The week always kicks off here at Crochet Concupiscence with a feature article on a crochet artist. Lately my attention seems to be drawn to male crochet artists (although don’t worry, there are lots more female crochet artists to be profiled on the site) and today’s male crochet artists that I want to tell you more about is Doug Guildford. This artist was primarily someone who did drawings and printmaking up until about ten years ago. At that time he began collecting rope, fishing tackle and bait bags and taught himself how to crochet these items to make sculptural works of art that reflect nature around the sea.
More about crochet artist Doug Guildford
Guildford is a Toronto-based Canadian artist. His crochet work is currently featured in an exhibit at Gallery Connexion there (until June 30). An article about that exhibit said that the authors describes his own work as “obsessive sculptural crochet projects” and something about that term just really grabbed my attention.
Examples of Doug Guildford’s crochet art
Guildford has done crochet work with found materials, such as fishing tackle. He has also crocheted a series of nets out of metal wire. What I find so impressive, I think, is that his metal wire crochet sculptures really seem to have a feminine, soft sensibility about them. I also like the way that his work is sometimes set against natural and urban settings in photographs to emphasize the craft of the work. Take a look:
WASP, crocheted poly-twine, via Bank On Art
Doily, via Jenesis Studios
Doily, via CCCA.ca
Skirt, nylon-coated copper wire, via Akimbo
Net, stainless steel wire and glass, via CCCA.ca
Found and Crocheted Objects, via Ontario College of Art & Design
Quotes about Guildford’s crochet art
I like the point of this quote from the Gallery Connexion exhibit article:
“He says that what he does is actually very basic. Crocheting is basic. If you can make a chain, you can crochet, but like an artist with a pencil, he notes, the materials are few, but what you do with those relatively simple objects can be extraordinary.”
And am intrigued by the point made in this quote from an Akimbo.ca article:
“There is also an underlying gender tension in Guildford’s meticulous crocheting – a traditional women’s craft that has its origins as a method for fishermen to repair their nets.”
Exemplifying the Hard and Soft of Crochet Art
One of the key themes that seems to reoccur in crochet art is the juxtaposition of “hard and soft”, which in turn reflects the “male and female” in society. On the one hand the work is “hard” in that it is made with durable materials like stainless steel wire. On the other hand, the act of crochet as well as the finished product are both “soft”.