enthusing over them--apparently Debbie Stoller has picked them for inclusion in the next "Stitch n Bitch" book. Note to self. I owe Kacy some Strawberry-Rhubarb pie.
Holy Shit! I can say one thing with certainty today, and that is the fact that Marilyn Scott-Waters rocks ultrahard. BoingBoing just posted a link to her site, which is an online collection of Victorian toys that you can download, print on your own damn printer, and assemble. She just published a book called The Toymaker: Folding Paper Toys That You Can Make Yourself, which you can buy through her site. The site also features a blog where she publishes her newest toys, sketches and ideas. In a similar vein, you can go to Jotto.com, the website of J. Otto Seibold, one my favorite illustrators, and download a charming "Bubblesoap" box. Also worth checking out is his popup version of "Alice in Wonderland". While you're still in the pop-up mood, check out a lovely online History of Pop-Up and Moveable BooksHERE.
This body of work was created during a Summer 2010 residency at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China. These porcelain vessels explore traditional Chinese iconography as refracted through a decidedly Western point of view.