From an entirely crocheted apartment that has been dismantled and reassembled in galleries across the world, to a sculpture that was crocheted underwater off the coast of Mexico, Olek’s iconic crocheted world is a charmingly beautiful and mentally stimulating depiction of her visions on life, her past lovers, experiences, thoughts and insights – we caught up with the master of the hook for a glimpse inside.
“A skein of yarn struck me in the head like magic dust from an undiscovered planet. I looked up at the stars and picked up a crochet hook.”
When and why were you drawn to the art of crochet?
When I started nobody could spell the word crochet, no one was doing it, people still confuse crocheting with knitting. Knitting is for pus*ies. Albert Einstein said “The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone, is likely to find himself in places no one else has been.” A longer story on how I started…
Olek in Wynwood Walls, by Martha Cooper
“Your pus*y is my soulmate.”
One of many text messages that I crocheted into panels that covered my entire apartment. One of the many times a romance has inspired my work. It was around 2006 when we were really starting to see the effects of the evolution of communication. Short messages, blips on your phone that you never see again, that you hardly even process. Write. Send. Read. Delete. Language was degraded and misunderstandings became rampant. This new form of expressing emotions is as private as it is ephemeral and I wanted to make these statements more permanent.
I transformed this cheap, easy form of expression into art for all to experience. A lover sent me a massage pronouncing his love for my little slice of heaven, not knowing that it would make it into a room that thousands of people would eventually see. That one panel also made it onto the invite for the show, which I sent to the Catholic school where I taught. They terminated my career as an art teacher two weeks after the show opened, and I have happily dedicated every moment of my life to art ever since.
Who are your influences? Where do you draw inspiration from?
Inspiration is like knitting – it’s for pus*ies. I put on lipstick, make sure my nail polish isn’t chipped and go to work.
What has been your most risky/ biggest guerrilla knitting stunt?
Scuba diving to crochet an underwater sculpture off the coast of Mexico in order to address the issues of our diminishing population of whale sharks and the demise of the global eco system.
Underwater adventure Collaboration by Olek and Pangeaseed
Where do you keep all your yarn!
I sleep on it. I’m like the Princess and the Pea, my mattress is a fluffy, colorful mound of uncrocheted art.