Friday, April 24, 2009

Tying knots and the burger as art.

I can't believe that this is the way my brain works.

My cousin owns and operates this fantastic burger joint. The Litty Bitty Burger Barn. Check it out if you're in Houston - really. This isn't just a case of familia shilling for the blood. Place has crazy mad good reviews from all media.

Anyway, commercial aside, this past Christmas I was inserting the little crochet motif/ ornament that I put in my outgoing X-mas cards and when I got to the one earmarked for them (not him and the burgers - him and his partner) I realized that they must have a logo that I could play with. Always on the edge of being bored = always looking for a new challenge. I checked the site and stole acquired a copy of the logo.

Hell. Easy peasy. So I thought.

It was already too late to finish one for Christmas (yeah yeah yeah last minute as usual - do you mind? - I'm telling a story here!) but maybe New Year's Day?

Well turns out crocheting decent looking siding with a star-accommodating hole in the middle of it takes me forever. Got it done though and in time for Jan 1st thank you very much (yes,of this year!)

Of course, I probably should neglect to mention that I only just sent it to them right before Easter but who am I trying to impress by hiding my flaws?

Anyway again, I like the way it turned out, modest woman that I am, and didn't even notice it was crooked until I looked at the picture just now. Got so tired of trying to make the cursive slipstitch embroidery legible that I put the thing in an envelope as soon as it was finished all those months ago and never looked at it again. That is until Easter snuck up on me and a surprise Auntie visit reminded me.

Still constantly lingering on the edge of the abyss that is boredom and still desiring a challenge-ette or two, I thought maybe I'd try making a 3D one. Just the idea of stuffing a little burger into a little barn makes my problem solving mental machinery start to grind its way back to life.

No. Haven't done it yet. It's on my list of fiction fantasy projects that someday I will do dagnabit! But it started me thinking about the burger as sculptural fiber art.

Ed Bing Lee is a fiber artist that uses a modified macrame technique to make the most amazing art. His super-sized burger was the piece that introduced me to his work and style:

From, ahem, unofficially.

Fantastic ain't it? The topic, the mastery of technique, the colors - love it all. After enjoying its aesthetic and the warm creative place it has landed in my heart I noticed that this burger is art with the capital letters in the curly font. Craft art, fiber art depending on which of the seminal industry magazines you peruse, but art nonetheless.

Yet if you spend any time on line looking up crocheted items, you see the ubiquitous crocheted-burger-as-toy. Not art, but crafty toy. That's craft - with the small be-thou-ashamed-to-say-elsewise lower case letters in puny subservient font. You know, craft as dirty word. Don't necessarily know why, so I looked online for some examples I could pilfer (gotta love the google) for a compare and contrast.

Uhm. Okay. I get some of the lack of love. There are some fairly un-burger looking crocheted burgers out there. (But then again, there are also a lot of un-news posts out there too - un-news in the sense that they are not even remotely true.) I'm not going to steal and paste any example photos of the Nessie burgers - freedom of speech, self-esteem, sharing - all good things, Martha. But there are some really well done crocheted items for view that I am going to talk about.

Big burger of technical delight:

Photo lifted from Steph
(cyber-neighbor of complete stranger variety)

the teeny tiny burger of awesomeness:

and the art to wear burger of mind-blowing-dom:

What is the difference, art v. craft wise?

Is it the genre?

Sculpture beats art garment and firm beats soft sculpture?

The time commitment?

Tying a bazillion knots in waxed linen thread by hand certainly takes an excruciatingly longer amount of time than tying knots in yarn with a crochet hook.


Waxed linen thread has a sleek firm texture with a gently reflective quality. Yarn (even the industrial acrylics that are so very affordable) has a matte surface that imparts a fuzzy tactile squishiness on the finished objects.


Knots are knots, but more (lots more) does equal harder.

Name? Gallery representation? Publications? Personal aesthetic? Intention? Commentary? Social impact?


But when the day ends and I lay snuggly in my bed, it doesn't matter what the world calls my work or my art genre. As long as I can close my eyes and dream dreams of juggling knots on a hook, I know I'll have spent another day actually alive. That is more than enough to keep me going. Uncharacteristically, there is nothing more I have to say on the subject.

Hook on!