by jo on April 13, 2014


Crochet artist spins amazing yarns


ICrochetPortland_web_resizeby Randi Bjornstad

This is not your grandmother’s crochet.
One of the most surprising exhibits of the season at the UO’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is Jo Hamilton’s half of a new show called “Contemporary Oregon Visions: Jo Hamilton and Irene Hardwicke Olivieri.”

Not to minimize Olivieri’s considerable talents in the slightest; her intricate and deep paintings of the natural world and its creatures, many of which incorporate voluminous amounts of text so tiny that it can’t be read unless seen so close as to nearly draw the viewer into the frame. Olivieri will be coming to the museum a second time in May to lead a gallery tour and talk about her exhibited work and her just-published book, “Closer to Wildness.”

Right now, though, the focus will be on Hamilton’s amazing ability to take a crochet hook to yarn and turn it into portraits that look like the people and places they represent. Among her works are a wonderful self-portrait, portraits of exotic women — some recently exhibited at Paris’ Printemps — and a huge, fanciful rendition of Portland.

The “portrait” of Portland alone took three years to complete. It has a brown, wavy stripe dividing the scene that represents Burnside Street, which really does divide the city’s address system, north from south.
The work features a quadrant with old Victorian houses and one with construction cranes and modern buildings. A river appears to run through it.

And remember, this is not photography or painting. This is crochet.

One set of portraits commemorates the people the artist worked with at Le Pigeon, a restaurant on East Burnside Street in Portland. Another set of portraits she created from photographs collected by Multnomah County law enforcement.

“These are so interesting for the intensity of their expressions,” said June Black, who co-curated the show with Jessi DiTillio.

“I think these pieces humanize people who are often devaluated in our culture,” DiTillio said.
The end wall of the exhibit hall is occupied by a gigantic, reclining male nude.

“Apparently, she thought that if she could do a huge nude in crochet, she could do anything,” Black said. “That would prove to her that she could accomplish anything with this medium.

“And I think she definitely has.”

A video plays on the wall of the exhibit, in which Hamilton, who grew up in Scotland but moved to Portland in 1996, talks about learning to crochet from her grandmother, whom she calls Gran.

Hamilton started by practicing traditional “granny squares,” similar to the ones that make up thousands of afghans lying over the backs of couches throughout this country, if not the world.

“She was a painter first,” Black said, “but because she could crochet she decided to see what more she might be able to do with that, more like painting. And with that, she found herself and her medium.

“It was so familiar, she just experimented with it, and it’s absolutely amazing what she is able to do.”
Hamilton spent years still working at the restaurant while she created her crocheted pieces, Black said.

“For several years she had to do it on the side, but now she’s represented by the Laura Russo Gallery,” Black said. “I’m so happy for her.

“She’s able to do her art full time, and she’s not working in food service any more.”

Contemporary Oregon Visions
What: Contemporary Oregon artists Jo Hamilton and Irene Hardwicke Olivieri offer new twists on figurative art
When: Through Aug. 3
Where: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, 1430 Johnson Lane, Eugene
Opening talk: Hamilton and Olivieri speak at reception, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday; Olivieri speaks at 1 p.m. May 10

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

by jo on March 7, 2014

Contemporary Oregon Visions

April 1 – August 3 2014

Artists’ Talk: Wednesday April 16 2014, 5:30pm to 6:30pm

Screen shot 2014-02-07 at 2.10.50 PM


by jo on February 14, 2014


June 2014 Workshop

by jo on January 9, 2014

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts

Painting in Yarn: Crochet as Art

ICrochetPortland_web_resizeCheckout My Clases at Arrowmont


Hi-Fructose Magazine

by jo on January 2, 2014


Crocheted Portraits by Jo Hamilton | Hi-Fructose Magazine


Artist Jo Hamilton ‘paints’ portraits with a rather non-traditional material: yarn.  She meticulously crochets portraits from photographs of people, often friends.  The unusual medium for the familiar art-form provides the unexpected on several levels.  Each portrait has a texture very different from common painterliness – they’re soft, knotty, and bordered by loose ambiguous edges.  Hamilton’s material perhaps also goes further to suggest her relationship with her subjects.  Each portrait takes a considerable amount of time and intimate work by hand.  Further, the crochet process is reminiscent of household trinkets and decorations lending her work a feeling of life and home.


by jo on December 16, 2013

Wash Post logo Black

DC gallery shows: ‘Then and Now: 40 Years,’ ‘Fall Solos 2013,’ ‘Against the Bias

Against the Bias

Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery has been yarn-bombed. The U Street art space’s facade is dripping with fabric vines, and a knitted garden sits atop its storefront window. The thematic thread leads inside to “Against the Bias,” a show made from scraps and strands. Its sentry is a six-foot-high fabric cactus fashioned by Stacy Cantrell, who also led the 13-person Yarn-Bomb Dream Team to craft the exterior display.

