crAft (with a capital A)

Today I finished the behemoth of a granny square that I began to work on the day before Super Bowl XLV. It was a project meant to be worked on and completed during the game, but as with many of the projects I take on, it required more time to finish than I had anticipated.

Inspired by Frank Stella’s piece pictured here:

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Sunset Beach Sketch, Frank Stella

I set out with the intention of creating a work in crochet that explores the difference between “Art” and, as I like to think of it, “crAft.”

I have long noticed that many of Frank Stella’s pieces could, with some effort and imagination, be rendered in crochet. The lines and the shapes, and in some cases, even the colors, fall well within many crochet traditions.

Why, I wondered, was Frank Stella’s work “Art” while a granny square creation such this one was not:

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Detail of a rescued crochet granny square afghan

And it is this question that has propelled me the last 11 days as I have worked on the crochet project inspired by Frank Stella’s sketch.

When I got up this morning, I was 5 rounds and one line of contrast color shy of finishing:

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My If-Frank-Stella-Crocheted granny square as of this morning

Shortly before sunset, after a day of fevered crocheting and very little else, I had finally finished the five remaining rounds and completed the last line of contrast:

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If-Frank-Stella-Crocheted granny square

While Frank Stella worked his piece in flourescent and plain alkyd painting, I drew from my vast stores of Red Heart Super Saver yarn to create my piece.

I was also able to achieve a gauge that resulted in a granny square which measures 69″ x 69″, very close to the 69.5″ x 69.5″ of the piece which inspired the work.

While I enjoy Frank Stella’s work and have every intention of getting a photo of Boo-Boo on Stella’s Prince of Homburg sculpture at the National Gallery of Art East Building the next time I get to Washington, D.C., this project taught me that referential “crAft” can be just as tedious as referential “Art.”

10 thoughts on “crAft (with a capital A)

  1. Very cool work. I like the whole idea from conception to finish. I once made a giant granny square as an afghan but it was not nearly this nice!

  2. I think a lot of crochet, including pieces like the Babette afghan ARE art. It reminds me of A. Walker’s essays in ‘In Search of My Mother’s Garden’: I think a lot of the work created by women, esp. needlework, are seen as “just crafts”, but if it’d done by a man, it’s “Art” 🙁

    1. I don’t disagree with you. I suppose that one of the reasons craft is considered “craft” is that it has utility. It is a blanket or a placemat or a bag; it has a function. Art, on the other hand, frequently has no other function than to exist in whatever place and context it exists. I happen to prefer craft. 🙂

  3. Ooooohhhh I think you could hang that on your wall to simply be admired. I think its very prettiness justifies its existence 🙂 The fact that it’s also practical is a bonus (I mean, I’m sure Stella’s painting might have practical uses too … I’m thinking it would cover the hole in the plaster on our living room wall very nicely, haha 😉

  4. @TheGingerbreadLady, I totally agree; the original would make an awesome cover for any holes in the wall that you might have, and given that Frank Stella sees paintings as objects in an of themselves (I guess like a flat sculpture or a cumbersome piece of stationery) he might even agree. 🙂

  5. Lovely both!!! Craft as well as Art!!!!
    As is often my custom I enlarged the picture to better see the colors and stitches…. Question: it appears in the piece created from many granny squares that there are sections that appear not to be completely stitched….. is this an illusion or some sort of textural choice?

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