Installation view of Althea Crome’s “King and Queen of Hearts Coronation Sweater,” 2015. On view in “Pocket Museum” at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft through March 18, 2017. Photo by Scott Cartwright.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) is participating in #5womenartists, a national campaign led by The National Museum of Women in the Arts to share information about women artists. Check out other entries on our blog.
This week, HCCC Curatorial Fellow Sarah Darro asked Althea Crome a few questions about the processes and inspiration behind her work. Althea is featured in Pocket Museum, which is on view in HCCC’s Artist Hall through March 18, 2017.
Sarah Darro: A number of your pieces incorporate figurative subjects and narrative elements from the art historical canon, ranging from ancient Greek amphora to Picasso paintings. You have also collaborated on projects in which characters wear your designs: the 2009 stop-motion film, Coraline, for instance. How does narrative function in your work?
Althea Crome: Storytelling started with my four children who, as they were growing up, begged me to tell them tales. It has evolved over time into storytelling in my artwork. All of my pictorial knitting tells a story—either through a single piece or through a series of work. Some of my pieces have an autobiographical theme, like my Scuba Cardigan, which I created during a time in my life when I was my most heartbroken and found it difficult to knit. I was newly divorced and looking for ways to find meaning in my life, so I took up scuba diving. The sweater tells a story of one wonderful day of scuba diving, when we were followed out to sea by dolphins, saw a rainbow and a water spout, swam with sharks and sea turtles, and I even lost and later found my weight belt in a coral reef. I used techniques on the collar and borders to create the illusion of water and sea life. The creation of this particular piece paid homage to the things in my life that helped save my spirit and, in the process, re-energized my desire to knit. Continue Reading »