Fabric, String and Yarn Feed

Love These Hats!

Hat donut-1000x563According to Israel21c, Maor Zabar makes some crazy hats. They are definitely artworks unto themselves.

Growing up in Haifa, Maor Zabar was the kind of kid who painted on the furniture and drew on the walls.

“I used to drive my parents nuts,” admits the 42-year-old award-winning costume and hat designer.

Fortunately, his parents indulged their little boy’s artistic exploits. They sent him to afterschool art lessons and the WIZO Haifa Academy of Design for high school. He spent a year living with an uncle in New York, learning makeup artistry before finding his true calling.

Zabar’s famed creations include the attention-grabbing getup that Netta Barzilai wore for her winning performance in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. In 2014, Zabar started his hat business.

He doesn’t consider himself a milliner. He simply loves hats and wanted to create them freely outside the confines of his theatrical costume commissions.

“I don’t treat my hats as fashion items. I refer to them as art pieces,” he says.

It wasn’t long before images of his hats – featuring food, carnivorous plants, sea creatures, pride, and bride themes – from his online Etsy store began making a buzz in the blogosphere. “I get inspired by things I come across, even pictures in a book or a vacation I took,” explains Zabar.

You can spot Zabar’s hats on stylish heads at launch events, red-carpet events and British horseraces.

“If you’re daring enough and want to make a fashion statement, a hat is the most standout item to do that with,” says Zabar.

Yarn-Bombing at the Guggenheim Museum - A Toilet with Gold Crochet

Hyperallergic reports that the guerrilla intervention was in place for two hours during the museum’s pay-what-you-wish period on a Saturday.

A guerrilla intervention in the Guggenheim Museum's fourth floor bathroom (photo provided to Hyperallergic by anonymous source)

On Saturday, the otherwise unremarkable fourth-floor bathroom in the Guggenheim Museum saw an artistic intervention whereby the currently installed, stock white toilet was completely enveloped in coarse, glimmering gold yarn. The bathroom in question was previously and rather infamously activated by Maurizio Cattelan’s gold toilet (“America,” 2016). While that work stayed in place for a full year, Saturday’s unsanctioned intervention remained in place for roughly two hours.

“We can confirm an intervention of a crocheted piece that covered a toilet on the museum’s Ramp 4,” a spokesperson for the Guggenheim told Hyperallergic. “The intervention came to the attention of security personnel near the end of our Pay-What-You-Wish hours on Saturday evening and was carefully removed and sent to the registrar’s office. There was no damage and nothing was vandalized. The Guggenheim does not encourage unauthorized interventions; however, we are heartened that a visitor was so inspired by the Cattelan installation that they were moved to create one of their own.”

To anyone even remotely familiar with the inner workings of New York’s contemporary art scene, this particular guerrilla art intervention, in every respect, screams of the Polish fiber and knitwear artist, Olek. When asked over the phone about the Guggenheim intervention, Olek — an irreverent cross between a Guerrilla Girl and a Pussy Riot member — would neither confirm nor deny authorship.

Olek has made a name for herself by covering famous statues and monuments with her distinctive, multi-colored “yarn-bombing.” In 2010, long before the arrival of “Fearless Girl,” Wall Street’s “Charging Bull” statue — perhaps one of the more overt symbols of wealth, capitalism, industry, and generally masculine, patriarchal notions of American strength and success — was wrapped snuggly and surprisingly in Olek’s pink and purple camouflage pattern. A year later, she wrapped the Astor Place cube in a similar dressing. In 2012 she traveled to Barcelona to give Fernando Botero’s giant sculpture of a cat a similar treatment. Later that summer, in Washington, DC, Olek covered the National Academy of Science’s Albert Einstein Memorial in pink and purple crocheted fabric. Her use of these colors — those often attributed to a particular sex and catering to established female gender norms — one would assume, is no accident.

Though the always playfully ferocious Olek doesn’t lead with feminist talking points, it’s difficult not to contextualize her works as playful but nevertheless punk rock acts of feminist protest. Each project is a brazen, uninvited takeover of otherwise masculine-charged and over-sized art objects.

Maurizio Cattelan, “America” (2016), gold (photo by Carey Dunne/Hyperallergic)
Maurizio Cattelan, “America” (2016), gold (photo by Carey Dunne/Hyperallergic)

In the case of the Guggenheim intervention, the artist (whomever he or she may be) is adding another dimension to Cattelan’s “America,” which resurfaced in the news recently when the Guggenheim’s deputy director Nancy Spector offered to lend the gold toilet to the Trumps. Here, the unnamed yarn-bomber is doubling down on Cattelan’s joke and Spector’s subsequent, suave, punk rock act of political rebellion via polite curatorial sassiness. The artist, if she is in fact female, may also be making a guerrilla statement about the lack of representation of women in institutional spaces.

As the sculptor Antony Gormley said of Olek’s work in 2012, when she covered his seaside sculptures in the UK with her yarn costumes: “I feel that barnacles provide the best cover-up, but this is a very impressive substitute!” Though the US political machine currently seems to be riddled with barnacle types, perhaps it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate potentially vibrant alternatives — however fleeting they may be.


Margot Niederland's Otherworldly Boxes

IMG_7403You can visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art right now and see a small selection of Joseph Cornell boxes or you can go to 21 Ludlow Street in NYC's Chinatown to see a much more interesting array of boxes by Margot Niederland.

