[Sharon Kagan] is using polyester tying ribbon, the type normally used to bundle newspapers, to knit an abstract 19th century-style ball gown that she will exhibit in May at a group show at LAAA / Gallery 825 in West Hollywood. The gown will incorporate knitted and crocheted elements as well as steel armature to give the whole work a voluminous bell shape. Last summer, Kagan, along with five other L.A.-area artists working under the direction of sculptor Tim Hawkinson, created a giant project called "Sweater" at Gallery 825. The team used beige spray foam, the kind used for insulation, to construct a series of 4-by-8-foot grids arranged to suggest the inside of a sweater magnified 10 times.
With new materials come entirely new methods of knitting. Japanese artist and designer Yoshiki Hishinuma has created machines that knit three-dimensional wearables from beginning to end without cutting the material, a process he likens to making a molded chair. "Casablanca," on view in "Radical Lace," is a woman's shawl created by one of his machines. The shawl sits about 3 feet wide and suggests the inside of a flower flattened out and magnified. To make it, Hishinuma loaded green, white and red yarn into the machine, then programmed the knitting pattern. From a slot at one end, the knitted garment gradually emerged row by row.
'BIG LEAD TEDDY BEAR': Artist [Dave Cole] knitted this out of industrial lead strips using custom-made steel knitting needles.; PHOTOGRAPHER: Museum of Arts & Design; 'BODY WARMERS FOR A POOR FAMILY': Erna van Sambeek's 2006 work uses knitted strips of newspapers.; PHOTOGRAPHER: Ilse Schrama Museum of Arts & Design; A DIFFERENT WAY OF LOOKING AT THINGS: "Artists who knit don't want to be defined as just craftsmen," says Los Angeles-based Sharon Kagan.; PHOTOGRAPHER: Francine Orr Los Angeles Times