Crochet for Kids!


This "sculpture forest" at the Hakone Open-Air Museum includes several sculptures for children to play on. The top photo shows "Woods of Net," (made in 2009) which was created by Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam. The outer wood pavilion was built with traditional techniques seen in Japanese temples. A huge, brightly colored net hangs down from the middle of the pavilion like a giant hammock. Children clamber up into the netting, swinging in the breeze and enjoying glimpses of the sky and trees through gaps in the pavilion’s wooden.

The artist explains how she came to be engaged with children's play:  "It all happened quite by accident. Two children entered the gallery and, blissfully unaware of the usual polite protocols that govern the display of fine art, climbed into the structure. The work suddenly came alive in ways she had never really anticipated. The fabric took on new life, swinging and stretching with the weight of the small bodies, forming pouches and other unexpected transformations, and above all there were the sounds of the undisguised delight of children exploring a new play space."

From that point, her work shifted out of the gallery and a subdued, monochromatic pallet turned into a riotous rainbow of colors for children's playscapes.


Rainbow Net was produced in close collaboration with structural engineers and opened in July of 2000 after three years of planning, testing, and building, including making accurately scaled crocheted nets using fine cotton thread. During final assembly, Toshiko crocheted ten hours a day, often on her knees, until the installation was complete.