My mother is the one who originally taught me to crochet, and then she also encouraged me again twenty years later when I wanted to re-learn what I’d forgotten. (You can read our story here.) Since I began actively crocheting, my mom has picked up the craft again as well, making checkerboard baby blankets for all of the babies born to our friends and other items here and there. Recently, my mom answered a call for submissions to a local Tucson art gallery, and I am thrilled to say that a piece of her crochet artwork is on exhibit now, with an opening reception tonight.
The exhibit is a multi-media exhibit called Here Comes The Sun being held at Womankraft Gallery. I’m sad to say that I’ve never visited this space, but it looks like a wonderful gallery. It is housed in a castle-style building in the Tucson Arts District and in addition to the gallery it includes a natural beauty salon, a community outreach program and art classes. It is a non-profit organization committed to community and to empower women artists.
Mom’s Crochet Art
Mom has been making art all of my life, although I’m not sure that’s what she would call it. Whenever we were interested in a craft as kids, she always encouraged us and created something right alongside us. She continued the tradition with my foster kids, making mosaic art pieces with my foster daughter. A year or two ago, she used “junk art” materials that she had lying around to create artistic birdhouses, which she submitted to her first art show at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Both birdhouses sold.
The theme of the Womankraft show is Here Comes the Sun, and the description reads: “How do you creatively perceive the springing into spring, snow melting, robins arriving, flowers blooming? Bring your artistic interpretations in all mediums.” My mom created a beautiful piece:
I always think of my mom as someone who loves bright colors and animals, so I’m not surprised to see colorful birds dotting her sunny crocheted landscape.
My Mom Inspires Me
My siblings and I with mom’s WIP
My mom inspires me. I’m sitting here thinking about the best adjectives to describe and a few that come to mind include lively, optimistic, energetic, creative, strong, determined, beautiful, enthusiastic and selfless. I recently tried to remember if she’d ever missed any of our sports games or performances as kids and the only time that she did was if the timing of one kid’s thing conflicted with another’s. That was in spite of working 5 or 6 nights a week at one job and doing her own real estate work on the side. She’s retired from the night job now but still works every day taking care of dozens of cats and dogs at a local animal rescue.
When one of us needs something, she jumps to get it. When one of us is interested in something, she immediately encourages it. When one of us accomplishes something, she is the first to praise it. There are projects I’ve started, abandoned and long forgotten about and somehow she remembers them and asks about them from time to time.
My mom has spent most of her life doing for others. For her kids. For her kids’ friends and partners. For her parents when they were at the end of their lives. For her friends. For random people who have come into her life and needed something at a given time. She gives without complaint and seemingly without exhaustion.
There are so many ways that I am not like my mom. I tend to selfishly hoard my time and usually when someone needs something my first instinct is to turn away. She would take my foster daughter to art stores and sit down and make art with her; I would enroll her in art classes and drop her off to keep her busy while I did my writing. My mom can fix just about everything that breaks and isn’t afraid to get up on a roof or down underneath a sink; I was proud when I replaced the ball thingy in my toilet tank after hours of YouTubing how to do it. I complain too much and I’m exhausted too often.
But I treasure the ways that I am like my mom. Although I make fun of her for all of the random stuff that she collects, I have inherited a love of hanging on to photos and items to curate into tangible memories. Like my mom, I see creative potential in every day objects. I often find myself curious about random facts and people and stories and instantly think, “I should look that up” or “I’ll get a book about that”, which is definitely something I got from my mom. Sometimes I hear myself talking to my siblings and I realize that whatever I’ve said is a mom thing, not in the maternal way that I can sometimes be with them but in the “I sound like Mom” way.
Crochet Across Generations
I am excited that I learned to crochet from my mom and then got her back into crochet years later. I think it’s fitting, not only for us, but for the craft. Crochet crosses generations. It crosses socio-economic lines and geographical boundaries but more than anything it crosses generations. If you made a family tree of craft, you would find that threads connect limb to limb.
I’ve contributed my work to collaborative crochet art projects in the past, such as the installations done by Yarnbombing LA. My mom now has this crochet art piece in an exhibit. What’s next? I’m excited to say that we’re both going to work on pieces to contribute to the freeform crochet art project by Prudence Mapstone for Fibrefest in Sydney. It’s a modern collaborative project celebrating the craft culture of the 1960s and the 50-year anniversary of the term “Flower Power”.