Yarn is not the only material. Jimmy Miracle’s boxes are made of wood and lined with black velvet, whose dark depths set off the light that shimmers on piano-wire-like filaments. Emily Biondo’s four wall sculptures resemble large doilies, but at their centers are small speakers that murmur different monologues by “accomplished female professionals.” Lily deSaussure embroiders small faces in white thread on white paper, while Jo Hamilton’s larger self-portrait is colorful and crocheted.

The most vivid contrast comes in Jesse Harrod’s “Late Bloomers,” whose four tendrils are covered by a riot of cloth remnants and topped with roughly shaped concrete caps. The piece’s four arms have a childlike exuberance, and the heavy tops provide a sobering counterweight.

Against the Bias is on view through Dec. 21 at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, 1632 U St. NW, Washington, DC 20009.

Museum of Contemporary Craft

by jo on November 27, 2013

Screen shot 2013-11-27 at 1.45.32 PM

Common Threads | Craft Perspectives Roundtable Discussion

Tuesday December 3, 6:30 – 8pm
The Lab at Museum of Contemporary Craft
724 NW Davis St.
Portland, OR, 97209  
Free and open to the public

This roundtable discussion will unpack the role of traditional craft technique in the practices of contemporary fiber-based artists. Moderated by Marci McDade, Editor-in-Chief of Surface Design magazine, the panelists will delve into the spirit of the Common Threads project by contributing to a dynamic conversation about the nature of skill and its translation between the hands of makers across generations.

Panelists Include:
Jo Hamilton
Trisha Hassler
Emily Nachison

Against the Bias

by jo on October 25, 2013

Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

Smith Center for Healing & the Arts, Washington, DC.


Portland/Paris/London Mania

by jo on September 26, 2013

Installation commissioned by Printemps Haussmann, Paris  2013

This installation was commissioned by the Printemps Haussmann department store in Paris. It will be on show there until February 2014.

Simply Crochet Magazine

by jo on July 20, 2013

New Views

by jo on May 28, 2013

6-29 June 2013

Laura Russo Gallery



1859 Magazine

by jo on March 11, 2013

Crochet Artist Jo Hamilton – 1859 Oregon Magazine

Oregon’s Creative Impact: 13 ideas that are changing lives

By Lee Lewis Husk

Artist photo by Joni Kabana

New Work

by jo on January 21, 2013

‘Brighton Ray Bradbury’ Commissioned by Paddy Considine

Mixed yarn  40 x 31 inches  2012

Review of the BAM Biennial

by jo on January 20, 2013


‘Bridging Shine’ at BAM

by jo on November 21, 2012

With my latest crochet piece ‘Bridging Shine’ at the Bellevue Arts Museum 2012 Biennial:

Greg Kucera Gallery

by jo on November 21, 2012

LADIES’ CHOICE: Works by Women Artists chosen by Women Artists

  My work is currently on show at Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle, WA as part of the Ladies’ Choice exhibition which runs from November 15 – December 22, 2012. Many thanks to Marie Watt for inviting me to participate.


BAM Ignite

by jo on October 25, 2012

Bellevue Arts Museum Biennial 2012: High Fiber Diet opens today and runs until February 24th 2013. My work is being used to promote the November 16th reception for the exhibition:

Oregon Art Beat

by jo on October 16, 2012

“Watch Jo Hamilton take her grandmother’s craft and turn it into a new art form.”

- Producer Mike Midlo

Oregon Public Broadcasting

by jo on October 12, 2012

Jo Hamilton Crochets Works of Art : Arts & Life : OPB

Painter-turned-crochet artist Jo Hamilton creates remarkable cityscapes and portraits with yarn. See a slideshow of her art and a time-lapse video


Sum Gallery: 13

by jo on September 24, 2012

Work in Progress

by jo on August 8, 2012

For the Bellevue Arts Museum Biennial 2012


Bridging Shine  Mixed Yarn  Approx. 65 x 32 inches  2012

Arthur Animated

by jo on June 15, 2012


This is a stop motion video I made to document my process of crocheting one of my larger than life portraits in yarn from start to finish. In my work I use a traditional basic crochet technique taught to me at an early age by my Gran. I work one knot at a time, from the inside out, row by row. In making the crochet portraits I always begin in the middle with the eyes and work out from there until the piece is completed. I work directly from photographs, using no sketches, graphs or computer imaging. Each piece is instinctively composed, handmade, labour-intensive. Nothing is planned ahead; I make it up as I go along. I spend a lot of time simply looking, unraveling, and reworking until I get it right. To make this video I photographed the work after each new yarn colour or two was added, and edited the photos into a sequence. This 30 second sequence contains over 300 photos of the work in progress. The portrait is of my dear friend Arthur Cheesman, who is sadly no longer with us. Music by Aikamusic/Goldcard.


