crochet hamburger dress

Lately I’ve seen a lot of online references to a crocheted hamburger dress. Many people aren’t sure where it came from or what the purpose of it was and a lot of people have said it’s an ugly, trashy, costume-y dress. But it’s actually a work of art, created back in 2007 by fiber artist Joy Kampia O’Shell. And since it’s been making the online rounds lately I thought that now would be a good time to tell you a little bit more about this crochet artist.

More about Crochet Artist Joy Kampia O’Shell

Joy Kampia O’Shell is a fiber artist with a degree in Studio Art emphasizing textiles. She learned how to crochet from a class in high school when she was about 16. She graduated from college in 2005 after completing her senior project, Dinner for Eight, which included eight entrees of crocheted food on a fully crocheted table with crochet table settings. She has been creating ever since with an emphasis on soft sculpture and wearable crochet art. She also does create some 2D art including flat crochet work as well as oil paintings. She creates one-of-a-kind commissioned crochet pieces on request. And she also sells many small crochet items, including crocheted food, in her Etsy store.

Joy Kampia O’Shell’s Crochet Art

A large portion of what Joy Kampia crochets are small and mid-sized soft sculptures, often inspired by food. Crocheted sandwiches, crocheted pizza and crochet chips are all examples of things that she makes for sale. Each item that she crochets is one of a kind; she doesn’t repeat items. The exception seems to be donuts (although she always does different ones) because she makes a lot of those and has even crocheted a whole crochet donut cowl. This work is cute and popular but what’s gotten the most media attention is her crocheted wearables which are also often inspired by food (like the hamburger dress).

A Quote on Kampia:

I enjoyed this description of her work:

“The crochet creations of this visionary artisan are often so realistic that, from a distance, they fool the eye and make one believe they are really what they appear to be.”

It’s from an article about her at Annie’s Attic.

And a Quote from Kampia

She says this about her work:

“Because I enjoy the irony between subject matter and material, I have merged my favorite subject matter (food) with my favorite process (crochet). I love food too much to be satisfied with its transience; therefore I am driven to give it permanence through art. I am a passionate advocate for crochet as an art medium–going beyond its traditional uses and exploring its limitless possibilities. By taking both food and crochet out of their ordinary settings, I hope to challenge the viewer’s preconceived notions of their roles.”

This quote comes from an article about Kampia on the Textile Arts Center blog.

Some Favorite Crochet Art Examples

Crocheted donuts sold through Joy’s Etsy store. This one is the chocolate vanilla donut with sprinkles.

Crochet Sundae Dress

2005 Crocheted Bicycle for art exhibit, a piece of work that required a lot of math before the crocheting began.

Crocheted Pizza Wall Art

Other Similar Crochet Artists

Every colorful crochet food item always makes me think of Twinkie Chan:

And Ami Artist Vanessa Chan:

Does knowing that the crochet hamburger dress was intended as an art piece make you feel differently about it than if you thought it was a dress to wear?


San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!


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