The Materialistics: Making material art in a material world
December 26, 2012 2:40 PM   Subscribe

In 2011 a group of 40 women known as The Materialistics exhibited a collection of their art work called "The Grand Tour" at the Customs House in South Shields, England. "The Grand Tour" comprised 50 pieces of art work and it took The Materialistics a year to create them. What made this collection remarkable was the medium used to create these art works: they were not painted or sculpted, but knitted, crocheted, and embroidered. Through needlework, The Materialistics had recreated 50 well-known works of art in painstaking detail: Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe, Edvard Munch's The Scream, Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers, Pablo Picasso's Woman in Garden, Rembrandt's self-portrait, Dante Gabriel's Rosetti's Daydream, Gustav Klimt's The Kiss, and many more.

"The Grand Tour", which travelled to various venues in England for exhibition, was not the first nor the last of The Materialistics' exhibitions. Their first two were "A Coat for a Boat" in 2009 (which involved an actual boat covered in knitting) and "Victorian Christmas" (a full scale room including window, Christmas tree, and Santa by a fireplace all in victorian style) in 2010, and in 2012 their exhibition was a recreation of fairy tale characters and scenes entitled Once Upon a Time. Their current project, which is a work in progress, is called Home Sweet Home.

There's everything to love about The Materialistics and their work, but my favourite thing about The Grand Tour project is that no one who sees it can ever deny that needlework is as much, and as variable, an artistic medium as paint or clay or metal.
posted by orange swan (12 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
That's just amazing! Especially the Picasso one. The knitted version of Hokusai's "The Great Wave" would make an awesome tapestry, except the artist inverted the colours of the clouds for some reason.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:56 PM on December 26, 2012

The Calder is pretty nice.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:00 PM on December 26, 2012

since knitting is already done via patterns on a grid, couldn't someone do knit photorealism?
posted by idiopath at 4:00 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yes! Someone knit a Chuck Close. The pattern is right there.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:23 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Someone quilted a Chuck Close-style portrait of herself, but as a knitter, the thought of that much color switching makes me want to sob a little.
posted by at 4:37 PM on December 26, 2012 [6 favorites]

Wow. So impressive.

I've started cross-stitching this, but I don't kid myself that I'll actually finish it. Plus, everything is already charted for me.
posted by naturesgreatestmiracle at 4:50 PM on December 26, 2012

This is one of the reasons I switched my major from drawing to fibre (and also to avoid a crazy teacher). Textiles have so much potential and continue to delight and amaze people as art objects.
posted by Calzephyr at 5:39 PM on December 26, 2012

Surely Dante Gabriel Rosetti's Daydream?
posted by kenko at 11:35 PM on December 26, 2012

Chuck Close already makes tapestries.
posted by newmoistness at 6:00 AM on December 27, 2012

I have been inspired by Klimt's The Kiss for years and I have longingly thought of translating the geometric aspects of the robe enclosing them into a quilt. This really inspires me.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:06 AM on December 27, 2012

I hope this is relevant here but one of the most wonderful things I've seen recently is the Victorian Bayeux tapestry.

In 1885, a group of women in a local embroidery society set out to make a duplicate of the Bayeux tapestry to the same scale. It took them a year to do it. Its great if you can't make it to see the original especially since this one has the same dimensions and due to its relative newness is clearer.

It's housed in the Reading museum. It's right next to the rail station so if you have a stopover say from London on your way to Stonehenge or Bath, its definitely worth a look!
posted by vacapinta at 8:23 AM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, wow. Most of of those were pretty good but a few of those show mad skill and talent!
posted by _paegan_ at 4:04 AM on December 29, 2012

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