A public garden & cultural center

Robyn Love

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House Study/Handmade
Glyndor Gallery | March 5-April 18, 2010

Over 40 hats were created by Wave Hill visitors as part of Robyn Love’s project, House Study/Handmade. Twice a week in January and February, Robyn opened her Winter Workspace studio to the public. Visitors were welcome to card, spin, and knit wool that Robyn dyed using natural materials. Over the course of six weeks, 50 skeins were created and given to visitors with the understanding that they would use the yarn to knit or felt a hat that would be exhibited here. A hat exchange between all the participants will happen on the last day of the exhibition.

Mother and daughter returning hats.

Mother and daughter returning hats.

Returning a striped hat.

Returning a striped hat.

House Study/Handmade was an excellent opportunity for visitors—master knitters and amateurs alike—to learn new skills, namely carding, spinning and knitting. Once visitors understood the collective mission and began to handle the fleece, they often would stay in Robyn’s studio for hours. Other visitors simply dropped in to pick up a skein (sometimes still wet from "setting the twist," part of the spinning process), but usually returned for more.

Skeins

Skeins

In fall 2009, Robyn demonstrated how to dye yarn and wool with indigo, tea, cabbage and black walnut in Wave Hill’s Armor Hall. During House Study/Handmade drop-in workshops, Robyn regularly brought fiber dyed with onion skins, banana skins, orange peels, tea, coffee, black walnut, indigo, cochineal, logwood, brazilwood, and tumeric for visitors to card, spin and knit.

Robyn dyeing yarn with indigo

Robyn dyeing yarn with indigo

Upon entering Robyn’s studio, visitors learned to card with the drum carder and hand carders, combing through the wool so that its fibers became softly aligned. They creatively mixed different colored fibers while carding. Robyn provided dyed merino, Bluefaced Leicester, recycled sari silk, corn fiber, and ramie.

Using the drum carder to comb fleece.

Using the drum carder to comb fleece.

Once carded, the wool could then be spun into yarn using the drop spindle and spinning wheel. Although a bit challenging at first, visitors quickly discovered a rhythm—sometimes spinning enough for an entire hat.

Visitors using drop spindle and spinning wheel.

Visitors using drop spindle and spinning wheel.

Father and daughter spinning.

Father and daughter spinning.

Robyn Love, artist

Robyn Love, artist

“When I started this project, I thought one of the key components would be the trust between me, as the maker of the yarn, and the knitters, who had no real obligation to return with a hat. But somehow that issue seems a small point, almost beside the point. The real point, as it turns out, is the experience of making the yarn together. Even the hats are beside the point. Everyone is enjoying seeing them come back, and some people are doing great things, but they are like little pieces of candy after a great meal. The meal, as it turns out, is being there together.”– Robyn Love

Robyn studied sculpture and Hindi independently in India, off and on from 1986 to 1993, and earned a BFA from Cooper Union, New York in 1988. Her recent projects have focused on knitting site-specific installations such asKnitting Sprawl (2009-10), a multimedia project underway across Canada; Spindle 7 (2009), a performance on #7 train, New York; and a solo show, Not Stained, Not Pure (2008) at Hope and Glory Gallery, Berlin, Germany. She has participated in group shows throughout the United States and Canada and is the recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Project Grant (Visual Arts) for Knitting Sprawl (2009-10), Queens Council on the Arts’ Individual Artist Award for Spindle 7 (2009), and the New York Foundation for the Arts’ Fellowship (Sculpture) in 2005. She divides her time between Queens, NY and Gillams, Newfoundland.

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts. 
 

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