Artist Jo Hamilton’s show opened today at the Cannon Beach Gallery on the Oregon coast. She explains in her artist statement, “I use a traditional basic crochet technique taught to me at an early age by my Gran. I work one knot at a time, from the inside out, row by row. I always begin my larger than life crochet portraits in the middle with the eyes and work out from there until the piece is completed. I work directly from photographs, using no sketches, graphs or computer imaging. Nothing is planned ahead; I make it up so as I go along I spend a lot of time simply looking, unraveling, and reworking until I get it right.”
She moved to Portland, Oregon from Scotland in the mid-1990s after graduating from Glasgow School of Art with an emphasis on drawing and painting. A few years after moving to the US, she began experimenting with crochet as an art, and in 2006 began a large-scale cityscape of Portland, which was my introduction to her work. I loved the way she captured the distinctive look of our city’s bridges and buildings. And that she did it in crochet, brought back memories of my mother teaching me at the age of four, which began my love affair with fiber and craft.
Here’s the Cannon Beach Gallery which shares space with the Bald Eagle Coffee House. We walk there every day we’re in Cannon Beach to buy my partner Mike a coffee and blueberry muffin and me a chocolate chip cookie. The owner Tom makes homemade soup every day and fresh bread to accompany it. I highly recommend his place. Directly across the street is the Center Diamond quilt shop.
Here are Jo’s amazing pieces, some larger than life-size as you can see in the last image, which stretches floor to ceiling.