Saturday, January 12, 2019

A New Angle on Finger Crochet

By Judith H., CTC roving reporter

I’ve been watching the rebirth of the Minnesota Museum of American Art as it literally - and with great respect for the original architecture - carved out a new space in the historic Pioneer and Endicott Buildings near me in Downtown St Paul.

From their website: “The Minnesota Museum of American Art is one of the oldest visual arts organizations in Minnesota, with roots stretching back to the 19th century.... Today, the Minnesota Museum of American Art holds more than 4,500 artworks that showcase the unique voice of American artists.”

So imagine my excitement when the Textile Center invited me to join several of their “professional” artists to contribute finger crochet to a massive fiber art installation in the Museum’s new Sculpture Court and to demonstrate crochet at the Grand Opening.

The nationally known and shown artist, Sheila Pepe, was a delight to work with.

The piece is called “Softly...Before the Supreme Court.” It’s a rather abstract reference to Cass Gilbert, designer of the Endicott Building itself as well as the U. S. Supreme Court Building (and, yes, our State Capitol). Primarily using finger crochet in somber colors of various thick but flexible industrial cords and ropes, Sheila created a dynamic tension between the soft, easily manipulated fibers and the long-lasting hardness of the brick, iron and stone architectural environment.

Ensuring the collaborative nature of a work that’s still uniquely her vision, Sheila made sure we all had a chance to “sign” our work by embroidering a ribbon hung within the artwork.

You can see “Softly...” now until April 7, 2019. When you go, be sure to go upstairs to the glass Skyway Connection and look down into all that crochet! Then turn around and watch truffles being made at the Legacy Chocolate Cafe.

350 Robert Street North
St. Paul, MN 55101
Open Wednesday through Sunday; admission is free