The Natural Sculptural Properties of Crochet

My favorite quality about crochet is it’s innate sculptural capacity. Unlike hand knitting which requires two needles, crochet involves one hook that creates stitches by pulling loops through loops. Essentially, all that’s needed is one stick, yarn and two hands.

Here’s an action shot:


And here’s the first thing I ever crocheted:


Quite recently, I was involved in a project focused on the topic of muscle memory and it’s further iteration into abreaction. Although we tend not to notice, muscle memory is constantly utilized in creating textile art. Our craft is driven by the ability of our muscles to repeat learned skills, so we can create while our minds wander. Textiles, like muscles, have the ability to expand, contract and hold memories. There is really almost nothing as familiar as a favorite worn t-shirt, a child’s stuffed animal or an heirloom quilt.

Abreaction – which is the extraction of memory stored within a muscle, resurfaced through kinetics and physical movement, of which the individual was previously unaware – is rarely something we face head on. Whether intended or not, abreaction travels through our DNA, through our muscle memories and out through our craft, our art and our creative dance of life.

Jess Rees, Hannah Schultz and I were commissioned to create a window installation that physically represented muscle memory and abreaction so those viewing the rest of the exhibition full of paintings, photographs, graphic art and music could more clearly understand this complex topic. First we created a blank tapestry loom of a canvas, then we built our memories into it.

I only used crochet, and these are the abreactions that formed over two weeks of sporadic 2-5 hour meditative sessions:

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The outcome reflects my internal memories which surfaced during my process. I can’t explain exactly what memories surfaced during my process, but I can say that I subconsciously started creating nests and couldn’t stop.

Jess Rees and I will be continuing this project over the course of one year under our collaborative team, Hunter and Rees. I look forward to my muscles working through my memories and what will surface through the muscle fibers.

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Thanks so much to the incredibly creative curator Caroline Partiaman and her exhibition designer, Isabella Bruno for inviting us to explore this concept with them!

About Lynn Hunter

Lynn Hunter has been working in textiles and instructing at the Textile Arts Center since she returned to NYC after a long stint exploring Europe & Asia in 2013. Outside of TAC, Lynn splits her time between creatively directing at Heirloom, an antique rug company and exploring her erotic rope project Tight Rope.

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