Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Knit & Crochet Museum?

Your humble former blogger has returned from the museum symposium in Madison, Wisconsin. There is much to report.

Karen Kendrick-Hands has done a wonderful job of shepherding the idea of starting a museum of knit and crochet. The gathering last weekend in Madison was a big step forward, as it was an opportunity for interested parties to meet. About fifty people attended, including one from Canada and one from the United Kingdom. We were able to share our hopes and concerns. We were able to hammer out a name and tag line: "The Center for Knit and Crochet: Preserving and promoting art, craft and scholarship." We were able to form a seven-member board whose immediate job is to write articles of incorporation and file for 501(c)(3) status. There will be much more discussion about the goals and scope of the museum. We will want to start small and grow sustainably. This means we will need to be patient. This also means the museum will probably start with activities other than outright collecting. We aren't yet sure when we will meet again, nor where nor how often. There is an enormous amount of planning work to be done behind the scenes. Yet we also have an incredible range of talent within our group -- museum people, academics, authors, teachers, and enthusiastic practitioners. I left the weekend with confidence that this is going to happen.

A huge thank you goes out to the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Yarn Group of TNNA. Together they provided logistical and financial support that went a long way towards not just making the symposium possible, but making it successful.

The Wisconsin Historical Society also staged a small exhibit of knit and crochet objects. It was exciting to see such work under glass in cases with museum labels. Some of the work was quite fine on tiny needles at a gauge most of us would consider masochistic. My apologies for the image quality -- no flash in low light under glass. Here are some of the items on display:
International Treasures
A very fine knit and beaded hat.
Crochet? Mittens in an unusual pattern.
A fancy bib(?) with unusual shaping.
There were other object including a pair of knitting needles that looked as if they had been whittled from tree branches. They were gently curved, perhaps due to the bend in the initial wood? And there was a long, narrow, fine sampler of lace. I'm not sure which was more impressive, the number of lace patterns or the border that had been worked separately and sewn on. I can't imagine finding the fortitude to slog away on perhaps 10 or 12 feet of fine gauge lace edging.