© linda scharf
crochetlab dot com
photos on this
of bea ccamacho
© linda scharf
linda at crochetlab
you can click on a question
and be directed to bea's response (in black type) or scroll for a more
intimate experience. slow is good...
:: crochet as a medium
:: photos/physical objects
:: creating enclose
:: planning enclose
:: red yarn
:: extreme clothing
was crochet something you learned growing up or is it a recently acquired
skill? in either case, what was the impetus to learn (the skill)? do you
knit as well, and if so, how do you choose which one to use?
I learnt how to crochet during my junior year of
college. I was working on 'Untitled (Sound Objects)' and I decided that
I wanted them to be covered with fabric that I had made, so I taught myself
how to crochet using instructions I found on the internet. I liked the
fact that crocheting allowed me to easily manipulate the shape that the
fabric was taking. I have never used patterns in my work because I prefer
to improvise my forms. I have also used knitting in my work. Last year,
I created an interactive fabric by knitting together mohair and electroluminescent
wire. Whether I crochet or knit usually depends on the physical requirements
of the project. For example, I knit the interactive fabric because I found
that it was easier to knit wire than crochet it and I crocheted my 'Enclose'
piece because I needed to complete it as quickly as possible.
you use crochet to "address issues of isolation/loneliness"
in your art.
if this idea is accurate, what, if any, is the connection between the
My work deals with experiences of isolation created
by physical, mental or emotional separation. A lot of this is deeply connected
with my personal experience of having moved away from home at the age
of eleven and grown up apart from my family. Along with themes of separation
and isolation, I want the work to address ideas of home and belonging.
To me, crochet is associated with home, warmth and security. However,
this notion formed quite outside my own experience. I did not grow up
with mothers or grandmothers who crocheted or knitted. For me, the crocheting
refers to a somewhat idealized version of home. I hope that in my work
it speaks to ideas of comfort and discomfort, familiarity and alienation.
I was also drawn to crocheting because of its repetitive and meditative
nature. I think there is often an obsessive quality to my work.
in many of your works, we see the record of the crocheted objects (photos,
video), not the actual items. why? an exception is the sound sculptures.
why have you included the actual objects in that case? do you want people
to pick them up? i ask because so often we're asked not to touch things
Above: Untitled (Sound
Yarn, stuffing, recordable playback modules
The sound objects are from an earlier body of work that deals with issues
slightly different from those of 'Enclose' or 'Extensions.' The sound
objects were designed to be interactive and to allow a physical closeness
while suggesting a sense of alienation using the sounds. Since the physical
context within which a piece is displayed affects our relationship to
the piece, in the past I have displayed the sound objects on sofas and
in custom-made environments that promote the idea that they are meant
to be played with.
'Extensions' and 'Enclose' address different ideas. The decision not to
show the actual crocheted objects was made because of the importance of
separation and distance. Although emotions are physically manifested in
this work, I felt a need to maintain a sense of privacy. Crocheted extensions
embody the impulse to create connections with others but they have been
packed into a box and are presented using only photographs. There is a
strong sense of withdrawal, especially in 'Enclose' where it is emphasized
by placing the video monitor on the floor in the corner of a room. I wanted
to preserve a physical and psychological divide between the viewer and
the work by limiting the viewer's access to the pieces.
i'd like to know your thoughts about "enclose": what was the
spark to create it?
When I started working on this piece, I was interested
in hiding spaces and creating my own environment. I had never done performance
before, so I was a little nervous about this project.
how much planning was involved? where did this take place? were there
observers besides you and the video crew? did you set out to crochet the
form around you, no matter how long it took, or something else?
Most of the planning consisted of finding the appropriate
yarn and figuring out a way to set up the video equipment in a way that
would allow us to continuously capture the entire performance. For the
video, I had the help of Greg Gagnon and my brother, Enzo Camacho. We
set up at 4:00am, started shooting at around 6:00am and continued until
the performance ended at around 5:00pm. The performance took place on
the floor in the corner of my studio and my audience consisted only of
the video crew and the other students who were working in the studio.
For the most part, there were only one or two other people in the studio
with me. I wanted to crochet myself in entirely but I had no idea how
long it would take or how much yarn I would need. I wasn't even sure if
I would physically be able to do it since I did not want the performance
to be interrupted by any breaks. I crocheted continuously for more than
ten hours without food or water and was incredibly relieved when I had
this is a record of your crocheting a cocoon-like structure around you
you sit on the floor. it is a bit over 10 hours in length. i know it
starts showing in the gallery at 9am, and can be seen in it's entirety.
how do you expect/hope that people will view it? (over time, one extended
viewing, fast-forward :), see only parts and have to live with the mystery
of not knowing the rest of the story, something else?) was the video edited,
or is it a real time record of the process?
The video was recorded using two tape decks so that
we could put the footage together seamlessly. The material from fourteen
separate tapes was edited in order to create a continuous and complete
document of the performance. I decided to present the video in its entirety
and in real-time to emphasize the process and duration. This solitary
activity is performed repetitively in a way that is reminiscent of ritual
and it happens consciously over time, allowing an emotional investment
in the project to be formed. I don't expect people to spend hours viewing
the video but I want them to get the sense that this was an extended performance.
I hope that the title and the activity in the video suggest what is going
on even with a short viewing of the piece.
can you say a bit about your feelings as you started to become more enclosed?
were you surprised by what you experienced?
I went into this performance not knowing what it
would feel like or what I would be thinking about. For the first hour
or so, all I could think about was how thirsty I was because I didn't
drink anything before I started so that I wouldn't need to go to the bathroom.
After that, I forgot all about having to eat, drink or go to the bathroom
and I was very focused on what I was doing. I hadn't predetermined how
the shape of the crocheted cover was going to come together so I was improvising
the form and constantly trying to figure out which parts needed to join
up in order to have it close around me with the least amount of excess.
The hardest part was the last hour because I was curled up with my head
slightly tucked and was crocheting in a very awkward position. It was
quite painful and I was quite desperate to be done with it. When it was
over, I was so relieved and exhausted that I fell asleep inside the crocheted
cocoon for a few minutes. It was really warm and cosy, and I actually
loved being inside it.
does the structure still exist? any plans for it?
It does still exist and it is in storage at home.
I don't have any plans for it yet.
you use red yarn for a number of your pieces. any particular reasons for
I love the graphic quality of the color. I find
it very striking and in 'Enclose,' I was also originally attracted to
the way in which it became reminiscent of the womb.
anything you'd like to mention about any of your "extreme clothing"
pieces? (hat-like and glove-like structures.)
x 20" and 24" x 36"
Photo credit: Karl
I've never crocheted anything that wasn't an art project. I have created
'clothing,' but so far I haven't really considered myself to be involved
with fashion. I think of crochet as just another art medium, like wood
do you plan to continue using crochet in your future explorations?
Right now, I'm not sure. I certainly enjoy crocheting
but I don't want to limit myself to this way of working. My work will
probably change a lot in the future and I don't know if crocheting will
continue to be relevant to the ideas I want to explore.
Camacho recently graduated summa cum laude with a degree in
Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard College. She works with
sculpture, performance and installation in order to explore issues
concerning distance and disconnection in relation to absence and
intimacy. Having graduated, she hopes to continue working in the field
of art and design.
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living thru experimental crochet
art and research about what happens to string when it is
hooked up to a stick, turned loose and encouraged to run wild
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