Cornell Fine Arts Museum has just opened a new exhibit that features crochet art alongside other needlework and textile arts. The show, called The Mysterious Content of Softness, includes the work of eleven different artists including some of the crochet artists who have been featured on this blog in the past.

The Mysterious Content of Softness

Cornell Fine Arts Museum describes this exhibit:

“Bringing together 11 national and international artists in various stages of their careers, The Mysterious Content of Softness explores the transformative power of fiber and its connection to the human body. Whether employing time-honored techniques such as knitting, crochet, embroidery, and loom weaving, or foraying into new uses of traditional textiles, these artists explore the physical, psychological, and cultural associations of fiber to the body.”

The exhibit opened this weekend and will run through the end of this year. The museum is on Rollins campus in Florida outside of Orlando; check it out if you’re in the area!

The Artists

There are eleven artists with work in this exhibit. Here’s a list of who they are with quotes about their work from their own websites:

  1. Diem Chau. “Chau combines common mediums and common means to create delicate vignettes of fleeting memory, gesture and form, resulting in works that combine egalitarian sensibility and minimalist restraint.”
  2. Lauren DiCioccio. “My work investigates the physical/tangible beauty of commonplace mass-produced media-objects, most recently: the newspaper, magazines, office papers and writing pads, plastic bags, 35 mm slides. These media are becoming obsolete, replaced by the invisible efficiency of various technologies.”
  3. Angela Ellsworth. “As an interdisciplinary artist Ellsworth creates installations, performances, drawings and objects which explore repetition of mark, action and gesture as it relates to the body.”
  4. James Gobel.”Gobel’s use of felt, yarn and fabric–all supple and highly tactile materials usually associated with homemade handicrafts–imbues his gently humorous portraits with a sense of loving familiarity and intense devotion.”
  5. Angela Hennessy. “Her work and research examines the aesthetics of loss, constructions of race, and mythologies of hair, dirt and beasts.”
  6. Rock Hushka. “As a textile maker, an historian, and an art historian, the intellectual framework for quoting or borrowing ideas and images is simply too strong to resist, too readily available. Why not expand meanings to help ourselves better illuminate our world? Why pretend that ideas that can be maximized aesthetically and intellectually do not already exist?”
  7. Lisa Kellner. “All art is contemporary; I am striving for timelessness.”
  8. Miller & Shellabarger. “Dutes Miller and Stan Shellabarger explore the dynamics of love and loss through performance pieces that emphasize the artistic process as a metaphor for the cycles of life and death, of connection and separation.”
  9. L.J. Roberts. “My current work merges craft with objects of violence and control to examine large structures of power and how they might be interrupted by ways of making that are often labeled as gendered, amateur, and low.”
  10. Jeremy Sanders. “By using a range of cultural reference points such as vintage cars and distinctive architecture, Jeremy Sanders transports us to the streets of Cuba, where the blazing sunlight sharpens the shadows and intensifies the rich, bright colours.”
  11. Nathan Vincent. “My work explores gender permissions and the challenges that arise from straying from the prescribed norms. It questions the qualities of gender by considering what constitutes masculine and feminine. It critiques stereotypical gender mediums by creating “masculine objects” using “feminine processes” such as crochet, sewing, and applique.”

Let’s take a closer look at the crochet artists among them …

Nathan Vincent

I found out about this exhibit from the e-newsletter of Nathan Vincent. I enjoy the work of this male crochet artist who is probably best known for his crocheted locker room. In fact, it is Locker Room that is included in this show at Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Vincent was at the museum this past weekend for an opening day panel discussion with some of the other artists but for the rest of the year he will be in New York completing an Open Studios residency at the Museum of Arts and Design. There are many dates when his studio will be open to the public so if you are in that area this fall then stop in to see what he’s working on!

Miller and Shellabarger

I’ve written about male couple/ artist team Miller and Shellabarger a few times before. They do really interesting mixed media and installation art. They don’t focus on crochet but they do have an ongoing crochet project that’s in constant development. They sit together in the same space, each crocheting from opposite ends of the piece, and the piece just grows and grows over time, developing in front of the viewers at various exhibitions in different places. It’s an interesting conversation piece!

Angela Hennessy

I wasn’t familiar with this artist until looking over the pieces in the exhibition but it turns out that she uses some crochet in her mixed media artwork. The piece above is called Midnight Disease and it’s from a 2010 series of eight pieces that incorporate crocheted thread, hairnets and “velvet fuzz”.

I’d be so curious to see this exhibit if I weren’t so far away from Florida!


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

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