sense making stuffed toys, creating something band The White Stripes. Next, she plans to recreate
functional in an emotional way, something that has characters from the Star Wars movies of the 70s.
an artistic quality to it.” German artist Patricia Waller straddles the fence
Unlike Doherty, Hutchison didn’t study art in between kitsch and art with her crocheted creations
school. During a period of unemployment, her sis- that are better fit to sit in a gallery than to be tossed
ter taught her to knit. Once she got tired of making on a sofa. Citing Marcel DuChamp, René Magritte,
sweaters, she thought, “What if I knit a robot?” Jeffrey Koons, and Vincent van Gogh among her
Hutchison counts Disney concept artist Mary influences, Waller’s pieces include co-joined teddy
Blair among her influences. Blair was the concept bears, a shark clenching a human leg between its
artist for several Disney films, including Alice in teeth, and dentures soaking in a glass jar.
Wonderland, Cinderella, and Peter Pan, and was the To Waller, crocheting is a political statement. She
designer of the Disneyland attraction It’s a Small contends that wool is consistently neglected in the
World. Her colorful, quirky abstract work inspires art world and says, “Of course I take advantage of the
many stitched doll makers. image of ‘housewife art,’ so that, at first glance, my
Hutchison makes frequent pilgrimages to works appear innocent. On a closer look, however,
people will discover a sort of vicious irony. I am inter-
ested in transferring the material to another level.”
“We want to make stuff as Australian toy artist Jäke Henzler has also
become obsessed with making knitted dolls. Before
humans, and it makes sense picking up the needles, Henzler’s primary creative
outlet was digital imaging, but no longer. Henzler
making stuffed toys, creating confessed, “While I’m knitting one toy, I get an idea
for the next one and start it right after I’m finished.”
something functional in an Henzler’s pieces are both funny and thought-
provoking. A homage to the Van Eyke masterpiece
emotional way.” Arnolfini and His Bride features knitted versions of
Arnolfini, his bride, and the baby that Henzler imag-
ines the couple was expecting in the original portrait.
Japanese bookstores for amigurumi pattern books. The knitted baby is still attached to the bride by a
“They are doing the most innovative stuff,” she red wool umbilical cord. A set of eight knitted tam-
says, “and the patterns are visual, much simpler pons replete with strings and tiny faces is Henzler’s
than the way we write them. You don’t need to comment on feminine product advertising. Vicki Vom
know Japanese. There are new pattern books Vom is a red doll vomiting brown yarn with green
every week.” flecks. Celine, yet another creation, holds the heart
Hannah Simpson, a British pub worker in Oxford, that has been ripped out of her chest, in her hands.
England, gets 10,000 hits a week on the Flickr page Lately, Henzler has changed his approach,
displaying her knitted Dawn of the Dead dolls. A complaining, “I’m tired of the creepy thing for
novice, Simpson started knitting dolls a little over now.” Instead, he has decided to go for straight-up
a year ago. Obsessed with George Romero’s 1978 cute. Among his latest creations are Trevor the
Dawn of the Dead, to the point where Simpson Effeminate Koala and a one-eyed polar bear
owns four copies of the horror flick and has seen it named Sasha.
at least 50 times, the zombies were her first stab Cute. But kinda creepy. ×
at doll making. Why the love affair with Dawn of the
Dead Simpson calmly explains, “They’re us, we’re To crochet your own amigurumi robot,
them,” referring to the film’s underlying message of see page 123.
consumerism, conformity, and primal fear.
Once Simpson began knitting dolls, she couldn’t
stop. In a constant rush to make more, she knits on
Mary Belton is a freelance television producer. She lives in
her day shift at the pub and brings her wool every- Los Angeles and spends her free time seeking out the odd
where she goes. Her latest project is knitting the and fantastic.