Look what was on the wall of the apartment I first stayed in in Amsterdam:
An extremely accomplished crochet art piece. At first sight it seemed rather threatening, but over time I found it comforting. It's a piece of art that relies on expert craft skills for its achievement - something I admire. One day I visited the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam to see an exhibition titled Hand Made - an exhibition of beautiful Dutch craft objects across many centuries that implicitly posed the question of what constitutes craft, and what art. I found this piece in the exhibition:
Clearly, it's by the same artist as the piece in my exchange apartment, though this time it's two female figures titled 'Twins'. The artist's name is Johanna Schweizer. She's now 65 but has only recently gained a reputation for her wonderful work.
This was also in my first Amsterdam apartment:
The apartment had a number of teddy bear themed art pieces or objects, but this must have been the original one. I asked my house exchanger about it and apparently the bib was knitted by his mother when he was a baby. A great design in typical Dutch colours.
Some random knitted and crocheted objects from my travels:
Top row, left:
Crocheted rugs for sale in a very trendy vintage / recycled store in Haarmemmerstraat
Top row, right:
Exhibit in the Rijksmuseum - woollen caps worn by Dutch whalers, discovered in 1980 by archeologists investigating the burial places of 185 Dutch whalers who had died near Spitsbergen during the seventeenth century.The skeletons were still wearing their knitted woollen caps. Each cap was individualised and the museum information claims that the men recognised one another only by the pattern of stripes on their caps as they were bundled up so tightly against the fierce cold that only their eyes were visible.
Bottom row, left
Phone cover made by Meian (ravelry name) of the De Pijp knitting group in Amsterdam. I've forgotten the name of the technique she used, so if you're reading this, Meian, can you please remind me?
Bottom row, right
Crocheted car. This one's for Jane (and Connor)
And finally, a frieze of knitted mice (at least, I think they're mice. Maybe they're not. Maybe they're something from popular culture of which I'm completely unaware) decorating a very upmarket shop in Antwerp. There must have been at least 30 of them, each one individualised.
Lots of these pieces are quite inspirational. Clearly, knitting and crochet can be used in creative, individual, and appealing ways.