Aksam Turkish Newspaper

by jo on June 12, 2012

Article by Nilay Ornek

Signon Magazine, Tel Aviv

by jo on June 12, 2012

Article by Sigal Namir

The Huffington Post

by jo on June 3, 2012

Jo Hamilton’s Surprisingly Surreal Crochet Portraits- The Huffington Post

by Priscilla Frank

Jo Hamilton’s Crochet Portrait Looks Eerie In Stop Motion – The Huffington Post

by Mallika Rao

It’s unlikely anyone would line up to watch a crochet artist at work. But this 30 second stop motion film by artist Jo Hamilton turns the quiet craft she learned from her grandmother into something thrilling. Hamilton — who is known for her blanket-sized portraits of famous people and friends — filmed more than 300 photos for the video, each taken after the addition of a new yarn color to her portrait of her late friend Arthur Cheesman. Her habit of working from the eyes out here creates the sensation of a fully formed man slowly revealing himself, which is as eerie as it sounds. Don’t expect to find half-done Arthur hanging on your grandma’s wall any time soon.


by jo on May 28, 2012

Juxtapoz Magazine – Crochet Portraits by Jo Hamilton



by jo on May 27, 2012

Arthur, Animated: Stop-motion progression of crocheted portrait (video)

Artist Jo Hamilton says: ‘I made this stop motion video to document my process of crocheting one of my larger than life...’


by jo on May 26, 2012

New Crochet Portraits and a Stop-Motion Video by Jo Hamilton | Colossal


Oregon Art Beat

by jo on May 23, 2012

The Oregon Art Beat crew came to my studio to shoot a feature on my work that will air later this year. Thanks to Mike, Greg and Bill.


HBO Series ‘Girls’

by jo on May 17, 2012

My work makes an appearance in Episode 5 of Lena Dunham’s new HBO series ‘Girls’

VOGUE Knitting

by jo on May 7, 2012

Special Collector’s Crochet Issue

“The Fine Art of Crochet: Six fiber artists blur the distinction between art and craft.”

By Daryl Brower

The Culture of Transbaikalia

by jo on May 4, 2012

“Crocheted Art of Jo Hamilton”

The Culture of Transbaikalia  (Russian newspaper)  #13 (296)  April 5th 2012

By Andrew Farinov



Facebook Page Link

by jo on April 19, 2012

Jo Hamilton Art

 Photo by Jenny Stapleton

Atlas Quarterly

by jo on March 30, 2012

American Craft and Curio Premiere Issue

  “Stitched Stories: Artist Jo Hamilton crochets colorful portraits of people and places.”

By Katherine Suarez

Bellevue Arts Museum 2012 Biennial

by jo on March 6, 2012

BAM Biennial 2012: High Fiber Diet 

October 25 2012- February 24 2013

  2012 marks the unveiling of the second

edition of BAM’s  much-anticipated

biennial. With a focus on fiber, one of

the most thriving yet underexposed

media in contemporary art, BAM Biennial

2012: High Fiber Diet continues BAM’s

commitment to recognizing the innovative

work of Northwest makers.


by jo on February 6, 2012


The works in this group exhibition are united in their use of bodily fragmentation to investigate the role of women in modern society. Fragmentation is a versatile tool in visual art, as it allows us to simultaneously see the human body in a more focused manner, and to step back from it and view the body as an abstract form – it can lead to reactions ranging from analytical to emotional. While interpretations are individual to both artist and viewer, Part & Parcel undoubtedly inspires us to think about the body in novel ways.

The exhibition is curated by Bonnie Gloris and features an impressive roster of artists including Fanny Allié, Tom Bartel, Laara Cassells, Niina Cochran, Bill Durgin, Irene Gennaro, Jo Hamilton, Frances Heinrich, Gina Lucia, Vincent Minervini, Judy Moonelis, Lindsey Muscato, Deborah Pohl, Carol Schwartz, Etta Winigrad, and Jane Zweibel.

