Crocheted Bowties are Cool

My boyfriend and I are both avid Doctor Who fans, and while I know that there can never be another Doctor quite like David Tennant, Neil seems to believe that Matt Smith is somehow better. (It’s ok, I’ll let him have his delusions, they’re kind of cute sometimes ❤ )
A few months back, using crochet thread and a very teeny tiny little hook, I made him his own 11th Doctor inspired bowtie.

I wasn't sure exactly how big around his neck was, so I made it adjustable.

I think it turned out rather nice, and I was quite pleased that it managed to meet Neil approval.

The Doctor opening the door with his sonic screwdriver.

How would you like to have your very own crocheted bowtie? I’ve decided to make more and sell them on Etsy (click here), so now, you can totally snag one for yourself and for that Whovian in your life.

Re-Domestication: Are We Re-Claiming the Feminine or Being Herded Back into the House?

I read an article in Forbes this morning entitled, The Redomestication Of The American Woman. It really struck a chord and I have so many things spinning through my head as a result. I will try to organize those thoughts as best as possible.

DIY Marketing: Targeting the wants/needs of the current generation

For those of you who aren’t already familiar, the last decade has seen a bit of an explosion with DIY (Do-It-Yourself)/ crafting. There are numerous concepts and ideas tied into this explosion – wanting to go green, wanting to be less dependent on/ fighting against mass consumerism, wanting to save money, hoping to make money, wanting to create something – the list is rather long, and different people come to DIY/ crafting for different reasons. I’ve seen a lot of books and sites that market themselves on taking traditional activities (sewing, crocheting, etc) and bringing them up-to-date/ de-grannifying them. (My favorite line from The AntiCraft’s AntiFesto: Never again would we be forced to gleefully execute a sweater of intarsia puppies.) I actually got a book from the library yesterday titled, The New Granny Square, which boasts that the patterns in the book “are not your granny’s granny squares!”
Of course we don’t want to do the same things our mothers and grandmothers did! But… why? Why does this marketing work and what is it saying? Is it as simple as new generation, new wrapping paper? Is it really even new wrapping paper? There is an excellent article in the Fall 2007 Interweave Crochet magazine, “Crochet Heydays”, that discusses the cultural role of crochet in the 1960’s and 70’s. From the IC article:

Crochet was play, but in the late sixties it was also political as a highly visible communication of a generation’s radically different values. Crochet was one way to express the young generation’s need to craft its own image and identity and to move beyond conformity and the status quo.

So much for being different from our parents and grandparents, huh?

Who’s Space is it Anyway?

Handicrafts such as knitting, sewing, etc. have traditionally been considered to be feminine. Because women were homemakers for so many years (and in many parts of the world, still are), there is a kind of social tendency to associate these activities with femaleness. Do we still feel this way as a society? I’ve seen a handful of knitting books and blogs geared toward men (See: Knitting with Balls and a similarly titled blog Knits with Balls that I follow), 6bdf47c13bd10525354272ea646edfccbut these still seem to be novelties to me. By and large, most books and patterns are still written with women in mind. But at least we’re starting to acknowledge the fact that men like to pick up hooks and needles too.
I can remember going through a phase during high school/ my first couple years of college where I was steadfastly tomboy and wouldn’t give the time of day to anything traditionally deemed “feminine” or “girly”. I considered myself to be a feminist and, at the time, I was convinced that somehow wearing men’s cargo jeans and working on cars with my Dad was somehow superior to wearing a dress, carrying a purse and cooking or fashion. Of course, I eventually realized that what I was doing was still giving power to men/ maleness/ masculinity and denying myself things I would come to love. (I am reminded here, of the song “What it feels like for a Girl” by Madonna, where she intros, “Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots, cause its ok to be a boy. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, cause you think that being a girl is degrading.”)
So, as I read the Forbes article, I can certainly understand her concern that, “scratching at the organically-sanitized surface … is the haunting notion that the pro-creativity movement is in bed with strong societal forces to bring women closer to procreativity (and ideally “full-time” motherhood) …” However, I think, so long as we are aware of what is going on, aware of our own interests in these activities, and we’re not choosing to engage or not engage in them based on what society’s ideals for us are according to what we have between our legs, I think we’re safe. The important thing is having options, knowing what they are, and making our own choices. (I suddenly want to watch Mona Lisa Smile for the millionth time. Re: The part where Julia Stile’s character tells Julia Roberts’ character, “This *is* what I want.”)

