On Crocheted Fannies
I was in town with my daughter. We were doing a lady’s-visit to the royal Castle to see the Queen’s dresses. After thus having been highly cultivated, we continued to a lady’s café to have coffee and tart. The lady’s café also purchased assorted riffraff, you see in lady’s magazines, including the at that time very popular crocheted muffins.
Crocheted muffins. Can you in any way perceive anything less usefull?
A muffin is not just a cake. It is a Cake-cake. A special cared for-cake, that can be given an individual look, which expresses the fantasy of the creator. Muffins is used to show that you are creative and are able to invent fantastical compositions of tastes, which matched with a visual expression becomes a unity, both enjoyable by eyes and mouth. At the same time muffins contains their own serving, so you can control your intake of calories. You can even make one for yourself, without the topping, if need be, but in general it is all right to have just one. Muffins are well suited to demonstrate surplus. The mother, who can produce 24 perfectly composed muffins with glazing and hats and feathers can do THAT at least. Serious business, revealed by the meters and meters of shelves with tools, materials and books for the trade. There are a lot of useful things to say about muffins. But crocheted muffins?
It is easy to crochet. Much easier than knitting. A quite small child can learn to crochet no problem. You cannot say that about knitting. To crochet larger things takes time, but it is possible to crochet a small item in a few hours, even as a beginner. Crocheting has never, as knitting, been mechanized or industrialized. Perhaps that is the reason, crocheting as a technique has kept its connotation of something homemade in all its forms. Crocheting has never historically been a masculine affair. Again another difference from knitting, which before industrialization was performed by all, adults and children, woman and men. Crocheting has been made for practical purposes: clothing and potholders, but more often for fun: Toys for the kids, imitations of fine laces and other decorative nonsense. Crocheting in its basic form is so simple, that it soon invites to exploration of the technique. It is tempting to play with the loops: how many can you bundle together, how high can they be made, which pattern will a lot of the same create? When you crochet, it is easy to change shape. You do not necessarily need to plan ahead, before you begin. You can do testing as you go, and see if it works
Crocheting is a feminine fiddling: The variant of crocheting which emerged in the 19th century had a distinct feminine expression, with more or less refined and sophisticated replicas of lacing. Gloves, lampshades, cuffs, collars, bonnets etc. were crocheted galore. The more refined and intricate, the better. If you had time to work in daylight with that sort of thing, you were a woman of riches and people to work for you. You cannot possibly crochet laces with yarn like sewing thread, if you are more than one yard from a petrol lamp of good quality. Those works became handicraft of high quality, and here the most creative of women could direct their restless thoughts and produce superfluous useless garnishes
But a crocheted muffin?
Art is when a person expresses itself aesthetically in a way recognized as art by a critic. Art only indirectly inhabits utility. It can make environments beautiful, and thereby enforce productivity. It can create thoughts that may make life better to live. The creating of art is driven, not by utility, but by necessity. The artist explores the world and life in it through herself and a media, because it is hard not to. The crocheted muffin in the café is not art. Possibly it is designed by an artist. Possibly it is crocheted by an artist (one, that is, payed low enough to ensure someone else a profit on a resale prize as low as 12 dollars). But it has not been reviewed but a critic as art.
Women and art is a problematic constellation still. Even to be recognized as an artist is still proven difficult for women. The challenge lies in the fact that both the theme explored and the technique of the media must be considered “art”. The critics must find both relevant and rewarding in Understanding the World. When women relates to their world, it is only regarded as art with difficulty, because we are too used to view the world through the masculine eyes. When the media happens to be a traditional needlework technique, it is only with difficulty regarded as art, because we expect the created to contain a clear utility. If not that, then it must be just garnishing, with is definitely not art.
Luckily, the world moves, and more and more artists explores the creative potentials of textile techniques, like women in still higher degrees are considered and recognized as artists. A crocheted muffin got me to crochet fannies in spiderweb-thin thread. Exceedingly unuseful. If it is art, I will to the critics to judge.
This book contains 12 easier and larger fannies, you can make or get inspiration from. Make your own, if you so wish. The needle is free!