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:
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:
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:
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.