I lived for 1 year in Winterville, Georgia in a beautiful house at the end of a dead-end road with a bunch of chickens, a whole lot of quiet, and one of my favorite red-heads, Brian Hitselberger. The house is owned by my very generous cousin Jacqueline, who rented it to me for a very fair fee and visited often to hang out and do awesome construction projects!
The house was still populated by some of her belongings when I lived there, including a rag rug her sister, Holly, made using their old clothing. Jacqueline would point to the rug and remember particular clothing items she loved from many years before–and there they still were, living now as threads in a rug. I loved this concept.
Every morning when I awoke to the 8 roosters crowing (beware when ordering fancy chickens, by the way. The eggs don’t always get sexed correctly and sometimes you end up with a whole gang of roosters!), I’d plop my feet down on that rag rug to start my day.
When I was getting ready to move to Baton Rouge at the end of a year to start graduate school at Louisiana State, there were some last minute changes in my moving plans. I ended up staying a few days in the completely-packed up house with nothing to entertain me but a bunch of old white material I’d collected from the t shirt shop where I worked to raise money for graduate school, scissors, a kitschy book on “learning to crochet” from Hobby Lobby, and a packet of crochet hooks.
My first rug looked something like a sad sombrero, but it lived in my kitchens all through graduate school, and it planted a seed within me. Crochet was a good way to relax. And use up old stuff–old clothes, old prints, etc–all the stuff in my life that I have stained, ripped, misprinted and gotten too fat for. It’s like therapy for all of my bad decisions! And a lovely design of good memories, as well.
During my thesis year, crochet became my way to relax at the end of a long day of school, work, teaching, and art-making. I created a suite of eight 4′ x 8′ woodcuts printed on fabric for my thesis. Each evening as I sat down for a midnight dinner with Blake when he returned home and wound down from his kitchen job, we would watch movies rented from the library, and I would crochet my printing scraps, old clothes, and donated clothes from my friends into what I began to call “foot prints.” I made a series of these that I exhibited at my thesis show, and we even got married on top of one that my professor Leslie later purchased from me.
Over the past few years, I have started expanding from the traditional round and oval forms into free-form shapes that emulate the forms of doppler radar projection maps, oil spills, hypoxic zones, and other disasters and pollutants.
Foot Print for Will & Sarah Roche
At first, I just gave them to friends and family and used them as one aspect of larger installation pieces I’ve been making with Blake. Now, I have received several commissions for custom pieces. I even list them in our Etsy store now! In the evenings as we watch our movies from the library (lately, we’ve been viewing Season 1 of Veronica Mars,) I turn old clothes and bedsheets and fabric scraps donated by Grandma Shirley, Harriet Wallace, May Babcock, and others into “yarn balls.” Throughout the day, I take “crochet breaks” and put a few lines into my pieces.
I’m currently working on a a new “foot print” plume for an exhibition at the Arts Alliance in Macon, Georgia since my other recent constructions are already in exhibitions this summer. I have a couple of other “foot prints” in progress, but they are in experimental formats, so I wanted to make a plume one, as well.
New Foot Print plume piece started a day ago with fabrics collected on our Iowa trip from Grandma Shirley.
One of the experimental format crochet pieces in progress. I’m thinking about hypoxic zones in the Gulf of Mexico with this one.
If any of y’all are thinking, “Man, I need one of those!,” please let me know! They work for wall or floor and are machine washable. I’m happy to take commissions and could use the work! I can create any size starting from about 2′ x 4′ at a very reasonable $15/per square foot. Just shoot me an email at hannah.march.sandersATgmailDOTcom or check out the listings in our Etsy shop! You can also see more of these pieces, including a huge one that I made for a trade with artist Brad Wreyford, under the “Foot Print” header on my Artwork Archives Page.