Eldritch Things

Before I get too far into this post, I want to let all my readers know that you have another opportunity to see this amazing exhibition!  I just found out last night that there will be an encore showing on March 14th from 6-8pm! So, if you’re reading this, make plans to go to Jacksonville, IL that evening!

The show is hosted at the Asa Talcott House (859 Grove Street, Jacksonville, IL) by The Imagine Foundation, who provide access to the arts for communities in Jacksonville and the surrounding area. The house also gives a nice aesthetic to the show, and I think, for the level of intimacy within Mary’s artwork and writings, the location is really suitable. It helps to set the mood and the tone.

When I first walked into the house this past Saturday, I was confronted with the following note hanging from the ceiling (click to enlarge):

While there were numerous paintings around the house, all wonderful, she also put forth effort to make the show fun and interactive. All throughout the house were hidden 41 little 2-inch doodles, one of those doodles was a “king doodle” that won the finder a free pack of stickers. I found about 5 or 6 doodles, but only took 2 of them so as to let others have some fun too. As perhaps a testament to her personality, art wasn’t just found on the walls, but it was tacked to the ceiling, some hung suspended from the ceiling, sometimes upside down.

Skeleton keys hanging from the ceiling. Reminds me of rain, or tears… Could unleashing your pain, your tears, rather than suppressing them help unlock your happiness?

The thing I really love about Mary Tumulty’s work is that she really puts herself into it. Most artists take life events and put them into their art, but with Mary, her life really is in her art and vice verse. There seems to be this blur between life and art and the one feeds off the other. With particularly personal pieces, she will place little pages to the side, like a page from a diary, that puts the observer into her place.

One of my favorites. Colorful yet dark at the same time. Notice how she incorporates photos, receipts, other objects into the painting. What I see: Life. The large circle seems to be like a womb…

…and look! Here are the sperm!

If you recall, I’ve written about Mary’s work before. Back in November, I talked about her use of random embroidery and stitches in her paintings. Thread made an appearance in her artwork here as well:

From a distance…

A close-up. Look at the nails pounded into the painting! The tear in the canvas! The way the string is wrapped around the nails.. kind of like a web or a nest. This is a love it or hate it piece, I think. Myself, I like the way she abuses the canvas.

There was one room upstairs that was kind of sectioned off and hidden away. Much darker than the rest of the exhibit, this room housed the most intrusive and intimate artwork. If the house were a layout of Mary’s mind, this is would be the back of it – that little corner reserved for fears and worries, for all of those secrets and wishes that are too damaging to normalcy and decency to be unrestrained. This is where Mary bared all and let the world judge her naked soul. This is where, for the first time ever, she showed “The Book.”

These pages, snaking through the room and dangling from the ceiling like bodies from trees, whisper out Mary’s story to anyone willing to listen…

And now, it’s time to take you on my journey into Eldritch Things…

For more information on Mary and her work, visit http://www.marytumulty.com Like any of the artwork you see? Support an artist and buy a painting.  (I am the proud owner of a Mary Tumulty “On the Rag” tee)

Like my writing style? You can also become a fan of my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/ACloth-the-World/194022420703365, where I post exclusive content, including more pictures from this show!

Eldritch Things: A Sneak Peek…

Last night, Mary Tumulty had a one night solo exhibition at the Asa Talcott House in Jacksonville, Illinois. I was blown away… and I tried to capture it. While I have dozens of photos and some video footage (yes, video) to go through before I can take you on this journey, I wanted to at least give you a snippet of what’s to come…

The tortured beauty of Tumulty’s work pierces souls…

Her words and images pull her into you as she puts herself out, naked and exposed to the judgment of the world…

If you haven’t yet, subscribe to the blog and make sure you don’t miss the full exposure. On our Facebook page, I will also be posting some photos from the event that won’t be posted here (so become a fan!) and you can use #acloththeworld or #MaryTumulty on Twitter to discuss this blog or this amazing artist.