Hosiery Coral Reef #1
11 inches by 8 inches by 4.5 inches tall (28 cm by 20 cm by 11 cm tall)

This piece was inspired after a visit to the Chicago Cultural Center's exhibition of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef -- it was fabulous! I had seen many of the works separately, such as Helle Jorgeson's terrific pieces made from plastic bag yarn. The idea of using things for other than their original purpose has long appealed to me -- I've made button jewelry for years and in the past year have made bags from wool sweaters. Plastic bags didn't appeal to me because I thought they would be too hard on my hands. I've collected hosiery (and others have collected it for me) for quite a while to use as stuffing for my dolls. After seeing the reef exhibit I had an "aha" moment and thought that I could use the same technique used to make plastic bag yarn but with hosiery instead and it would be easier on my hands (turns out it's pretty hard on my hands, but oh well!).

So I made up some hosiery yarn and started playing with it. What fun! Its stretch and heft enabled me to create shapes that hold up on their own. I didn't expect to enjoy this project nearly as much as I did. It was so much fun that I have been finding myself in thrift stores buying up hosiery -- nylons, tights, etc. in all sorts of fun colors (hence the #1 in the title of this piece). After washing them, of course, my daughter Cassie and I work together and make the yarn ... she likes stretching the loops and I connect them together. It's rather time consuming, but it's a kind of Zen-like peaceful process that has led to some nice mother-daughter chats. Also, it's been quite interesting to observe how different types of hosiery stretch and form very different types of yarn. Who'd have thunk!?!? I now have quite a stash of hosiery yarn and a bunch of unprocessed material too, so stay tuned ...

 

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