Olek at Flanders Gallery

Dateline, Raleigh, North Carolina

The other day when I was out walking my dog, Clooney, a neighbor asked me if I had seen this photo in a recent edition of Indy Week:

The exterior of Flanders Gallery, as refurbished by Olek — Photo by Brian Reagan

I had not seen the article, but as soon as I saw the photo, I recognized the crochet in question as the work of the artist known as Olek.

Already familiar with her work from watching videos, after reading Chris Vitiello’s article, Repetition, compulsion and miles of yarn at Flanders Gallery, I decided that I absolutely had to see this exhibit while it was in town.

So this morning, after breakfast was eaten, the dog walked, and dishes done, I filled Clooney’s Kong with peanut butter, packed up my son and all of my visual recording devices and headed to Flanders Gallery, to see Olek’s work for myself.

I was not disappointed.

I had been curious as to how Olek produced the square footage of crochet that she does. Using worsted weight acrylic yarn, a hook in the 5.5mm to 6.5mm range, her panels of crochet are comprised almost exclusively of double crochet stitches. All of the variation and design comes from the color changes which are made crisp and quick by simply tying the ends of the new color to the old color, a form of crochet apostasy.

Here is a detail of a panel:

A detail of Olek’s crochet technique

Olek’s work, while not heirloom quality craftsmanship, serves the purpose the artist intends and allows her to make (in relatively short order) enough panels to cover not only the front of a gallery, but a tractor as well:

Olek’s tractor cozy

If you ever have a chance to see Olek’s work up close and personal, it is worth your time to do so to get a better sense of the fluid gestural crochet technique she has developed, and if you haven’t yet had that opportunity, here is a slideshow of the photos I took of her exhibit at Flanders Gallery.

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2 Comments on Olek at Flanders Gallery

  1. Barb
    July, 6th 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Wow! What can one say, it leaves me speechless. Thanks so much for sharing this experience.

  2. mary i
    July, 6th 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I just knew you would go!! Oleks work/art is always jaw dropping for me. The gun(whatever) and rolling pin are great statements in my view. Thank you for the show for those of us not able to be there. Stay Cool :)

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