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Crochet Flowers for Memories

Flowers for Memories

I am getting increasingly excited about Yarndale this year, and one of the things I am most looking forward to is seeing the display of knitted and crocheted Flowers for Memories. Just as the mandalas did last year, these flowers are going to be breath taking, and given their significance – extremely moving.

The crafting community need little excuse to pull together and charities can be a powerful mobilising force. I was reminded of this last year when I saw The Knitted Flower Pergola and more recently the Craftivist Collective have introduced a #wellMaking Craftivists Garden.

It seems that the convention of floral tributes has been embraced by crafters and makers all over the world; those generous people who give their time, skills and resources to all kinds of good causes.

I wanted to contribute to the Yarndale project again this year, but also wanted to draw people together to work collectively on this. Making is always more fun with other people – and cake!

Rebecca at Norfolk Yarn very kindly offered to host a workshop, so yesterday I met with some lovely, generous women and we worked together on our collection of crochet Flowers for Memories.

We were gathered for all kinds of reasons and we all managed to finish at least one or two flowers. As we worked our conversation ebbed and flowed as some of us remembered our own family members who had lived with dementia

How many of the flowers made for this community project represent real people loved and lost? Perhaps they are all ‘forget-me-nots’ in their own way.

Thank you to everyone that came to the workshop, I loved meeting you all and I will be forwarding your work to Lucy at Yarndale – perhaps if you visit you’ll be able to spot your work…….

Crochet Flower Workshop

Crochet Flower Detail

flowers for Memories

If you’d like to brush up on your crochet skills or simply learn the basics, we’ve got a whole programme of classes at Norfolk Yarn this Autumn, and we’d love you to join us!

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Knitting for Crafty Brides

Following on from last weeks train of thought; it can sometimes be difficult convincing ‘non crafty types’ that knitting and crochet are worthy and grown up activities.

When I worked in an FE college I would occasionally ask a class of 17 year olds to play word associations and without fail the word knitting would prompt a loud chorus of ‘OLD GRANNIES!’

But I refused to rest my case. I would always open it, unpack it, unpick it and attempt to refashion the damaged reputations of traditional crafts.

So when I was invited to take part in a ‘wedding shoot’ I seized the opportunity to explore new territory.

The shoot was initiated and organised by our favourite photographer Eliza Boo and a host of fabulous Norfolk based businesses participated in creating a breathtaking environment at Godwick Hall. The props were beautiful, the dresses exquisite and the styling and make up immaculate.

I made two knitted and crocheted head-dresses for the shoot using a combination of our knitted daisies, the crochet forget-me-nots featured in Issue 13 of The Mercerie Post, and a handful of little crochet daisies.

These experimental prototypes are The Mercerie’s first venture into the wedding arena – but we are very excited about it and are planning a range of bespoke wedding accessories for the autumn.

So what does the word knitting make us think of this week? ‘BEAUTIFUL BRIDES!’

Hooray!

craft brides

 

Crochet for brides

crafty brides

With huge thanks to Elizaboo Photography and all the amazing companies that contributed to creating a beautiful collection of images, of which these are just a tiny selection.

Photography: Eliza Boo Photography: http://elizaboophotography.com
Tipis: Magical Tipis: www.magicaltipis.co.uk
Bridal wear: Jennie Cross Brides: www.jenniecross.co.uk
Floristry: Libby Ferris Flowers: http://www.libbyferrisflowers.co.uk/
Venue: Godwick Great Barn’s Magical Meadow: http://godwickhall.co.uk/
Make up artist: Paula Daynes: www.pauladaynes.co.uk
Menswear: Slaters: www.slaters.co.uk
Lighted signs, Argent &Sable: http://www.argentandsablesigns.co.uk/
Interior styling: La Belle Amour: www.labelleamour.co.uk
Dessert tables, The Little Party Company: www.facebook.com/thelittlepartycompanyuk
Little bridesmaids & page boys: Coccolinos: http://coccolinonorwich.co.uk/
The Jewellery Room: www.jewellery-room.com

This post is a link in a circle of blogs called sisterhood stories. Please visit Laura next and leave some love on the way 🙂

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The Knitted Flower Pergola

As a person who spends much of their time making things out of wool I often feel as if I am parked illegally on the hard shoulder of life. I watch from the sidelines as others whiz past and occasionally find myself on a direct collision course with other people’s pre-conceptions.

