Inspiring Crocheter Helle Jorgensen Shares Her Inspiration

comments (0) June 22nd, 2008     

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LindaPermann Linda Permann, contributor
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Helles crocheted seaweed branches are also made from recycled plastic bags.
Helle Jorgensen working on her crocheted Rubbish Vortex.
One of Helles crocheted pieces for the coral reef. This one is made from plastic bags.
Helles crocheted seaweed branches are also made from recycled plastic bags.

Helle's crocheted seaweed branches are also made from recycled plastic bags.

Photo: Courtesy of Helle Jorgensen

Today’s inspiring crocheter is none other than Helle Jorgensen, whom I first discovered through Flickr and her blog, Gooseflesh. Helle’s crochet work is completely amazing and unique. She makes wonderful colorful sea creatures and nature-inspired jewelry. She uses reclaimed materials in most of her work, such as plastic bags and old tapestry wool she’s gathered over the years—she sees her stash as part of her collection of the “overlooked and discarded.” I was able to ask her a few questions about her work just before the opening of the Crochet Coral Reef in New York, which I was lucky enough to visit (see my pics here).

Helle’s most recent project, The Rubbish Vortex, was on display from April 7–May 18 at the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center, New York City. The vortex was part of an exhibit of Crochet Reefs commissioned by the Institute for Figuring. Helle made the entire structure (which she’s pictured working on above) from reused plastic bags sent to her from all around the world. The vortex represents the large amount of trash gathering in the north Pacific Ocean, a contrast to the disappearing reefs, which were also crocheted for the display. The finished vortex measures 3 meters in length and 1.5 meters in diameter, and at the time I interviewed her, Helle was nervously tracking its international voyage.

Helle has been crocheting ever since she can remember, having learned the craft from her father’s mother. She spends about 40–50 hours a week either making yarn or crocheting. “I find crochet is a great sculptural technique which is adaptable to the use of a diverse range of media. I love the flexibility of being able to stop and start anywhere without the risk of the piece unraveling. I love the mathematical progressions as one works each row. It’s possible to make most shapes if you know how the stitches behave. This knowledge, of course, comes with lots of practice and experimentation. Crochet is also quite cathartic, akin to meditation. Each stitch is part of a long series, a bit like breathing in and out. Sometimes I feel as if my hands are doing a crochet dance without me consciously telling them what to do. I love the motion of the hands as they work together.”

She is inspired by the unusual in the everyday. “Collecting items that would normally be overlooked and turning them into something precious is very, very satisfying and fun. I love to make things that shift people’s thinking, even if only momentarily, out of the usual into a whimsical and funny place. The natural world is full of this and is an infinite source of the most bizarre and intriguing strangeness.”

When asked what was next, Helle revealed that she has “big plans” (literally!) for her next projects, which will also use yarn made from discarded things. “I want to play around with it could mean much larger pieces. It will involve patterns found in the natural world, e.g. branching, Fibonacci sequences, etc.” Follow along on her blog to see what she comes up with next.

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