Yarn Theory Blog

Notes from a curator:
This week ( weds. in fact!) we have our “Opera Knit Cabaret” by Lisa Daehlin in the PS122 Theatre-
Time is just racing by….
I strongly suggest all who want to attend should RSVP- This event might prove to be very popular.
margaret oomen
At left we have an installation shot of Margaret Oomen’s delicate crochet -covered sea stones.sarah-marie
At right, Sarah-maire Belcastro’s lively knit topologies.
I am really looking forward to Lisa’s performance!
dy20and20ag20100_09111Notes from a curator:

After the show opened I was wiped out for a few days. It doesn’t seem like it should be strenuous, but there are so many details to keep track of when putting together a show!

All fears that despite all the effort from so many that no one would see it vanished the minute I stepped into the gallery at 5pm that saturday. The room was already full and more were pouring in. The opening was PACKED. It was the hottest day of the year and inside the gallery was a SAUNA!

This moved people outside for air, and this, along with the excitement created by Karen’s 9th street fence, brought even more people in, curious to see what was going on. It was thrilling but exhausting.I was a zombie for several days afterwards.

     We were trying to do a lot on a shoestring and a short amount of time. With this many artists that took a bundle of coordination. However, it all came together, the work was installed, the catalog done and edited and uploaded (get your own copy now!) the floors mopped, the DVD player working, etc. This was due largely to the group of talented and dedicated interns PS122 Gallery attracts. dt20100_09101

One of them, Gray, built a beautiful platform to show off Kate Fenker’s Dewdrop to incredible effect. Another, Joanna Tam, was tireless and infinitely carefully with helping me with wiring, stuffing and hanging Daina Taimina’s complex forms. This kind of display is tricky and really needs two people; I couldn’t have done it without her.Gray with the Kate Fenker's work 100_0921 She also took WONDERFUL (see catalog) last minute photos of Nancy Cohen’s piece, Miyuki Kawmuras’ crocheted shapes, and my installation, the Mysterium Cosmographicum Falsigraphia, which even then, was not quite finished!

A word about “curating” myself:

I made the piece I wanted to see when looking for work for this show. There was something I was interested in, something I was after, and I was frustrated not finding it. After a while it was obvious to me that this was because I should just make it myself- I had embarked on this exhibit largely because the subject was deeply interesting to me, and I was relating it to my own work from the get-go.

 So I did. It was a real experiment, in that there were lots of false starts, lots of odd looking wonky stuffed shapes that were just wrong. The real problem with including oneself is that my own project, a fairly complex and by-necessity last-minute installation, took second fiddle to the show as a whole. I could not really focus wholly on getting in “done” or solved the way I would with no other responsibilities.

I did get it figured out, and brought all of my elements to the gallery to assemble. I worked on it between installing the other artists work, on off times, in quiet moments.

Thus, by the real actual catalog deadline there were no photos of my piece!

What we ended up using are Joanna’s Pictures of it half way done, so that the illuminated knitted structure is visible, as is the back collage.

mysterium cosmographicum falsigraphia

mysterium cosmographicum falsigraphia

Here is the one photo I have of the finished piece, taken by Karen Eubel!
sarah-marie's book

sarah-marie's book

Yet More Notes of a curator:

One more day until the show opens-

we are in good shape, the exhibit looks wonderful, but there are still plenty of things to do.

First,  is to get Kate Fenker’s piece up on the floor pedestal we had made for it.

Second,  to make sure there are no technical problems getting the DVD player to show Amanda Gale’s video on an endless loop. I loathe working with monitors and programming these beasts, so am hoping we will have a skillful intern to rescue me…

One of the first things I thought of when I started curating this exhibit, was sarah-marie belcastro’s amazing knitting book- see a picture of it, above. I didn’t know her, and hadn’t contacted her immediately, because I wasn’t sure she’d actually be interested in a project like ours. I very tentatively looked at her website, and decided to give it a go because a) her work is GREAT, b) she knows everything and everyone in the world of mathematical knitting- it’s her bailiwick, so to speak, and c) I instantly liked her from reading her home page.

