This YouTube video is of Roth and her creative partner generally discussing the creative process
Monday is crochet artist recognition day on Crochet Concupiscence. I try to spread the word about creative fine art, multimedia art and abstract art artists who work at least partially with crochet as their mediums. Today’s crochet artist is Laurel Roth, a multimedia artist who has gained attention in the past for her crochet art that sends a strong message about women’s issues.
A Little Bit About Crochet Artist Laurel Roth
Laurel Roth is a San Francisco based multimedia artist who has worked in many different mediums. For example, she made a series of beautiful peacocks out of a range of items including fake fingernails, nail polish and jewelry. The work that she does always makes a statement about society. The crochet work that she does tends to make a statement about women in society, something that makes sense since crochet has typically been seen as a women’s craft. At one point she took six months off of her day job to focus on her art. She figured she’d have to return to a day job at some point but instead managed to become successful as an artist. Roth’s work has been featured in numerous galleries and museums around the world. In 2011 she will be showing at Grey Norris Gallery in San Francisco and Megumi Ogita Gallery in Tokyo.
Examples of Laurel Roth’s Crochet Art Work
There are two major bodies of work that Roth has done that involve the use of crochet. The one that has gained the most attention (and the reason I came across her work in the first place) is Hope Chest. The other is Beyond Darwin.
The above image is a 2008 crochet art creation called PMS Quilt that is part of the Hope Chest series. Blood red crocheted pantyliners are hand embroidered with foul language stereotypically not used by “nice women”. This calls up all kinds of insinuations and questions and issues surrounding women’s bodies, “appropriate” behavior for women, women’s domestic arts like crochet and essentially asks the question of what it really means to be a woman in today’s society.
Roth describes Hope Chest on her wesbite as:
“Relearning embroidery and crochet techniques originally learned in childhood, I’ve also been filling my own “hope chest” with off-kilter reflections on biology, fertility, and the ever-changing roles of women
Beyond Darwin is a bit different from Hope Chest in that it doesn’t necessarily address women’s issues specifically. However, it address ecological and environmental issues using the art of crochet. Many have argued that eco-issues, animal rights and women’s rights are interwoven issues and the use of crochet (a typically feminine art) in this project helps to weave those themes together.
Roth describes Beyond Darwin on her website as a set of “biodiversity reclamation suits for urban pigeons” and goes on to say:
Fascinated with women’s traditional use of fiber-craft to provide safety and comfort, I have been crocheting small suits for urban pigeons that disguise them as extinct birds, thereby (visually) re-creating biodiversity and soothing environmental fears.
In this project, Roth takes handcarved wooden pigeons and then crochets the suits to go on top of them. The pigeons are then perched on wooden stands. Although pigeons seem to be the most common bird in this project, there are actually dodos, woodpeckers and parakeets featured in the project as well. (The above image is actually of a parakeet.)
Laurel Roth around the Web
- Laurel Roth’s website
- Science Blogs has a great article about Laurel Roth’s crochet Hope Chest project
- Petals and Bones has an interesting interview with artist Laurel Roth in which she talks a lot about what it’s like to be a working artist
- Depth Perception has another interview with not only Roth but also her partner Andy Diaz Hope, another artist that she collaborates with
- Frey Norris Gallery represents Roth in San Francisco
Question of the Day:
Roth is not the only female artist to tackle the subject of women’s issues using domestic arts like crochet. Can you think of any other crochet artists who are doing similar work? Share in the comments so I can do some research into them!