Creation and Contemplation in “Yarn”

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Cirkus Cirkör performance in YARNYarn is a beautiful meditation displaying the creativity and flexibility of knitters and crocheters, following four artists in different parts of the world. Artists and craftspeople will appreciate the quality of the work shown and the number of ways that knitting and crocheting are put to use. The work ranges from small squares and stars of protests to full-scale playgrounds and large coverings for train engines and cars. It is a pleasure to watch the artists at work and to see their creations take shape. The movie gives them a chance to speak of their work in terms of its meaning and of the technical level of its craft.

At the same time, Yarn is not without its frustrations. The movie opens with an unnamed narrator speaking poetically about sheep. I wanted to know who she was and what she was—reciting? Reading? Was the work written for the movie or from another piece? In between the interviews with the artists, the same narrator, still unnamed, continues to speak. It is not until the end credits that Barbara Kingsolver and her work are named. The identification of artists is uneven; sometimes, they are named early on, sometimes not until two or three segments later. The identification is always in print rather than speech, and while the yarn font is clever, it can be hard to read.

Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam's play structure from YARN

One of Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam’s play structures

This does not keep the different work presented from being impressive: I am in awe of Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam’s work for Net Play Works. She and her helpers crochet entire functioning playgrounds unlike anything else out there. The Cirkus Cirkör performances are thoughtful and beautiful. Olek’s art is impressive, and Tinna þórudóttir þorvaldsdóttir’s protest work varied and worldwide.

Knitters and crocheters will enjoy this film, and crafters of all sorts are likely to enjoy it. Others might find it somewhat slow-moving, though the quality of workmanship shown in Yarn makes it worth viewing.

The trailer for Yarn

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