I am so glad I did- she was generous and involved from the first, and gave me really wonderful advice about who to look at, the various Mine-Fields attached to using terms I had no idea were so loaded, and specific in the science/math community. In other words, she helped me to navigate all of this, and all on top of the millions of other things she has going on. 

But that’s not all- her knitted tori, orientable and non-orientable surfaces-and the livley sketches that she sent with them- are a real center-piece of the exhibit. They are truly quirky, each possessing a real personality and attitude( yeah, I do mean that: that torus has an attitude….).

Which highlights really what’s been so exciting for me about doing this project. As an artist I spend lots of time working by myself  in my studio. Which is something I LOVE. However, to make Yarn Theory happen, and  blossom, I have had to reach out, approach people I’ve never met, look at their work, ask questions, learn, follow their suggestions which leads me to another new person, another new interaction…

It’s been like a highly esoteric scavenger hunt, and so much fun that I often forget about how much work it actually all is-



More Notes of a curator:

The Final studio visit I had was with crochet artist Emily Barletta in her studio in Williamsburg. Emily’s work is beautifully constructed crochetted objects and wall pieces, many of which have a strongly biological vibe. She favors meaty reds and pinks, and her work has a visceral presence that I really like. It’s crochet, and it is beautiful and well made, but not pretty or cute. 

This is no mean feat given that many over her pieces are small , In Emily's studio

often hand-sized sculptures.  We spend about 20 minutes looking ver her work and chatting about her process before I chose a wall hanging and two small works which play really well off of each other- they are a sort of visual yin and yang…..

I started actually INSTALLING the exhibit yesterday-

very exciting!

and only a few days more until we open!


———————————————————————————————————————————————Notes of a curator:

I’ve had a couple of studio visits last week, and wanted to share some of that with you.

The first was to Gail Rothschild, the only artist in Yarn Theory who neither knits nor crochets!

gail with a large-scale work

gail with a large-scale work

Gail is an accomplished rock climber, and draws intricate images of close ups of textiles which echo geological surfaces. They manage to be at once delicate and very physical. While I liked the work I saw on her website, seeing it in person was even more impressive. I had a REALLY difficult time choosing, but am totally excited about what we ended up agreeing upon.

I am looking forward to seeing how it interacts with the other work in the show, particularly Margaret Oomen’s. Margaret crochets delicate coverings for rounded sea stones. I think the contrasts and similarities( which are not entirely obvious) are going to work fantastically together.

with gail in the studio

with gail in the studio

we’ll just see, no?







more later,



Tworeally great events happening in conjunction with Yarn Theory:

On Sunday, April 26th from 11 -12:30 am, in the gallery we will be hoastinga children’s workshop with Daina Taimina!

Free and open  to ages 5 and up.
please rsvp with the gallery at 212.228.4249or email ps122gallery@verizon.net


Daina Taimina, a mathematics professor at the University of Latvia for 20 years andnow at Cornell University for the past 10 years, crochets objects to illustrate hyperbolic space. While looking for a creative way to teach her students about hyperbolic geometry, she came across a design for paper models by William Thurston for a surface with constant negative curvature. Daina translated the paper models into crocheted objects. She has crocheted many hyperbolic objects since 1997 andhas exhibited the works as art at both the Machine Project gallery in Los Angeles and the Eleven Eleven Sculpture Space in Washington, D.C.

This workshop will include an explanation by Dainaon visualizing hyperbolic geometry, how to find negative curvature in nature, as well as a hands-on learning session on creating your own hyperbolic plane. 


 and secondly, on

May 13, at 7:30 pm in the 2nd floor theater at PS122, we have, for one night only:

Lisa Daehlin in an OperaKnit Cabaret!

with yarn antics by Flash Rosenberg
and piano accompaniment by Louis Menendez

Doors open at 7:00. This event is free (suggested donation $5)

Reservations greatly appreciated.


Please contact PS122 Gallery either by telephone: 212.228.4249

or email ps122gallery@verizon.net for more information about either event,

or see our”events” page on this site!


About artist Robyn Love’s  hallway space project “The Knitted Mile “:

The Knitted Mile is a project that was created as a site-specific project as part of an exhibition titled Gestures of Resistance: Art, Craft and the Politics of Slowness in Dallas, TX, in the spring of 2008.  Withthe assistance of 90 knitters from around North America, Robyn Love, knit a 4-inch wide yellow stripe that mimics a typical road stripe.  The goal was to knit a mile of road stripe.  Each of the knitters had a photograph taken of them knitting on the yellow stripe and included it with their completed piece of knitting.  Love stitched all the pieces of knitting together and the stripe was installed on a street in Dallas on the day of the exhibition opening.  After it stayed on the road for about an hour, it was picked up off the road and carried to the gallery where it was installed along with the photographs of the knitters.  In the end, the piece measured 2,000 ft. long.


Robyn Love’s The Knitted Mile will be shown in Ps 122 Gallery’s hallway space from April 25-May 17


At right:   some of the wonderful suppliesk100_0823_04

 generously donated by LION brand yarns!

A note from our Guerilla projects organizer Karen Eubel:

It’s difficult to try to write a history of guerrilla knitting and guerrilla crochet, because it means different things, but all the meanings hover around and describe the act of putting knitted and crocheted work out into the world to make a personal statement.

The guerrilla knitters, guerrilla crocheters, urban knitters, knitting graffitists, andartists involved with yarn bombing, counterfeit crochet and knittivism can not only describe what they do, but they have great views of their projects. Here are some interesting links:

And let’s don’t forget Worldwide Knit In Public Day, June 13, 2009!







 some pix of Karen’s guerilla project on PS122’s exterior!


Notes from a curator:

Working to make Yarn Theory come together as an exhibit, I have spent the last two months corresponding with the various artists, choosing work, trying to figure out whose work will go where in the gallery.

This weekend I have two studio visits to make final selections in person of some of the pieces for Yarn Theory. We install the week before the opening, So I still have time to talk things over with the participants. I have just been to see Gail Rothschild, and this afternoon am heading off to see Emily Barletta’s Brooklyn studio, and check out her most recent work.

Photos, and more about these visits will be posted here shortly!

Studio visits are one of the really fun aspects of curating.  Another is getting to know some of the many wonderful artists out there in the world- looking through registries, talking to people, searching and finding so much talent.

Yarn Theory is a bit of a special  exhibit, in that it brings together people who are professional artists with others who may not normally consider themselves “artists” at all: mathematicians, scientists and people who started to work with yarn as a  craft or hobby, only to see it mushroom into something more ambitious.

This makes for a really interesting mix of viewpoints, attitudes and expectations. We are delighted to have the group that we have gathered for this show, and even better, much of what will be in the exhibition has never been shown anywhere before: much of it is being made specifically for us!

A real highlight for me is that we have Daina Taimina on board.

Here is a wonderful photo of one of her earlier creations!

Daina Taimina's hyperbolic manifold and geese

Daina Taimina's hyperbolic manifold and geese


Dr. Taimina is currently adjunct associate professor of mathematics in Cornell University. She invented the use of crochet for making hyperbolic planes in a non-euclidean geometry class in 1997.  Since then has crocheted more than hundred more turning geometric models into stunning art pieces, andis now a legend in the knit/crochet world.

Her most recent book for the general public about exploring hyperbolic geometry through crochet  is- Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes,published by AK Peters , 2009.

I can’t adequitely describe how fun, varied and wonderful the forms are that she is putting into the exhibit- and, I also want you to see it for yourself-they really are impossible to photograph.

They twist, turn, fold in on themselves and develop quite distinct personalities- all while being “abstract” and “sculptural”!

My problem right now, which I am mulling over, is how best to display them. They need to be seen from both sides,  some require a bit of something to hold them upright, and I want good lighting….

That’s all for now- more soon!


Daina's newest book

Daina's newest book



  1. Found this link explaining the Hyperbolic Plane and how it found a connection to the Coral designs:

    • Yes Brad, I heard about this link. Thanks for posting. K

  2. Very cool stuff!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: