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Loops

Reykjavik hosts an exhibit celebrating the international knit art movement

by Karen Day in Culture on 22 June 2010

Photos by James Ryang

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With terms like yarn bombing, knit art, guerrilla knitting and knitting graffiti defining the alternative knitting scene, the casual observer might mistake the movement as nothing more than a passing offshoot of the craft's resurgence in recent years. But, as we discovered last week when checking out the opening of Loops, a colorful exhibition currently on view at Reykjavik's Nordic House, the emerging art form is slowly gaining real momentum through DIY books, blogs and yarn-focused festivals.

Iceland, with its required courses in knitting for every school kid, makes the perfect platform for a knit art exhibition—but Loops isn't simply a display of Nordic knitwear. Featuring established and up-and-coming artists alike, Loops shows off the surprising side of yarn.

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One of our favorites (previously featured on Cool Hunting for their conceptual wool blankets), the five-person design collective Vík Prjónsdóttir showcased their original forage into mythical folklore—a snuggie-like blanket that pays homage to the seal pelt. Designer Brynhildur Pálsdóttir explained to CH they aimed to create objects they would like to have at home, while connecting it with the small village and factory that gave them their initial grant to pursue such abstract ideas.

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Sarah Applebaum, already widely known for her knit constructions, presented "Metablanket," a large-scale wall hanging that combines remnants of forgotten projects or unfinished pieces begun by people since deceased. Her wildly colorful knit mural explodes off the wall, with 3D pieces bulging out of the eye-popping patterns. (see more in the gallery below.)

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An amusing collection of crocheted dead bugs by Berlin-based artist Patricia Waller lines one wall of the gallery space, each with clever fictional backstories provided by an array of various local artists. For example, Icelandic photographer Jói Kjartans collaborated with graphic designer Hildur Hermanns on bringing two of the insects to life, photographing the TuttiFrutti bug in a grocery store (before being chased out). According to their lore, its scientific name is technically tuttimus fruttimus and it feeds on fruits and kids, reproducing by the female leaving eggs in fruit, which the male then has sex with. (Pictured above right.)

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See much more of the woven creativity from the exhibition in the gallery below, including beer koozies from the renegade Swedish street knitting team Masquerade (above), and a massive interactive installation from Danish textile designer Isabel Berglund.

Loops runs through 4 July 2010 at the Alvar Aalto-designed Nordic House.

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