Podcast by Sunny Blecklinger
Profile by Richard Speer
My crocheted cityscape I Crochet Portland was recently installed in at the University of Oregon’s outpost in Portland. The piece is part of the collection of the University’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, and will be on permanent display in the foyer of the White Stag Building at 70 NW Couch Street.
I am very pleased to announce that these three pieces have just been
purchased for the permanent collection of the Portland Art Museum
I am pleased to announce that a second work of mine has been purchased and donated this year to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene. The cityscape I Crochet Portland was funded for the museum by a group of Portland donors.
It is scheduled to be installed in the foyer of the University of Oregon’s
beautiful White Stag building in downtown Portland later this year.
Opening Reception: Thursday February 5, 5-8pm
Saturday February 14, 11am
Masks: Yoghurt, Turmeric, Fragments, Mixed crocheted yarn, 42 x 28 inches, 2014
Jo Hamilton’s crocheted portraiture is a fascinating combination of traditional technique with contemporary subject matter. A native of Scotland, Hamilton earned a degree in painting and drawing from the Glasgow School of Art. After moving to Portland, she translated her artistic vision into the medium of crochet, which she had first learned as a child from her grandmother. Her subjects range broadly, with an enduring interest in portraiture, ranging from people she knows, to commission subjects, mugshot images, larger than life nudes, and recently, 3-dimensional mannequin-like whimsically masked heads. Each piece is compelling and poignant, informed by the vivid color and complex detail of her process and the rich tradition and contemporary approach to the crochet technique that informs them.
Born in Scotland in 1972, Jo Hamilton has lived in Oregon since 1996. She received her BFA from the Glasgow School of Art in 1993. She has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions locally and nationally, including a major 2014 show at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR. She is the recipient of grants from Portland’s Regional Arts & Culture Council and the Oregon Arts Commission, was featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting television’s Oregon ArtBeat, and her work has been written about in publications nationally and internationally
‘A Wire Loose, the crochet paintings of Jo Hamilton’- article in Textiel Plus from the Netherlands:
#1: Dr. ‘Sir’ Steven
Mixed crocheted yarn
51×35 inches 2014
With her new project, funded by a grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Jo Hamilton begins to chronicle in yarn the people -residents, volunteers, staff- of Our House of Portland, a residential AIDS care facility in SE where she has been a volunteer for the last ten years. The first portrait is Dr. ‘Sir’ Steven, a resident at the facility for almost eight years, who passed away in 2012. The aim of this project and the ensuing portrait series is to celebrate and capture in yarn the faces of real people in the Portland community whose lives are affected by HIV and AIDS, and to begin a body of work echoing the tradition of the AIDS quilt, in which art and craft stitch together the compelling stories surrounding the AIDS pandemic.
Opening Saturday October 4, 7-10pm
Sum Gallery: October 4-28
2821 NE MLK Blvd
Other viewings by appointment: 786 385 2638
Q Center: November 1- 30
4115 N Mississippi Ave
M-F 11-5, S/S 10-6
Our House of Portland: December 1- January 31
2727 SE Alder St
Please call ahead: 503 234 0175
This project was funded by a grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council.
I am please to announce that one of my portraits now belongs in the collection of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. The mug shot Illegal Alien was purchased for the museum by Peter Buck & Chloe Johnson. Associate curator June Black had this to say about the acquisition of the piece:
Illegal Alien Mixed crocheted yarn 25×25 inches 2013
“We work very closely with faculty in the Latin American Studies Program
at the university and that piece gives us a wonderful opportunity to talk
about issues relating to race, ethnicity, migration, illegality, criminality,
etc. It’s an incredibly powerful and moving piece and we really believe it
resonates with the issues facing the growing Latino community in the
Eugene and Springfield area, which we are actively trying to engage…
that piece is just so in-line with our mission and our guiding principles.”
In honor of Oregon Art Beat’s 15th season, OPB is excited to present the Oregon Art Beat Exhibition: Celebrating 15 Years of Creativity.
Opening April 19 to the public, the exhibition will feature hundreds of Oregon Art Beat alumni artists and brings together paintings, metal work, sculpture, calligraphy, pottery, music and more from across the region.
The exhibition will take place on the top floor of Pioneer Place Mall at the Peoples Art of Portland Gallery, the Mark Wooley Gallery and the Art Beat Main Stage Gallery. The address is 700 SW 5th Avenue, 3rd floor. The exhibition is free of charge and will run April 19-June 15. Hours are 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.
April 1 – August 3 2014
Artists’ Talk: Wednesday April 16 2014, 5:30pm to 6:30pm
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts
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.
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.
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.
Smith Center for Healing & the Arts, Washington, DC.
Oregon’s Creative Impact: 13 ideas that are changing lives
By Lee Lewis Husk
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.
“Watch Jo Hamilton take her grandmother’s craft and turn it into a new art form.”
– Producer Mike Midlo
Painter-turned-crochet artist Jo Hamilton creates remarkable cityscapes and portraits with yarn. See a slideshow of her art and a time-lapse video …
A STOP MOTION VIDEO
by Priscilla Frank
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.
Artist Jo Hamilton says: ‘I made this stop motion video to document my process of crocheting one of my larger than life...’
Photo by Jenny Stapleton
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.
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.
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 …
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 …
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 …
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 …
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 …
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…
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 …
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…
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…
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
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
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: …
Feb 18, 2011 … Grandmother’s timeless crochet no longer remains as table ware and upholsteries or mere piece of fabric, thanks to Jo Hamilton, …
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: chaincreative.blogspot.com
Feb 16, 2010 … thebibliophile Weblog. reading literature, art, culture, and fashion … One Response to “Crochet Me: The Art of Jo Hamilton” …
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
Today, Jo Hamilton came by to install her amazing crochet piece. It depicts a cityscape of Portland. Apparently it took years to make it, …