Czech Culture: Proti šedi

by jo on January 2, 2012

Artist Jo Hamilton | Proti šedi

Jo Hamilton is a fibre artist. She crochets unique portraits and landscapes. What makes her do it? Could you introduce yourself shortly? You hail from Scotland


Beautiful Decay Best of 2011

by jo on January 1, 2012


Best of 2011: Jo Hamilton’s Crochet Heads

Best of 2011: Jo Hamilton’s Crochet Heads. December 28th, 2011 by Amir. It’s not everyday that we post an artist who works with yarn but Jo Hamilton’s crochet



by jo on December 1, 2011

GULP YARN BANG! Images – School 33 Art Center

Urbanite Baltimore Magazine

by jo on November 30, 2011

Urbanite Arts and Culture Feature: String Theory

Gulp Yarn Bang shows a wide range of art objects that reference traditional notions of yarn while taking the medium to exciting new places…



by jo on September 16, 2011

 KNOT AFTER KNOTForward Council

This exhibition, ‘knot by knot‘ is certain to uncover the material and the process that fits perfectly with the concept, leading the artist inside a very


The 2nd Annual New Brow of Portland

by jo on September 5, 2011

by jo on June 24, 2011


Jun 21, 2011 – Scottish-born Jo Hamilton is a painter by trade, but her recent work has manifested itself in a truly exciting new medium: crochet…

 Photo by Carlie Armstrong

Design for Mankind

by jo on May 2, 2011

a crochet mask. | Design For Mankind

May 2, 2011 This is an in-progress piece from crochet genius Jo Hamilton, and I love it so much as it is. Everyone needs a (tad creepy) crochet mask for


Sick of the Radio

by jo on April 26, 2011

Jo Hamilton | Sick of the Radio

 Apr 26, 2011 Jo Hamilton is a Portland based, British born artist whose work uses traditional crocheting to create images of people and places around her



by jo on April 4, 2011

 Jo Hamilton’s Crochet Heads – Beautiful/Decay Cult of the Creative

Apr 4, 2011 It’s not everyday that we post an artist who works with yarn but Jo Hamilton’s crochet portraits are really interesting…



by jo on March 30, 2011

 Jo Hamilton’s Amazing Faces – Bust Magazine

 Mar 30, 2011 BUST Magazine, the magazine for women with something to get off their chests. Rocking your world since 1993. With an attitude that is fierce



by jo on March 25, 2011

Interview With Jo Hamilton. An Artist Who Creates Arresting…

 Mar 25, 2011 Jo, please introduce yourself to E-junkies. My name is Jo Hamilton. I’m from Scotland, and moved to Portland, Oregon in the mid-nineties…


Crochet Concupiscence

by jo on March 21, 2011

Jo Hamilton Crochet | Crochet Concupiscence

Mar 21, 2011 Jo Hamilton is an amazing crochet artist. I don’t say that lightly. There are a lot of crochet artists with work that I like…


New York Exhibitions

by jo on March 17, 2011

Jo Hamilton: FACES April 29-May 30 2011

Jo Hamilton will be showing a selection of her crochet portraits at two New York locations:


Opening April 29th 2011  5-9pm Bryon Adams Harford

Cafe Grumpy Greenpoint
193 Meserole Avenue
(at Diamond St)
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Additional portraits will be showing at:

Cafe Grumpy Chelsea
224 West 20th St
(between 7th and 8th Ave)
New York, NY 11011
(Subway 18th St)


Bryon Adams Harford

Mixed yarn 22″x27″ 2008


by jo on February 25, 2011

Fiber Arts

 Portraits in Yarn – Fiber Arts – – Albany NY

Feb 25, 2011 Meet Portland-based artist Jo Hamilton, who makes crocheted portraits that are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Here’s one in progress:



by jo on February 18, 2011

Knit Your Moments: Crochet Portraits Brought You By Jo Hamilton

Feb 18, 2011 … Grandmother’s timeless crochet no longer remains as table ware and upholsteries or mere piece of fabric, thanks to Jo Hamilton,


INSIDE Crochet

by jo on June 17, 2010

Interview: Jo Hamilton By Bee Clinch


Interview with Jo Hamilton

by jo on May 27, 2010

Words by Bee Clinch

Amongst her many artistic talents, Jo Hamilton, the Portland-based artist, creates arresting figurative images of people and her environment using the unexpectedly domestic medium of crochet. Her formative training at the Glasgow School of Art was in painting and drawing but, by her own admission, she was never entirely comfortable with the traditional approach.
Following her move to Oregon in the 1990′s, she began to explore different means of expressing herself through a skill she has long forgotten but was keen to reacquaint herself with. ‘I first learned to crochet when I was six and my Gran taught me how to make a granny square. Ten years later a friend re-taught me, and I crocheted in a crafty way for years.’

She was first inspired to use crochet as a means of depicting her surroundings after seeing an exhibition at the original Portland Craft Museum. ‘I think (the exhibition) was called “Not Your Grandmother’s Doily” and featured art made using techniques that are traditionally considered to be craft.’ Excited that she had at last found a means of expression that allowed her to work in a way that she was comfortable with but at the same time was artistically expressive, she settled down that very day and began to crochet the first six city blocks of what would become the “I Crochet Portland” cityscape!

This gave her the confidence to broaden her remit to depicting her fellow coworkers using the same techniques. Despite their good-natured taunting, she started from photographs of the sitter which she then worked up in crochet.

Work can take anything up to three years, as in the case of the cityscapes but her enthusiasm for the medium never wanes. “Crochet is currently my preferred process, although I do look forward to seeing how it has informed my approach to other media.’ By using a craft that is more often than not pigeon-holed into rather a narrow category, she hopes to create a more appreciative audience that will see its artistic potential. As with Tracy Emin and her series of quilts, something that we traditionally see as a purely domestic activity becomes a far more challenging and thought-provoking process.

Her method of working is more like a painter with their box of paints than a person taking out their crochet for a few hours of relaxation.
‘My house is filled with balls of yarn, all arranged by colour on shelves. I can pull them out as I need them for my palate. A portrait can take up to fifty or more hours over the course of a month, but I haven’t actually counted, and I spend just as much time looking as actually crocheting. The pieces evolve from the inside out. I make no graphs, plans or charts; it’s a row-by-row organic process in which I don’t always know the outcome, but have learned to trust my way of working.’ Many people have speculated on how Jo achieves her portraits and what stitches or techniques she might use, so they will be fascinated to read of how she has to put herself in the hands of her inspiration and wait to see what is produced.
Obviously, she is confident to do this and is quite happy to go with the flow. ‘I’m working on a new body of work for my next show Bodies Are Bridges. It’s quite a departure from previous pieces, so I have a lot of work to do in order to pull it off. I will always continue to crochet, but I’d also like to return to drawing and painting and see how the crochet has informed my approach to those disciplines. I want to push the boundaries of craft and art, just to see what’s possible.’

For many crocheters, such an approach is completely new and alien but gives an example of how craft can jump the barrier between itself and art and give an artist new and exciting means of expressing themselves. It may not be something that everyone feels confident to do but Jo gives some advice which we could all follow, ‘Ditch your pattern books!’ So maybe next time you reach for the tried-and-tested cushion or blanket pattern, heed Jo’s words and with the skills literally at our finger tips venture into a new and exciting world of expression through craft.

Bee is a freelance writer in England and has a crochet blog:

The Bibliophile Weblog

by jo on February 16, 2010

Crochet Me: The Art of Jo Hamilton « thebibliophile Weblog

Feb 16, 2010 thebibliophile Weblog. reading literature, art, culture, and fashion One Response to “Crochet Me: The Art of Jo Hamilton


Interweave Crochet

by jo on December 17, 2009


by Christine Vitron


by jo on September 27, 2009


by jo on May 1, 2009

Beneath the Surface Exhibit | Pattern People | Surface Design

beneath poster lr Beneath the Surface Exhibit

Opening May 1st at Nemo in Portland, Oregon, BENEATH THE SURFACE: Flora, Fantasy & Fable in Surface Design highlights the work of influential, contemporary surface designers through the mediums of wallpaper, prints, and 3-dimensional objects. The exhibit is curated by us and includes some of our favorite designers from around the globe. Focusing on escapist and fantastical themes, the exhibit features utopian landscapes, folkloric fables, and interpretations of magical inner journeys.

Anna Giertz | Chelsea Heffner | Dan Funderburgh | Deanne Cheuk
Eno Henze | George Moskal | Joanna Bean | Jo Hamilton
Katrin Wiens | Kinpro | Kustaa Saksi | Laundry Studio
Linn Olofsdotter | Marc Curtis | Michael Leon | Mike Perry
Nama Rococo | Osmose | Pattern People | Timorous Beasties

ARTIST: Jo Hamilton | Pattern People | Surface Design + Inspiration

 Today, Jo Hamilton came by to install her amazing crochet piece. It depicts a cityscape of Portland. Apparently it took years to make it,