In New York City, the Metropolitan Transit Authority has an extremely active Arts for Transit program, that has brough large-scale public art into subway stations across all five boroughs. We were delighted to discover that one of the newest pieces in the system involves enormous pieces of crochet lace-themed art!
A Continuous Thread, 2012
Laminated glass in platform windscreens
A Continuous Thread created by Susanna Starr was inspired by the lace doily that has particular significance to the predominantly Italian-American community in the Bensonhurst neighborhood. Lace doilies are iconic images of home. Passed from one generation to the next, connecting the past, present, and future, the colorful laces evoke home and belonging while referencing traditional handcrafts and cultures in the neighborhood such as Chinese paper cuts and Latin American textiles. Accompanying the artwork is a poem by Susan B. Auld, titled In the Shadow of the Design, which Starr considers an important element of the artwork.
In the medium of glass, each of the doilies is made up of two identical layers of brightly colored lace pattern, which were then meticulously positioned to reveal one from another. The effect of the layering adds a physical dimension and depth. The layered laces shift and change when seen from different angles, and as the light changes throughout the day. Though the images are based upon vintage lace doilies, the color combinations of the windows are graphic and modern. As a counter-balance to the landscape of the subway platforms, these large scale and at the same time, intimate domestic objects, act as visual anchors that hover delicately within the station windscreens, a continuous layering of thread.
In the first photograph, you can see a bit of what that statement hints at—each lace panel is doubled, so that there is a sliver of another color visible around the edges of each piece.
This goes far beyond yarnbombing as a way to bring crochet into the public sphere! Do you enjoy seeing crochet as large-scale art? What's the most amazing crocheted art that you've ever seen?