As an industrial and product designer by profession, Israeli Yael Falk now spends her free time as a crochet designer. Head over to her Etsy shop to see more of her amazing work created in various metals such as copper, silver and gold.
I am a hooker, there is no doubt that this is my personal favourite craft. I can list a host of reasons why I prefer hooking to knitting but let's face the standout reason:
Hooking is far more TRANSPORTABLE ;-)
I do love looking at knitted pieces, appreciate the craft, buy the craft but don't do the craft. Today is Day 7, the final day of the annual Knitting and Crochet Blogweek and I conclude with a very short posting. Thank you for stopping by and reading my postings. It was an interesting experience and a deep learning curve. I am looking forward to catching up on reading all the postings by the other participants over the next couple of weeks. Cheers!
I am ready to rock and roll!
Hooks - Own photo
Over 3 decades ago in South Africa I learned the art, craft and pleasure of crocheting from an Aunt, someone who assumed the role of my maternal grandmother. I must have taken to it like a duck to water as I hooked a sizable 1.5m x1.5m giant granny square blanket in stripes of red, white and blue while I was still in primary school. At some stage my brother got hold of the blanket and it became his - probably at the same time I developed a liking for purple, pink and white. Then it was passed on to the dog who had his home decked out in cool crochet.
Five years ago in Dubai I met Mayada Askari who shared Cell 52 in Iraq's brutal Baladiyat Prison with 17 other "Shadow Women", all of them incarcerated for crimes they were falsely accused of. In prison they endured unspeakable torture and torment, some of them to death. Her story moved me deeply, changed the course of my life forever. During the same period I also watched the award winning documentary Born into Brothels about children living in the red light district of Calcutta where their mothers work as prostitutes. I concluded my Masters in Adult Learning and Global Change.
Nepali boy - Own photo
Christmas morning, two and a half years ago, we flew to Kathmandu where by evening we were attending a charity dinner to help raise funds for Nepalese children rescued from Indian circuses where they were forced to work as performers. They create mosaic work as part of their rehabilitation process. One and a half years ago I wrote a paper comparing the South African Shwe Shwe Poppi - and Kids with Cameras projects. These projects demonstrate the living stories of hope, creativity and empowerment of children, for children and by children. I concluded my Masters in Interdisciplinary Child Studies. Once again I am a changed person.
The human development program will be a tribute to my brother and aunt, people who are no longer with us, but who shaped my hooky life through very special memories.
Rainforests are damp, steamy, clammy, organic spaces. Here in Penang one can almost always cut the air with a knife, it is heavy and humid. I cannot imagine sitting next to my hawt hubby, hooking an haute afghan in front of a hot fire. I stick to hooking balls and bags, whilst sitting propped up against the trunk of a palm tree, sipping on home-made ginger lemonade.
I make the Jamie Oliver version so by the way:
1 jug half filled with ice, 1-2 cans of lemonade, small handful of fresh mint or basil leaves. Add 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger. Top up with sparkling water, stir and sip.
There is nothing as pleasing on the eye as popping the crisp white walls, white blinds and white duvets of all-white bedrooms, with a box of lego [Dude Tween] or a big vase of flowers [Girl Tween] and a colourful roly poly pillow seat each.
Life of a seasoned hooker in Penang is that simple.
Xenobia Bailey has a personality larger than life itself, an unabashed joie de vivre that transcends even cyberspace. It was during her studies in ethnomusicology at the University of Washington where she became fascinated by the craftsmanship and sounds of the cultures of Africa and Asia. She creates objects of adornment as well as massive installations for an alternative lifestyle in the aesthetic of Funk. I felt an instant connection with her and her fiber art the first time I saw pictures of her installations. My living experiences include Africa and Asia, the very places she has researched. As an ethnographer and cultural activist, Xenobia studied music from a sociological and anthropological perspective. I too am an ethnographer but prefer empowerment and emancipation through education, shunning activism. In Xenobia's words: "I make art to stay sane . . . to be able to reflect on myself. It is therapeutical, a way of identifying, of becoming visible". I am nodding my head in agreement.
The connection between Funk music visuals and Xenobia's Mandalas cement her brilliant vision of the Mandala as an iconic symbol. Music aside, on a personal level I also experience the shapes of giant incense spirals surrounded by sandalwood smoke and conical non la hats from Vietnam, tapestry crochet and the fez or tarboosh from Morocco, colourful Mandalas used in religious traditions in India, bags full of colour and spices throughout Asia and Africa in the art created by Xenobia. Her work feels like my own living stories.
