If you follow this blog regularly then you know that I really like the work that crochet artist Olek does. I also think she seems like a fun and funky person who is always doing interesting new things. But it’s tough to be that without sometimes also being controversial and some of the things Olek has said in the past has had me raising an eyebrow.
One of those things was back during the promotion of her London art show when the Village Voice quoted her as saying:
“Crochet came to me as a result of being totally broke … I had to make a costume in NYC and I had no cash for a sewing machine. I used any materials I could possible find … I even cut my sheets into strips to make pieces. Being resourceful is in my blood as you can see. Crochet is for poor people…that’s why you can find it in almost any culture across the globe. I am just a tiny spider who walked at night in East London collecting items soon to be transformed into crocheted pieces.”
At first I was enchanted by this quote, especially that last line! But then I got to wondering about that phrase – “crochet is for poor people”.
I do get what Olek is saying here. One of the really great things about crochet is that it is a highly affordable craft. Crochet hooks can be purchased for very little money and will last a very long time. Affordable yarn is widely available and if even that’s too much then you can always crochet with recycled fabric strips, plastic bags and other materials.
So I agree that crochet is an affordable craft (or at least it can be … my yarn stash says it can also be pricey if you let it!) But to say that it is for poor people … I don’t think I’d use that phrase myself. Crochet is popular these days but for a long time it was seen as a second cousin to knitting – the cheaper, “craftier”, lowbrow cousin … the cousin that lives on the wrong side of the tracks. I think fewer people think that today but I don’t think we’re so far away from those times that the idea should be reinforced.
What do you think? Is crochet for poor people?