Bill Davenport is a fascinating artist who works on one style of project for a period of time and then seems to switch gears to something else. Back in the 1990s he was making crochet art.
About Bill Davenport
Bill Davenport is a Houston-based artist who got his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and his MFA from the University of Massachusetts. He does installation artwork and art for public spaces including a Mini-Golf Project and a Neiman Marcus window display. Davenport also does conceptual artwork, such as his Stream of Conscious-ness where he took a secret journal that he wrote from 1974-1977 and posted it for the public in real time from 2006-2009. Davenport runs a store “where art, craft, nature and salvage are reconciled under the umbrella of commerce”. He is represented at Inman Gallery and has had both solo and group exhibits of his work in a variety of places including New York, London and Munich.
Bill Davenport’s Crochet Art
Crochet over lightbulb – I love the idea of soft yarn on hard, fragile glass here!
On his website, Davenport explains that he learned to crochet in 1993 from a woman named Delfina Vannucci who had learned the craft herself as a child when taught by Italian nuns. He says, “Being left-handed, I never learned to knit very well, and crochet, with it’s ability to be added onto anywhere, lent itself to the complicated sculpture I wanted to do. I originally thought of it as a new type of ultra-thick paint.”
Crochet Washer Cover – seems to suggest something about domestic life to me!
I love the idea of using crochet as a form of paint. Basically what he did was took simple crochet skills and used them to cover up objects, painting with the colors of the yarn. He was making cozies, more or less, but using his eye for shape and color (along with a little bit of whimsy) to make them into works of sculptural art. He called what he was crocheting “yarnworks” and his website says that he produced this work for six years, ending in 1999, although it doesn’t say why he stopped working in this medium.
He seems to really enjoy going from project to project and that’s something I can totally respect as an artist so my best guess would be that he just moved on to the next thing after this period in his work.
The Giantest Yarn Ball in Houston
One of Davenport’s more recent yarn projects is the ongoing construction of a giant yarn ball, which you can check out online. Davenport had actually started this yarn ball during his crocheting days, back in 1997, but it had just sat in his house and he hadn’t done anything with it. He decided he wanted to grow it into a truly giant ball of yarn. In Fall 2010 he reported that the ball was 76″ in diameter and weighed over sixty pounds. In February 2011 he reported that the size had grown to 80″.
Other Similar Crochet Artists
I’m reminded a bit of the crochet grenade cozies by Barbara Koenen
Although her style is clearly different, the idea of covering objects in crochet makes me think of Olek
I also want to give a shoutout here to Jafabrit because it was through her blog that I discovered this artist.