I’ve always been certain that needlework holds stories while nurturing the soul. This belief was happily affirmed while I was curating Grace McKnight’s crochet exhibition over the past 3 years. Grace took doilies made by her grandmother, found vintage doilies, and pieces she’d crocheted herself, and infused them with her own vision. Each piece holds new layers of energy and meaning through paint, bead work, dye and embroidery stitches. It was exciting to see works based on small-scale patterns expanded into large formats. The show was anchored by a massive crochet mandala suspended in front of a large mirror. This provided a brilliant way to see ourselves reflected in this work and to think about crochet differently.
Grace and I had conversations that ranged from women’s work, the creative process, the routine of housework, to the cosmic spirituality of mandalas. We agreed that crochet strongly resembles fractals, which are mathematical designs found in nature that repeat infinitely. The spiraling centre of a sunflower is a great example of a fractal. There are some lovely examples here.
Grace has created a body of work with depth and meaningful layers of insight to the art of crochet. Hers is a notable addition to the growing world of crochet art. Some of Grace’s pieces record her grandmother’s daily life of baking, crochet and also, touchingly, her grandmother’s decent into dementia.
Hurry if you want to catch this show… it ends on 22 December, at the Desbrisay Museum in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.