The 1970s crochet book Creative Crochet shows several pieces of work from a Lannie Martowe. The 1980s book Art to Wear has a few items from a mixed media crochet artist named Lannie Hart. I’m not 100% certain but it is my guess based on the style of the work that these two women are one in the same. Lannie Hart is still making art today, in the form of mixed media sculptures that explore femininity, found objects and iconic imagery.
Lannie Martowe in Creative Crochet
Lannie Martowe has multiple crochet art pieces featured in the Creative Crochet book.
My favorite of Lannie’s pieces in this book is this African Voodoo Man, which we only see a portion of here. What I love is how it is clearly crochet work and yet incorporates lots of other craft techniques. The eyes are embroidery and the feathers and leather are sewn into the piece. The seashells show an early love of mixed media that would characterize Lannie’s work in the years to come.
This “beaded bib” by Lannie Martiowe combines openwork crochet stitches and highly textural stitches with metallic beadwork decorations. The book explains that Lannie recreated this three-dimensional wearable art piece from a drawing.
This Kris Kringle doll is about 18″ tall and designed to look as much like an antique doll as possible. It is made from a combination of cotton and wool yarn.
Lannie Hart in Art to Wear
The 1980s book Art to Wear consists primarily of work from artists who specifically make wearable art (obviously). Interestingly, though, the book features the work of Lannie Hart even though what’s shown there isn’t specifically wearable. Like the 1975 Hart Bag, shown front and back here:
I love the way that this piece combines photo transfer with crochet edging but it also incorporates other craft techniques like stitching and quilting.
Art to Wear reveals more about the artist. Hart was born in the South and learned to craft from her mother, who knew how to crochet among many other domestic arts. She was a commercial art major at Virginia Commonwealth but moved to New York City in the mid 1960s. She says of this time:
“The Flower Child ear was in full bloom; I wore feathers in my hair and made beaded necklaces. I didn’t simply dress, I created costumes.”
It was in New York that she met many of the women who were at the forefront of the creative crochet movement, women like Dina Knapp, Nicki Hitz Edson, Julie Schafler Dale and Sharron Hedges. Hart learned to appreciate her Souther craft roots while at the same time exploring the mixture of “masculine” and “feminine” mixed media in single art pieces. We see that combination in the 1976 piece Winged Victory which combines “masculine” objects like screws, bolts and Lucite with “feminine” crafts including crochet, quilting and embroidery:
Lannie Martowe now Lannie Hart?
Like I said, I haven’t confirmed anywhere that Lannie Martowe later began going by the name Lannie Hart but here’s why I think they’re the same person:
- Many of the artists featured in Creative Crochet were later featured in Art to Wear.
- Art to Wear mentions that Lannie Hart knew Nicki Hitz Edson, co-author of Creative Crochet.
- Several of the female artists featured in 1970s crochet books changed names between the 1970s and now, presumably due to marriages.
- There is some similarity between the work by this artist in each of these two books. There is a trend towards sculptural work as well as a trend towards incorporating crochet with other mixed media.
- Lannie isn’t the most common first name, is it?!
Lannie Hart in the Gallery
Lannie Hart, Sculptor
You can see what Lannie Hart is up to in the twenty first century by visiting her web page. She reiterates there that she has worked in many different mediums, including paints and clay, and of course soft sculpture with fiber and crochet. Her site says, “In her current sculpture she has drawn from her years of experience in all these media. Her work is a melange of all the materials she loves.”
Hart uses a variety of found objects in her sculpture work. She uses polymer clay and various metals to create the shapes and works the found objects in to the piece, and she enhances these pieces by painting on them. I love the strong femininity of many of these pieces, like What Was She Thinking As She Walked Down The Aisle:
I also love that many of her pieces celebrate whimsy. You see it in the arm of the above sculpture but I think you see it even more in this piece titled Spring:
Lannie Hart, Many Hats
Lannie Hart seems to have never limited itself when it came to making art. In addition to her sculpture work, she also does artistic jewelry. An example is this bracelet, which is described beautifully as “A collage of vintage jewelry from the 1940’s and 50’s assembled on a silver tone bracelet”:
It looks like Lannie Hart has also made a living for herself in her original art home of 3D design. She has done things like packaging and logos for large clients including Estee Lauder, Elisabeth Arden, Knotts Berry Farm, and Godiva Chocolates.