Let’s face it, Squirrel Picnic is more cute than creepy. You won’t ever see an impaled fatimal or a squirrel skeleton. It just doesn’t happen here, but that doesn’t stop us from appreciating the macabre, especially around Halloween. So I thought I’d take advantage of the approaching holiday to explore the darker side of the fiber arts and gather what I consider to be some of the creepiest, most disturbing crochet on the web.
In addition to having the guts to bring some pretty amazing (and yucky) things to life in crochet, these artists are also exceptionally talented. What I find most interesting is that whether they are crocheting bacteria, skeletons, or dismembered limbs, each of these artists explores some of life’s most disturbing aspects through an art form that is essentially soft and comforting. Through its cuddly nature, crochet provides a unique opportunity to reexamine and explore some of the more uncomfortable aspects of life such as the human body, violence, and mortality. I found myself wanting to dip my hand into the skeleton’s crocheted intestines, slip on a pair of bacteria-inspired gloves, and pet the impaled stuffed animals. I can’t think of any other medium that can evoke that kind of reaction.
Check out the links below for more examples of crochet creepiness and let us know what you think of the evil-yet-cuddly creations. But beware… these crochet masterpieces aren’t for the faint of heart.
Shove Mink recreates horrific scenes from films like Sid and Nancy, Pulp Fiction, and The Exorcist. In fact, her “Exorcist Playset“ (featured above) is one of her most famous works. On her blog, Croshame, you’ll find other sinister and devilish characters from Gilly the Guillotine and Henri the Executioner to Carrie Bear. Check out her Antigurumi Gallery for more creepy cuddly fun.
Shanell Papp crocheted a replica of a human skeleton and vital organs for her exhibit titled “The Lab” in 2006. About the idea that yarn helps people relate to difficult subjects, Shanell offered these thoughts:
“I think an audience is more receptive to textiles/knitting/crochet since it seems more comfortable somehow. It is just easier to hold a textile heart and think about mortality in a sincere/thoughtful way than if you are holding a real heart or a plastic heart. It seems like a kinder way to talk about difficult things.”
I agree. Unlike other exhibits (I’m thinking of the “BODIES” exhibit that has been touring the country), Shanell’s skeleton welcomes us to reach out and touch all the different organs made from various yarns expertly chosen for their color and texture.
Patricia Waller’s work is both exquisitely crafted and beautifully demented. On her website, you’ll notice that her works are divided into categories such as Broken Heroes, which features beloved children’s characters in unthinkable situations and Happy Gardening, which depicts woodland creatures getting mutilated by gardening tools (poor squirrel!). Other works include crocheted prosthetics, Siamese twins, accidents, bad luck, animal experiments, and how to kill your first love. Hers is the best crocheted blood I have ever seen!
And if that wasn’t scary enough, check out these morbid gems…
Sonja Bäumel is the artist behind several textile projects inspired by what she found from studying the fiber qualities of bacteria growth. Her “crochet membrane” fashion design explores how bacteria on our skin could be used to create clothing.
For her BFA thesis project in 2011, Lauren Seiffert crocheted a full-scale human body complete with organs and then performed an autopsy. The video’s pretty amazing!
Casey Storm of TinyBully creates knit and crochet fingerless zombie gloves torn to reveal wounded flesh and a zombie hat with eyes that pop out of their sockets!
(It’s not crochet, but I had to sneak this in.) According to 9BYTZ.com, medical student Alana Noritake designed and knit this awesome brain hat, perhaps after being inspired by her anatomy textbooks.