If you were a shape – what shape would you be?
I think I must be a square.
I like straight lines, right angles, vertical and horizontal axis. I like the perpendicular and the solidity of a square. There’s no ambiguity. It is pure, modern art. It is architecture, white cube spaces, frames and paintings.
The circle, on the other hand, is an ethereal shape whose origins have been lost in pre history. The circle began life back in the year dot and I’ve never quite managed to get a handle on it.
This September The Mercerie will be at Yarndale. I’m very excited, and also just a little bit anxious about this event – our largest and furthest from home so far! We weren’t there last year so missed out on the spectacle of 1.25 km of crochet bunting that decked the halls. This year, however, we’re delighted to be able to contribute to the decorative installation co-ordinated by Lucy of Attic24. Yarndale 2014 will be decorated with hundreds (possibly thousands?) of beautiful crochet mandalas. (er -yes, that’s Sanskrit for CIRCLES) I’ve been following the progress of this project for several weeks now, and have finally found the time to contribute to it, with just days to go before the deadline. So today I’m climbing out of my box, re-framing my thinking and leaving behind the formality and eurocentricity of the square (after the 600 hundred squares of the last project a circle will make a nice change.) I’ve been getting my head around circles and spirals and reminding myself that mandalas are not just the focal points of meditation, or the trinkets sold in tourist gift shops. Mandalas also have a worthy and deserving place in nature, anthropology, art history, ethnographic studies, textiles and fine art practices. My head spins as I circumnavigate a whole spectrum of spots, dots, circles and spirals; polka dot prints, African baskets, crop circles, medallions, Aboriginal art, spin paintings, land art, standing stones, almanacs, clocks, planets…..
So I’ve been going round in circles and exploring crochet spirals- there’s my little mandala – ready to post to Yarndale! So now I feel inspired to start work on a whole new collection of swirly, hypnotic and meditative designs. I’m imagining bags, round cushions, berets, rugs…… anything else? If you feel like having a go – here’s how to crochet a 2 colour spiral. It’s easier than you think.
How to Work a Crochet Spiral
(UK abbreviations are used here)
Make a magic loop with pink yarn and ch1
Step 1: Work 2 dc, 2htr, 2tr into the ring. *Remove hook from work leaving a large loop.
Step 2: Join yellow yarn into the ring. Ch1, 2dc, 2htr, 2tr into the ring. *Remove hook from work leaving a large loop. *Do this everytime you take your hook out of the work to start a new round. Step 3: Put your hook through the large pink loop and work 2tr into every yellow stitch. Remove hook when you get to the end and put the hook through the large yellow loop to pick up where you left off
Step 4: Work 2tr into every pink stitch. Remove hook when you get to the end and put the hook through the large pink loop to pick up where you left off Step 5: Pick up the pink loop and work into each yellow stitch with trebles, increasing into every 2nd stitch until you get to the end of the yellow stitches. Remove hook when you get to the end.
Step 6: Pick up the yellow loop and work into each pink stitch with trebles, increasing into every 3rd stitch until you get to the end of the pink stitches. Remove hook when you get to the end.
Step 7: Pick up the pink loop and work into each yellow stitch with trebles, increasing into every 4th stitch until you get to the end of the yellow stitches. Remove hook when you get to the end. Continue to work the spiral in this way, increasing every 5th stitch on the next round, then every 6th st, then every 7th , until it is the size you need. If you find your circle is not laying flat you may need to adjust the number of stitches in between shapings to accommodate this.
Finishing the Round.
Step 8: Pick up the yellow loop and work three quarters of the way around the row. Over the last remaining stitches, work half in htr’s, then work the remaining in dc’s finishing with two slip stitches to smooth off the curve. Step 9: Mark a half way point with a pin, (this is where you will finish) pick up the pink loop and work one quarter of the way around the row. Over the last remaining stitches, work half in htr’s, then work the remaining in dc’s finishing with two slip stitches to smooth off the curve.
And you’re done!
You can ‘frame’ your spiral in lots of different ways - experiment with edges and trims – then sit back and think about what it might become…..
http://www.artnet.com/artists/sonia-delaunay-terk/ http://gallery.aboriginalartdirectory.com/aboriginal-art/paula-walker/circles-of-life.php http://gallery.aboriginalartdirectory.com/aboriginal-art/paula-walker/circles-of-life.php http://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-Magic-Carpet-VIII/ http://www.djfood.org/djfood/damien-hirsts-butterly-mandalas http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiral_Jetty http://www.spiralzoom.com/culture/contemporaryart/contemporaryart.htm http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/2014/05/mandala-love-.html http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/3757328.stm Shonibare maxa 2003 http://metro.co.uk/2013/02/28/yinka-shonibare-the-banksy-of-sculpture-on-his-split-personality-3518844/