I am, however, an understanding and accommodating person. I realise it can be difficult to take seriously things that are woolly……..or fluffy.

I have ‘issues’ myself about the value of making, creating, crafting and decorating. Schooled in Western doctrines of modern art my knees often tremble as I struggle to stay standing under the weight of contemporary art teaching and practices.

The discourse and language that circulates around art often pipes up in my head as I am working- trying to pick an argument about ‘mindless making’, the ‘disease’ of ornament and anti-aesthetics.

This has been a recurring theme recently as I worked my way, repetitively, through several hundred crochet squares in preparation for a new blanket. At 1am, with 420 more squares to make, the creative impulse and the criminally insane develop an especially close knit relationship.

I guess it isn’t surprising then that I am not naturally drawn to monumental, labour intensive acts of decorative crafting. Yarn bombing and graffiti knitting generally leave me feeling slightly irritated so I tend to avoid conversations about such things. It feels like not quite the accepted response – from ‘a knitter’

It is not the ‘graffiti’ aspect that irritates me – from Jean- Michel Basquiat in the 1980’s through to the likes of Banksy and Ash, I love the irony, the skill and the humour that accompany graffiti art. But there’s something about the hours and hours of labour and the miles and miles of yarn involved, that makes me question the role and relevance of ‘yarn bombing’.

So when a friend asked me recently if I’d seen the knitted pergola in The Forum, Norwich I politely replied “No….I haven’t”

Then she said “Words can’t really do it justice –it’s beyond incredible and so beautiful. Do go – you’ll love it”

Convinced that I probably wouldn’t, I went – and I collided headfirst with my own pre-conceptions.

I loved it.

It was the most extraordinary thing. Standing 10ft tall and 10 ft wide The Knitted Flower Pergola challenged me not to love it’s honest cheerfulness.

The hexagonal frame is completely covered in a riotous jungle of 10,000 hand knitted flowers, leaves, butterflies and birds of every colour, and fibre type imaginable. The knitted items range from the exquisitely crafted to the rather wobbly, and collectively they are extremely powerful.

The Knitted Pergola has the power to banish all righteous, intellectual responses and works directly on ones natural impulse to smile and feel happy in it’s presence.

What makes this monumental project so significant, however, is it’s true community spirit. It is the product of many thousands of hours work by crafters from all over the world brought together on this installation by Ann Meijer to raise funds for John Grooms Court; home to a small number of disabled adult residents, just outside Norwich. Her previous project, The Knitted Christmas tree has already helped to raise over £10 000 for the centre.

As I studied the detail and considered the makers of the pergola I could hear those Western Canons attempting to pick an argument in my head; criticising my emotional response with their cynical intellectualising. The Knitted Flower Pergola has the power to silence thier voices and stands as a public flower memorial to all those dead Western art critics – and as a celebration of human generosity and the primal urge to decorate.

It can be difficult to take woolly things seriously. There is a serious message in this work- but it is delivered in such a cheerful and light hearted manner it challenges it’s audience not to love it.

It is truely awe inspiring and photographs cannot do it justice.

Thank you Charlotte for urging me to visit it and making me collide head-on with my own pre-conceptions.

Yarn Bombing and Graffiti Knitting

 

 

 

 

Yarn Bombing and Graffiti Knitting

 

 

Yarn Bombing and Graffiti Knitting

 

 

 

 

 

The Pergola is no longer at The Forum but financial donations can be made payable to “the Friends of John Grooms Court, Norwich” and should be sent to the Knitted Flower Pergola, John Grooms Court, 215 Sprowston Road, Norwich NR3 4HX.

If you’re feeling inspired to make your own cheerful flowers this spring we’ll show you how to make these gorgeous little crochet forget-me-nots in Issue 13 of The Mercerie Post.

Free crochet flower pattern

 

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