I recently read an article about a crochet artist who has a current solo exhibition. It begins, “Angela Teng forms yarn from acrylic paint and then uses it to crochet abstract paintings.” Wait WHAT? I needed to learn more about this artist and how she turns paint into yarn for crochet!
Solo Crochet Art Show
The exhibit information was a little bit vague but a good starting point:
“Angela Teng’s recent body of work utilizes a laboured dedication to the processes of craft, through abstraction and studio-based exploration of materials and painting. This work reconsiders what is traditionally required to make a painting and suggests otherwise by renegotiating how a picture can be made.”
Based on that information, as well as some of her art descriptions, it seems that she has found some unique way to take acrylic paint and alter it into some sort of yarn-like structure. People can crochet with anything that even remotely resembles string including glass, balloons, cellophane and food products so there’s no reason that you couldn’t crochet with paint if you could figure out how to make it string-like, which is apparently what Teng has done.
These are no small crochet paintings either. The description on the zig zag shown at the top of this page is: “Tit for Tat, crocheted acrylic paint on panel, 28”x33”, 2014″.
Sunshine Frere, writing for Vancouver is Awesome, says of the solo show:
“Gentle Groove is a painting/non-painting exhibition that features wall based sculptural works made from crocheting strips of acrylic paint into shapes and patterns, and from applying acrylic onto crocheted surfaces. Teng’s work references minimalist painting, the materiality of painting, and gives cheeky nods to craft practices. Folded into her show are many dichotomous ripples including art/craft, high-culture/low-culture, painting/sculpture and minimalist/maximalist/op-art aesthetics. Get up close to each piece, the variety of acrylic paint threads that Teng uses are fascinating.”
A Closer Look
7 Colour Marble Crochet (detail), crocheted acrylic paint on panel, 16”x21”, 2013
I couldn’t find any information specifically about how Teng creates her acrylic “yarn” and she’s pretty evasive about it when asked directly. From what I’ve been able to gather, she squeezes acrylic paint out of tubes into thin lines and then they dry and it’s the dried paint that she crochets with. I do know it takes a long time because she mentions in the talk shown below that the paint is difficult to crochet with (which doesn’t surprise me at all).
2014 panel discussion between 4 artists including Angela Teng about materiality
An article about this hour long talk begins:
“In the past decade, a number of younger painters—many of them based in or connected to Vancouver—have taken fresh new approaches to the materials and methods of painting. Some of these artists have substituted expanses of sewn and dyed fabric for paint, or decided to paint on fuzzy wool rugs rather than tight, right-angled canvases. Others have dried paint into long, skinny strings and crocheted them into wall works, or have piled layers of paint together into cubes to create works that come across as more sculptural than painterly.”
Checking out some of the older photos on Angela Teng’s website, I came across earlier works where it seems that she first crocheted with cotton and then used paint to manipulate the finished items. I’m making the leap here and assuming that she began with this and then started thinking about ways that she could actually crochet with the paint itself.
Here is one that she says is oil on crocheted cotton:
And another that clearly has paint on top of crochet: