Arts

Jo Hamilton Crochets Works of Art

OPB | Oct. 11, 2012 7 a.m.

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slideshow

Here are a few snapshots from our visit to Jo Hamilton's studio.

“You know, every artist wants to find their thing that’s individual, their technique or their expression that’s the right thing for them,” says crochet artist Jo Hamilton.

Hamilton grew up in Scotland and attended art school in Glasgow hoping to find her muse as a painter. But she never really felt the same connection to paint and canvas as she did to making hats and crocheting gifts for her friends. It would take years of experimentation and a move across the Atlantic before she put the two together.

Hamilton settled in Portland in the mid-’90s and continued to paint while working in a restaurant. In her spare time, she biked around her adopted city, took pictures and visited museums. After a trip to the Museum of Contemporary Craft, Hamilton had an epiphany. She rushed home, found her crochet hook and began to create a painting from yarn. “It just really started as an experiment to see if I could describe a landscape using yarn. I’d never seen anyone else doing it.”

Go See It!

  • High Fiber Exhibit featuring Jo Hamilton’s work
  • Bellevue Arts Museum, October 2012 through February 2013
  • Visit website

That experiment turned into the huge landscape “Crochet Portland.” Finally, the artist had found her medium. “When I was drawing and painting I could kind of get close to the way I wanted things to look but it still wasn’t right. So I always had this feeling that at some point I was going to find my process.”

The success of her landscape encouraged Hamilton to crochet portraits of friends and coworkers. “I began to realize that really, I could pretty much crochet anything at all. No limitations. And I could get amazing likenesses, not just likeness of people but really capture people’s spirits in yarn in a way that even kind of now still amazes me. “

Watch a time-lapse movie of Jo Hamilton’s work coming to life:

Hamilton’s most recent works are two larger-than-life male nudes that will hang in the Bellevue Arts Museum October 2012 through February 2013.

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