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Knitting in Art, Part II: Knitting in High School?!?

26 May 2011

Tuesday was Jane Lawton’s birthday; she would have been 67.  So…you’re stuck with a little more musing on my mother.  Take heart: May is almost over! Scroll down for the yarn giveaway…

Last month, I went to the Congressional Art Competition Awards ceremony at VisArts at Rockville. After my mother passed away, one of the Congressional Art awards for her area was named after her:

Jane E. Lawton Memorial Award

The Jane E. Lawton Memorial Award. Isn't that nice?

The Jane E. Lawton Memorial Award
This award honors the late Delegate Lawton for her exceptional service, undeniable exuberance, and devotion to the arts. This award is for singular vision or unique use of materials, reflecting Delegate Lawton’s individuality and vitality.

My mom had the nicest friends; they were instrumental in having this award named for her. Several of them were there on the night, including one who reminisced about traveling to New Hampshire with my mother and some other women during a presidential campaign. Evidently, while everyone else’s pajamas were pretty bland, Mom’s were leopard-print. There’s that “individuality and vitality” for you.

Jack Chen Painting

This year's award winner, "War and Play" by Jack Chen

The winner of Mom’s award this year was Jack Chen of North Potomac High School; he created an amazing oil painting of a child playing with a toy rocket launcher in the foreground while tanks roll toward him in the background. The photo I took does not do this piece justice; it glows. It will be hanging in Congressman Van Hollen’s office for a year, so if you happen to be there do take a look!

I always enjoy this event, in part because it’s neat to see the artistic high school students milling around and getting to know one another. They’re all from different schools, but they share a passion for visual art – they’re among their own people. How often does that get to happen in high school? [I commented on the power of a meeting of like-minded teenagers on the way home, and Mr. Trask told me that his debate coach always ended pep talks at debate tournaments by saying, “Above all, the most important goal of this tournament is for you to meet your future wife.”]

Mary Beth Nalls Painting

"Procrastination at its Finest," by Mary Beth Nalls, includes knitting needles in its survey of one student's distractions.

So, anyway. You all know I was on the lookout for knitting at this event, because I am always on the lookout for knitting. Shockingly, it seems that at least one art student finds knitting a distraction from homework.

That’s right: along with nail polish, an iPhone, and the book “Tuesdays with Morrie,” Mary Beth Nalls uses knitting to procrastinate from doing her homework. At any rate, that’s what I took from the drawing. [That keychain in the upper left corner looked like a ball of yarn to me at first, but then I remembered that I have a one-track mine. I suspect it’s a volleyball.]

I love that this student was comfortable enough with her knitter-ness to put the needles into her work. When I was in high school, I learned to knit, and enjoyed it – and, in fact, a couple of the most interesting and fun people I knew in high school were knitters. But I didn’t start admitting my knitting obsession until I was in college – and, even then, I was pretty quiet about it, just making over-sized mittens and scarves for my boyfriend during summer breaks (I hadn’t yet learned about gauge). Mary Beth’s drawing was a runner-up for an award; it will be displayed in Congressman Van Hollen’s office. Knitting on Capitol Hill!

Fiber Arts Studio at VisArts of Rockville

Fiber Arts Studio at VisArts at Rockville - I couldn't resist. Sigh.

Buzzing from this first knitting find, I was over the moon when I found some actual yarn at VisArts, in the Fiber Arts section of their studios. Mr. Trask let me alone for a moment, and I’m afraid I may have…purchased some yarn. [You guys can tell the yarn giveaway isn’t going to be over any time soon.]

Just one skein of handpainted yarn; is that so wrong? My plan is to make some hand mitts this summer, to stay warm when I’m in Oxford next winter. If I know what I’m going to make with it, it’s not really bad to buy it, right? [Please – don’t answer that.]

Where have you seen knitting in art? Let the rest of us know in the comments…either because you want to, or because you want the lovely skein of Dream in Color Starry pictured below. The colorway is Honeymoon, from this year’s Dream in Color Club (February). 450 yards of fingering-weight superwash merino wool with silver filaments woven in.  You can make yourself some amazing socks with this, so comment before noon on Tuesday, May 31 for a chance to win. Yum!

Dream In Color Starry Honeymoon

Dream In Color Starry in bright pink (Honeymoon) - what's not to love? Comment on the blog before noon on Tuesday, May 31 for a chance to win.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Dovile permalink
    26 May 2011 10:06 am

    I don’t remember much knitting in art, like in paintings and so on. But I’ve sen a lot of great knit pieces in TV and movies, that probably counts as art too.

    spamscape [at] gmail [com] com

  2. 27 May 2011 2:33 am

    Like the previous commenter, I haven’t seen knitting in painting, but the old Bollywood (Hindi) movies would have the lead female sit and knit while she brooded over the well being of her loved one or reminisced about the romantic scenes with him.

    Love the yarn you are offering. Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. Kae permalink
    27 May 2011 5:32 am

    I live in Pittsburgh, PA. Here, the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation has an Ecology Art ‘Knit Trail Marker Project.’ Volunteers have knitted and crocheted trail markers to be placed around tree trunks to designate miles of new trails.

  4. ikkinlala permalink
    27 May 2011 10:13 am

    I saw some knitted wired sculptures at an art gallery once. Unfortunately that was before I’d started knitting, so I didn’t pay a lot of attention.

  5. Su1282 permalink
    27 May 2011 11:50 am

    Yay – VisArts; we love that place! I really appreciate how they work so hard to be a community art center. And my children have the best time at summer camp there.

    • Kathleen permalink*
      27 May 2011 11:52 am

      It was the first time I’d been there, and I was mightily impressed! The studios are lovely, and the galleries are so open and spacious.

  6. robin permalink
    27 May 2011 6:51 pm

    A Peasant Girl Knitting by Jules Breton – this is just one painting showing women knitting – plus there are the “knitting madonnas” –
    thanks for the chance to win some more yarn!

  7. Krystal permalink
    30 May 2011 8:16 pm

    My favorite is Jozef Israëls’s “Three Women Knitting by the Sea.” I like how often knitting in painting is portrayed outside 🙂

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