Jo Hamilton is an amazing crochet artist. I don’t say that lightly. There are a lot of crochet artists with work that I like. Some of them are very technically skilled. Others are very creative. But Jo Hamilton really impresses me with her crochet portraits. Yes, she actually creates likenesses of real people using crochet. Wow! That’s a level of crocheting that I’m not sure I could ever reach no matter how much effort I put into it.
About Crochet Artist Jo Hamilton
Jo Hamilton in her creative space
Jo Hamilton is a Portland-based artist who works in different mediums but is currently all about crochet. In an interview posted on her website she says that she learned to crochet from her grandmother when she was a child and then re-learned as a teenager and spent years doing it as a craft before incorporating it into her art. The work that she’s done that I’m most impressed with is her crochet portraiture (for which she has a New York exhibit in May 2011). I just think it’s amazing to be able to do that. Don’t you?! But she has done other crochet artwork as well, starting with a project called I Crochet Portland, which is a crochet landscape of the city.
How Does She Do It?
The process of making a crochet portrait isn’t nearly as mathematical or planned-out as you might think. In the same interview on her site, she says:
“My house is filled with balls of yarn, all arranged by colour on shelves. I can pull them out as I need them for my palate. A portrait can take up to fifty or more hours over the course of a month, but I haven’t actually counted, and I spend just as much time looking as actually crocheting. The pieces evolve from the inside out. I make no graphs, plans or charts; it’s a row-by-row organic process in which I don’t always know the outcome, but have learned to trust my way of working.”
That doesn’t help those of us who might want to try our hand at the type of crochet art she’s making but it sure makes me even more impressed with that work! And besides, her number one piece of advice for crocheters who want to explore the artistic side of the craft is to ditch patterns.
Examples of Jo Hamilton’s Crochet Artwork
Here are some examples of the portraits that amaze me so much. They are larger than life size:
And in other work, here’s a detail of her crocheted version of the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland:
Have you ever seen any other crochet portraiture? Please share with me if you have!