Vacating ….

I’m sure to be knitting, making, thinking, and so on … but from places of silence and repose near and far.   To be certain, there will be plenty to share after the summer holidays.

Here’s hoping your summer is as productive as I’m hoping mine will be.

Unnatural Museum

Take a tour of Elaine Bradford‘s Museum of Unnatural History, where taxidermy and crochet are taken to unnatural extremes …

For Museum of Unnatural History, Houston-based artist Elaine Bradford has created a faux natural history museum filled with a variety of animals and specimens “discovered” by the fictitious fringe scientist Dr. Thomas Harrigan during his explorations into a dimension known as “The Sidereal”. According to the museum’s pseudo-scientific text, The Sidereal is “in many ways a mirror image of our world [that] has produced a variety of species possessing adaptations wildly divergent from those we see on earth.” A visitor to Museum of Natural History will view creatures that include the Pushmi-pullyu (Tragus januali), a lichen eating two headed sheep; the longcat (Lynx metamorpha), a blue mite covered feline whose powerful limbs and body can expand up to ten times their at-rest length; and the Procyon besheret, fondly known as the “pair-bears” due to the permanent fusing of tails during a secret mating ritual. The animals on view are constructed from taxidermy animals, sometimes in their original state, other times cut in half or fused with the bodies of others, which are then sheathed in outfits which Bradford carefully crochets, an art taught to her by her grandmother, when the artist was a child growing up in Alice, Texas. Elaine did not really appreciate the calming, repetitive act of crochet, nor did she take it seriously as an art, until she was in graduate school at the California Institute of the Arts. Here Bradford developed a project in which she crocheted individual sweaters for everything in her refrigerator, including all the baby carrots. “I was really interested in the connotations that came along with crochet for me, ideas of comfort, warmth, and family; the absurd act of making labor intensive objects for things that have no need for them always makes me chuckle.”

Monsters and horror night at the aknitmation festival!

Japanese filmmaker Mai Tominaga combined live action, animation and knitted puppetry in his  award-winning animé fantasy, “WOOL 100%.”

And to take it into the wee hours, a few more suggestions:  Attack of the Killer Crochet Hook, Killer Crochet, and Yarn Monster Walk.

Perhaps its time for a bit of “high culture”, and crochet.  The next feature in this aknitmation festival mixes needlework techniques and literature: “Poetree”, by Castlegardner, in which the crocheted and knitted puppet was made by Ceri Watling, and Don Carlson declaimed “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe.

My fingers are twitching.

And what about aknitmated music and drama?  Here is a music video by Max Alexander for the tune ‘I am Ahab’ by Not-Too-Distant-Future.  As described by the maker:

After a fight with his girlfriend Ahab becomes overcome with madness and takes drastic action to change himself. But things only get worse when he encounters a blood hungry rat monster. Ahab’s quest takes him across turbulent seas and through strange watery worlds on his hunt for a better life. Will he find what he’s looking for or will the monsters get the better of him?

And another:  “the wool” (2003), by German animator Ali Soozandeh:

Partners beware!

If the nostalgic “Ball of Wool” was sweet, and the activist “Don’t Let it All Unravel” savory, then perhaps it’s time for something spicier. Here’s an example of the art of intimate communication by redknittingannie.

Perhaps we might call it “in-knit-imacy”?

Serebryakov’s “Ball of Wool” was a thrilling example of an early effort to animate needlework.   The magical knitted environment so affectionately created was unravelled by uncontrolled exploitation of its special resource: it’s paschal “ball of wool”.

The second feature in this miniature animation festival also concerns environment and its loss, but with a distinctly modern twist. “Don’t Let it All Unravel” by Sarah Cox, was recently presented at the Encounters Film Festival (Bristol, England):

This one really makes clear how powerfully fiber can speak to us.

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