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I participated in an art exhibit this past weekend in Prospect Park, Our Ocean is a Park. It was the first public opportunity I’ve had as an adult to make and display a work of art. I have always had a creative streak, but opted to become a teacher instead of an artist, and while I don’t regret that decision, I often miss the gritty, raw, wonderful feeling of producing something for show that won’t necessarily be used. After all, the majority of what I make for Brooker Hollow is to use or wear — it’s all been very practical.

As I was coming up with the idea and going through the process of installation, I kept thinking about my high school art teacher, Deborah Corwin. She inspired me to pursue projects in high school that I might not have otherwise pursued — a series of collapsed, abstract pots in ceramics; yarn and cord sculptures; fabric and textile designs. I was also thinking about meine Oma, who unknowingly provided most of the yarn for the project. When she passed away three years ago, I acquired boxes and boxes of yarn she’d started collecting in the 40s and 50s. You can’t find such brilliant colors as easily these days, and I’m grateful that she left me something with which to continue her knit-and-crochet legacy.

Ms. Corwin coached me to look to nature for inspiration — to think about how feathers and animal coats and plants create patterns and flows in color and line. Oma inspired me to consider color in my work and often had me speaking in German with her. This piece, which is inspired by both Ms. Corwin and Oma, is called Weide Baum, German for weeping willow.

I started out with 200 yards of large-scale crochet chain, and upped it to 300 when Brian Higbee, another participant in the show, suggested that outside, more is definitely more. This is what I came up with.

WB 2

And here’s a shot a little further away, so you can get a sense of how the shapes are reflected in the background.

WB 1

Many thanks to the curator, Ben Knight, for the opportunity to participate.

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