Wednesday, 26 March 2008

janet morton (knit)

early frost - 2004

Artist Janet Morton's knitted work can be seen indoors and frequently out in the community, covering trees and buildings. Who could ever have thought that anyone could make trees more beautiful than nature has already? But these stunning web-like crochet coverings comfortably creep across their trunks.. hugging, decorating, warming and accentuating the contours of the towering stately creatures.

linden in lace - 2003

Her work is a wide-ranging exploration of architecture, texture, comfort, values, our use of exterior or interior spaces, of feminism, domesticity, craft, language, isolation and community. Quite a lot..

four season tree - 2004

To add 10,000 cloth leaves to the branches of trees (see above) is indeed beautiful, industrious and thought-provoking. Here all the seasons are present at once, showing the myriad of beautiful colours the tree presents us with throughout a year. The whole cycle in one place, although artificially created. Presenting her works continuously in such public arenas shows a desire to communicate with a wide audience and to ensure that nobody be excluded from the participatory experience or to engage with the subject, or piece.

casting off - 2000

The above artwork is a piece involving participants who each knitted and submitted squares. Each square commemorated an event of personal or historical significance, with a date and a ball of wool hanging from it. There were around 400 of these squares.

felled - 1997

The installation above is a translation of a poem. The leaves were made from work socks, as you can see below. The notion of work is another recurrent theme in her work. I interpret this making of beautiful delicate items, from work-worn, day-to-day socks as a mark of respect for the labour they participated in.

felled (detail) - 1997

You may have seen Janet Morton's knitted installation at the Crafts Council's Knit 2 Together exhibition a couple of years ago. It is an entirely knitted interior furnished with items typical of a 1950's suburban living room.
A hoover provides us with a nod to the work or chores of the house, but the woollen cup with a frothy top to it provides us with a nod to the famous feminist piece by Meret Oppenheim. Perhaps she is paying respect to the work of the woman who would have carried out the chores and the knitting in the home at that time? Perhaps the cup is a hint of rebellion or a simple dash of irony.

It is exciting that another distinguished artist is using wool and knitting in such thought-provoking ways giving it the potential to be seen as a serious medium in it's own right. I hope we hear a lot more about her in the future. Please follow this link for a visual archive of her work.

10 comments:

amy p said...

I've returned again and again to your blog. All the articles are simply fascinating. Thanks!

MARICHELLE said...

thanks for opening my eyes to this new world! amazing, wow :O

Margie Oomen said...

I am so happy to see you posting about Janet morton, from Toronto , Ontario because you see I live just north of Toronto, love to knit and was very fortunate to see her installation at the Textile Museum in a number of years ago. They still have a book for only 10 dollars which is a catalogue of this exhibit listed in the museum's bookstore.http://www.textilemuseum.ca/shop_books.html. The most amazing and memorable piece in her work was the knitted house cosy she made for a real house on Ward Island . I would love to knit a cosy for a small cabin some day.

DingDongBell said...

I love the juxtaposition of Jane Morton's work, the crochet covered trees are so beautiful with their delicate and fragile embellishment yet are sitting in the natural outdoor landscape...

I am so inspired by the amazing things you find and fascinated by the language you use to describe them, thank you so much.

Carolina Eclectic said...

Oh, I absolutely love this!

Ebba Redman said...

I think this work is really lovely! I have a blog about the resurgence of domestic craft skills, and have created a post linked to your blog. I find it really inspiring to see traditional craft skills used in art. I will be visiting this blog a lot!
Thank you :-)

Bettyjoy said...

Some really wonderful and unique creations!

charlotte said...

ha! I saw this tree on flickr but there was no reference to who it way by or anything. I love it - so nice to see it again :)

grrl + dog said...

its the sock leaves for me..

the old worn out and cast off..like autumn leaves.

who would want to touch these old socks unless they were transformed?

La-Isa said...

What fascinating pieces of creations! Just imaginening things and they just start to appear from a small thread of yarn.... What a amazing art Janet MOrton makes!
Love this kind of art, specially those made possible by a bunch of participants.
Here in Holland yarnbombing is not yet being spread all over the country, but just beginning...
I posted it on my facebook page, to spread the word. Thinking about starting a project with friends and more... Thanks!