Join Ramekon O'Arwisters and Spun Smoke for a celebratory Crochet Jam on Martin Luther King B-day weekend!! The following Satuarday at 3pm Ramekon will present Collaboration in the Arts, with a reception immediately following.
Crochet Jam – Saturday & Sunday, January 16 & 17 beginning at 11am to 5pm. Everyone is welcome!
I can't imagine adding anything to the eloquent words of Ramekon O'Arwisters, so with his permission I share his statement.
When I was growing up in North Carolina, I helped my paternal grandmother, Celia Jones Taylor (1896–1982) make quilts. Quilt-making with her is one of my fondest childhood memories. With her, I was embraced, important, and special. I was a little black boy hiding my queer self from my family during the harsh reality of the Jim Crow South during the 1960s and before the turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement that spread throughout the country.
Social art practice, Crochet Jam, embodies tenderness. Crochet Jam is about bringing people together to participate in crocheting large free-form rag rugs in public, that is rooted in my cherished childhood memory. My grandmother let me add any color or pattern I wanted to her quilt. It didn't matter if the strip of fabric that I selected did not fit the color scheme or any particular standard quilt-making pattern, that wasn't important. Togetherness, sharing stories, and feelings while calmly quilting was important. There wasn’t any judgment, and she resisted trying to tell me which colors or patterns to add. Our quilting bees were calm, relaxing, and peaceful, just the type of atmosphere a confused little black queer boy needed when the world outside of my grandmother’s house was often negative, hostile, and unforgiving.
I decided to start a community art project that enabled groups of people to collectively work on a piece of art with a focus on relaxation and human connection, done in public with strangers. Crochet Jam is an activity that engenders compassion and warmth. I want participants to be in a creative mindset without anyone dictating the creative process nor worrying about the finished product. Crochet Jams is how I make liberation a form of art.
Ramekon O'Arwisters is the recipient of a 2014 Eureka Fellowship, awarded by the Fleishhacker Foundation, a 2002 Artadia Award, and the San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant in 2011. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including the Museum of the African Diaspora (MOAD), NADA Miami. Ramekon O'Arwisters is curator of photography and video at SFO Airport.