She explains, "I began creating assemblages as a counterbalance to my many years of photographing and filming. As a photographer and documentarian, I go into the world and capture reality. I put a frame around what I see and create an expression of what already exists. Alternatively, my assemblages are tableaux of miniature worlds. They are created from my subconscious rather than from any pre-conceived ideas. I work with a ‘palette’ of hundreds of found objects I’ve collected over the years. After choosing the first piece to become an axis for the work, I juxtapose other pieces with synergistic associations. As the montages coalesce into milieus, the individual pieces transform into symbolic metaphors, creating scenes from an unknown movie. These assemblages are open to interpretation, inviting the viewer to enter and participate in their own creation of a dream narrative."

Her work is on exhibit (and on sale) until March 25, 2018.

Crochet Coral Reef: Toxic Seas

IMG_0781 IMG_0781Part political statement, part amazingly intricate and beautiful crochet sculptures, Crochet Coral Reef is something to be seen to be believed at the NYC Museum of Design.

To me it is a bit of yarn bombing and total whimsy with a political punch.


The exhibit celebrates the tenth anniversary of the “Crochet Coral Reef” (2005–present), an ongoing project by sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim and their Los Angeles–based organization, the Institute For Figuring.

Mixing crocheted yarn with plastic trash, the work fuses mathematics, marine biology, feminist art practices, and craft to produce large-scale coralline landscapes, both beautiful and blighted. At once figurative, collaborative, worldly, and dispersed, the “Crochet Coral Reef” offers a tender response to the dual calamities facing marine life: climate change and plastic trash.


Velveteria in Los Angeles

VelvetAs early as the 13th century, Marco Polo reported seeing painted velvet portraits of Hindu deities in India, with religious images continuing to appear on velvet canvases throughout the Middle Ages. Transcending time and modernity throughout 14th-century Kashmir, 16th-century China, and 19th-century England, black velvet paintings finally attained full-on cult status in the 20th century. By that point, Jesus appeared just as frequently as matadors, unicorns, hula girls, and, of course, that other King — Elvis.

Enter: Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin, founders and curators of the Velveteria. An oddball museum if there ever was one, the Velveteria keeps the black velvet craze of the mid-1970s alive and well with plenty of retro kitsch—but also a surprising number of new commissions and modern takes on this practice. As lifelong enthusiasts, the pair has amassed a collection surpassing 3,000 of these paintings.

In 2005, the museum's first iteration opened its doors in Portland, Oregon where it enjoyed years of endearing weirdness before closing up shop and relocating southward to warmer and sunnier climes. The present collection can now be found in the heart of Los Angeles' Chinatown, where more than 400 of the finest specimens from the couple's treasure trove are on display, six days each week. Though each visit feels a bit like a trip down a rabbit hole in its own right, the most otherworldly element of all is the museum's black-light room, where the ghoulish and trippy velvet paintings really seem to come to life.

Read more at Atlas Obscura.

Yarn Bomb Artist Olek Goes Underwater

OLEK says she wants to “bring awareness to the state of the world’s oceans and promote the preservation of marine life.” With this new project she is definitely making waves. In a new project with PangeaSeed and sculpture Jason DeCaires Taylor, the Brooklyn based street artist dove to the ocean floor off the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico to create these astounding, poetic, and inspiring underwater images. As she has done in other projects on land OLEK created costumery for friends and others to model, and these crocheted mermaids are the bomb. The yarn bomb. Brooklyn-street-art-olek-pangeaseed-isla-mujeres-mexico-08-14-web-12 Brooklyn-street-art-olek-pangeaseed-isla-mujeres-mexico-08-14-web-12

Thank you to BSA for the reportage

Hybrid Sneakers

Wassink-model-3-625x418A great pair of shoes has become the ultimate fashion statement. People will go to great lengths for limited edition kicks, custom shoes, and one-of-a-kind “statements for your feet.” So, it should be no surprise that Sander Wassink’s reconstructed, hybrid shoes are turning some heads.

Sander Wassink is an artist/designer that uses discarded and left over materials for his projects in an attempt to reimagine a new purpose for an existing commodity. To this end, his reconstructed hybrid shoes envision a life for designer knockoffs by using bits and pieces from many different pairs to make something new.

Yarn Bombed Bridge in Pittsburg


The Andy Warhol Bridge in Pittsburg has been decorated with beautiful knitted tapestries, done by over 1,800 volunteers and team members to celebrate the city’s history. This large scale public art project, entitled Knit the Bridge, brings together several art communities across Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania.


Read more on PSFK.

Yarnbombing Humans

Now this is something that you don't see everyday. Artisk Olek had yarnbombed people!


Yarn Bombing Picnic in Union Square, photo by John Black Photography

This is taking the yarn-bombing trend to the next level. Right here in New York City is one of the inspirations for this trend. Olek, a Polish-born costume designer turned set designer turned guerilla artist, is perhaps most recognizable for completely crochet-ing the Wall Street Bull and Astor Place Cube in 2011, but she’s taken the movement to the next level (with an accomplice it seems).

Moving from objects to people, Olek’s latest work covering people (friends and strangers) in yarn, like in the picnic captured by photographer John Black in Union Square, have been popping up on Instagram since April. Those in the know have been tagging oleknyc and olek in the photos. Instagrammer 4rilla, meanwhile, took the chance and “picked up some wild hitchhikers and brought them to Central Park.”