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THE BOOK THAT TAUGHT ME THAT I AM A FIBER ARTIST

In 2013, I got the book KnitKnit: Projects and Profiles from Knitting’s New Wave Sabrina Gschwandtner from a friend. I was starting to teach knitting, and we had a collective of fiber artists yarn bombing around São Paulo.


I never thought I was creative, I always saw myself as the technical and problem-solving part of the group. Mostly, we would think of a concept and work crochet and knit elements around that idea.


A lot of us have an image of artists as immaculate beings who sit in front of a white canvas and dream of new worlds. I certainly believed that. I also never believed knitting could be applied to the arts. That’s where the book showed me a new story.


In a collection of works from artists, the book profiles the artists and their work and ends with a project for the reader. From oversized coats to miniature knits for earrings and open works to knit fast dresses, the artists seem to have a broad knowledge of knitting, understanding how their conceptual work can be translated into wearable garments.


The book made me a fan of Liz Collins, a knitting artist and curator from NY who set up an installation with knitting machines to start a discussion over the excesses of the fashion industry. In ten years, it seems like we haven’t learned enough.


At that time - 2013 - many crochet and weaving artists were rising or already settled, like Agatha Olek, Sheila Hicks (well, Sheila is old school, still she was rising), Magda Sayeg, Carol Hummel, among others.


Even though crochet comes very easily to me, knitting has always been my deal. The book encouraged me to believe that, at some point, I'd find my creative soul and face a white canvas with a dream to make come true.


And so it happened in 2015 when Flavia Lhacer invited me to be part of the exhibition she was curating, Fio (which means thread in Portuguese), and I decided to incorporate one of the best sentences I had learned from Bauhaus fiber artists, “hand, head, heart,” into knitting sculptures.


CabeçaMãoCoração by Cris Bertoluci

I wanted to show how my veins are made of yarn, and the blood that flows into my heart turns my entire being into stitches. Understanding that what I did was art came from external validation — my two pieces were sold at the opening.


Da Mão ao Coração by Cris Bertoluci

Since then, most of my thoughts on fiber and textile art and how it's not taught in art schools — at least here in Brazil — come from an extensive study of artists and writers on the subject. Even though sometimes I feel the urge to make something — turning my WIP basket into a black hole of unfinished hearts and hands — I feel that teaching, organizing events, and making garments are a daily work of art.

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