Public art: Bright crochet planter toppers

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I saw this online article Crochet goes public! in June and made a note of it elsewhere. Now, I'm making a note of it here for my future reference.

The idea is great! And the cupcake-shaped planter tops are (were) beautiful! (Hmmm, at least until it rained/snowed!)

Published in Crochet Magazine, November 2002.

Crochet goes public!

Alfred University art student brightens Jamestown, N.Y., with crochet

crochetpublicart1.jpg On a gloomy winter day, what could be more depressing than a giant concrete planter full of dead foliage? Five such planters on Third Street in Jamestown caught the eye of Cindy DeFelice last winter, and she immediately adopted them for an art project.

Cindy was taught to crochet in the summer by her grandmother, Connie DeFelice. Connie must be an exceptional teacher, as her granddaughter, just a few months later, turned out public art so spectacular it has appeared in newspapers around the world, on TV and on the Internet.

Creating public art pieces

crochetpublicart2.jpg Cindy was a student in an art class called "Public Spaces, Poetic Histories" taught by Carlos Szembek, assistant professor of mixed media at Alfred University. Students were asked to create public art pieces to be displayed throughout Jamestown. The pieces were to create a visual, textural and sensory articulation of local history.
Cindy prepares the soil for proper umbrella placement.

Cindy explained public art as "An object that lives or an action that takes place outside of a traditional site for viewing art, such as a museum or a gallery. I'm interested in creating art that is accessible to all viewers."

Cindy named her installation "Signs of Life," with the bright crochet planter toppers evoking the first signs of an emerging springtime. Conceiving the toppers was one thing, but constructing them was quite another!

Coverings made of crochet

Although a new crocheter, Cindy decided to use crochet for the coverings because, she said,"Almost everyone has experience with the crochet technique. People have a sense of what a huge time commitment a crochet project is, and what a precious and generous gift the resulting piece is."

Cindy crocheted 12 hours a day for 30 days straight to get the exhibition in place in time. She was assisted in the work by her aunt, Donna DeFelice of LeRoy, N.Y., and Leona Silvernail of Canaseraga, N. Y. Cindy met Leona while shopping for yarn for the project at a local Wal-Mart. She explained what she was doing to Leona, who became interested in the project and volunteered to help. Cindy's mother, Cathy DeFelice, helped put all the pieces together in a marathon three-day and night shift.

crochetpublicart3.jpg Each umbrella-like piece was crocheted with colorful worsted weight yarn in triangle shapes that were then joined pie-style into one 2 foot by 4-foot piece. Around the bottom of each umbrella is a 9-inch by 12-foot piping strip. All were done in single crochet. Three of the planter covers are trimmed with crocheted flowers, predicting the real flora soon to come. The other two recall the circus background of the city of Jamestown. Foam armatures support the pieces, and wood stakes hold them securely in the planters.

Art functioning with everyday life

Cindy received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic arts from Alfred University in 2002. As an artist, she says her goal is to "...awaken a sense of public life by the creation of art in public spaces. By working at traditionally non-art sites and in real space and time, I can make art that functions in everyday life."

With her many talents, we're sure Cindy will be a great success in her career.

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Sketch of Cheryl

About Cheryl

Enjoys crocheting, gardening, cats, NASCAR (especially Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch!), reading, photography, snorkeling in Kailua-Kona with sea turtles, Sizzler's Mega Bacon Cheeseburgers, hot and iced decaf coffee, dark chocolate, color (yarn, fabric), playing around with web technologies - not necessarily in that order! Still very much a beginner with quilting, knitting, and sewing. Donates crocheted lap blankets.

List maker, detail-oriented, organized, leans heavily toward perfectionism. ISTJ. Libra.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Cheryl published on September 25, 2004 5:16 PM.

Quilt store and gallery in Berkeley was the previous entry in this blog.

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