What also appeals to me is the simplicity of the single crochet stitch and mostly acrylic and cotton yarns she uses in order to create her artwork. The single crochet stitch is not all about Amigurumi, acrylics not all about the cheap and garish. Xenobia's work challenges these stereotypical images and views. Yip, I love her and her art.
Giant incense burners in Saigon and Vietnamese man with non la hat in HoiAn, Vietnam. Moroccan man with tapestry crochet fez in Marrakesh. Photos my own.
Ceramic plates and spices in Marrakesh, Morocco. Bags filled with colour in preparation for the Holi Festival, arrangement of rifles in a palace and beautiful hotel lobby, Jaipur, India. Photos my own.
"The Global Africa Project"
Xenobia learned to "funk it together" by watching the women in her community beautify their environments with limited resources
We live in Penang, a Tropical Island located in South East Asia. The Tropics is not a colour shy environment and suits the topic "Colour Lovers" like a glove. I am participating in the wonderful Blogweek hosted by Eskimimi and will be posting something surrounding a specific topic daily over the next 7 days. I hope you will enjoy this journey with me and welcome to my blog! I am looking forward to meeting a whole new group of bloggers, to be reading their entries and to be sharing their blogging, knitting and crocheting journeys. For me this week is all about the different perspectives as put forward by hookers and knitters from all over the world!
The colours I choose for numerous crochet projects are invariably influenced by my immediate surrounds, current colour trends, my own personal likes and dislikes, the personality and preferences of the person I am hooking for and lastly - but in my case most importantly - by the choice of colours actually available in Penang. If I was spoilt for yarn choice, I would also add texture into this mixed bag of influences. However, there is only one shop on the Island selling yarn; the shop furthermore stocks only one type of yarn namely a soft acrylic produced in Japan. In these parts of the world Amigurumi dominates the crochet scene and acrylics are most suitable to making these Japanese anthropomorphic creatures.
We live in the middle of Malaysian tropical rainforest where the trees are dense and plants such as ferns, creepers, palm-like cycads and pitcher plants grow in abundance. Shafts of light penetrating the forest canopy create a spectacular stained glass effect on the wings of butterflies as they flit around. The jungle is full of surprises and I am always keen to explore an environment that rocks the plant kingdom. In tropical rainforests the atmosphere ranges from moody and quiet just before a rainstorm to noisy when birds squawk, trees rustle, insects crawl and monkeys babble in the aftermath of a downpour. It is warm and humid all year round with frequent downpours. Colours in tropical rainforests are not shy; it is vivid and vibrant, brilliant and flamboyant.
Granny Square Handbag for The Tween
The colours I chose for this bag was influenced by Chinese Shophouse Exteriors and Interiors, tones of the Penang Ocean and current colourblocking trends in fashion and design
The vivid colours I hook various projects in, instantly connect the eye with the splendour of the tropical forest. Living and hooking in Penang is not a subdued affair but an uninhibited multi-sensory experience. The experience is also contradictory as my senses are always on high alert which leaves me feeling energized but at the same time the heat and humidity leaves me feeling slightly lethargic. The burst of colour under my fingers however always propels me to a level of pure joy. Then there are the smells too - odours of spice, fruit and fermentation, earth, organic matter and rain permeate the senses. I would love the opportunity to select yarns in colours reflecting these smells.
Selection of colours for a project is a multi-sensory experience; it is about embracing the richness of the social lives and worlds of both crochet artist and the person the item is crafted for. This is the reason why I am not taking to the trusty Internet, press the buttons and order numerous skeins of fabulous yarns. I cannot feel those yarns, I cannot see them, I cannot smell them, I cannot react to them, I cannot experience them. Mind you I won’t say “no” to being surprised with some lushness wrapped in a parcel to be collected from the post office of course :-)
It is clear that I hook in Colour for Others, in Mono for Me. My wardrobe is all about texture and tones, greys and stones, silvers and charcoals as is reflected in the last picture of this posting. I rarely hook in these colours though as it simply requires a luxurious yarn, not the cheap acrylics available in Penang.
The colours of the bag also reflects the personality of The Tween. She is right on trend with her acid clock necklace and owl jewelry
My work tells stories, they are visual narratives. The beads from which I made the handles of the bag was purchased at a market in the wonderful town HoiAn, Vietnam a few years ago. Great was my surprise when I stumbled upon the very same beads at a market in Bangkok last year. These destinations are significant to us since we straddled living in Penang and Hanoi, Vietnam for a year and then Bangkok, Thailand and Penang recently. We carry bits and pieces of all these places in our hearts and it is wonderful being able to reflect the experiences in something such as a handbag. I promptly bought a few bracelets from the stall owner in Bangkok who herself is a hooker! This is her busy crocheting a beany: