Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Presented at “Textiles and Settlement: From the Plains Space to Cyber Space,” Textile Society of America 12th Biennial Symposium, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 6-9, 2010. Copyright 2010 Textile Society of America


Small hand-knitted little cozies appear in my local neighborhood; overgrown weeds in an urban community garden become a source for materials and inspiration.

These new approaches to textiles by emerging artists explore new aesthetics and explode relationships between process and material and ideas about the use for handmade objects. These artists question the use of galleries as exhibition venues, curators, and juries as judges, and commerce/consumerism around finished objects. Instead they use the street as exhibition space and blogs or flickr sites as venues to create local and global communities.

KnitGirl’s work consists of knitted patches attached to telephone poles, on fences and as a cover of my car antenna. She is part of an international yarn bombing movement where traditional knitting meets graffiti culture. She records all her actions and also the neighborhood on her flickr site.

Sharon Kallis works in an artist’s community garden collective, which is also outdoor gallery space, celebration, and play. She bridges on old sustainable practices of growing her own materials, but also uses weeds that overgrow things to build anything from fences to dresses.

I will look at work by these two young Vancouver artists: Robin aka. KnitGirl and Sharon Kallis, and describe their ideas and philosophies. Then I will present my own ideas about how this work fits into contemporary textile art practices and emerging ideas of ‘craftivism’. How do they develop or question certain textile traditions, other art practices and philosophies?