Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Review: The Fine Art of Crochet

Title: The Fine Art of Crochet
Author: Gwen Blakley Kinsler
Year Published: 2013

Dee's Rating: 10 Hooks out of 10

"...crochet as a means of expression" can be "...composed in one piece and, like pottery and glassblowing, can be fluidly molded..." ~Clinton MacKenzie

To think that if the author Rose Wilder Lane (daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder) was reportedly amazed to find "American Crochet" (aka 'granny squares') during one of her visits to a museum in Europe, I can only imagine what she would think of the diverse collection amassed in Gwen Blakley Kinsler's new book, The Fine Art of Crochet.  Twenty artists whose crochet work is on the cutting-edge in modern times were selected for their wonderment and inspiration that is not bound by gender nor by financial constraints.

Gwen's book is her tribute to crochet; she is the Founder of the Crochet Guild of America, and has been creating her own inspirational crochet art since 1982. To help us become unstuck on the "crochet is stiff" and "only women do it" thinking, Gwen shares the history of crochet from the 1960's to today to show us how it has evolved as an extraordinary art form.  As each of the twenty featured artists are introduced in this book, the reader is given the experience usually reserved for visits to the museum. Gwen even features the work of one artist, Jerry Bleem, who creatively redefines the "American Crochet" by using plarn (yarn made of recycled plastic bags) in one of his pieces!

Each of the twenty artists listed below were selected to provide a fresh look at crochet which includes four men: Arline Fisch, Leslie Pontz, Georgina Valverde, Pate Conaway, Carol Hummel, Renie Breskin Adams, Donna Lish, Dale Roberts, Nathan Vincent, Andrea Uravitch, Kathleen Holmes, Tracy Krumm, Donna Rosenthal, Karen Searle, Soonran Youn, Jerry Bleem, Jo Hamilton, Yvette Kaiser Smith, Bonnie Meltzer, and Dr. Carol Ventura.  The textures, the shapes, the techniques and the various mediums used are all part of this stunning and inspirational collection of crochet art!. If you are interested in exploring crochet outside of its traditional roles, then this is the book for you.   Bravo, Gwen!  Bravo!
Myra Woods showing the International Freeform Crochet Group's
collective work; image from my 2007 blog entry,
"Oh, Those Freeformers!"

Note: Gwen even includes some history behind a collective piece of work by members of the 
 International Freeform Crochet Group which I am proud to state I contributed to. (see image above)

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