Knitting the UMFA Landscape

Guest Blogger: Virginia Catherall, Curator of Education


How often do you go about your day without noticing the landscape around you? At the UMFA, we’re always surrounded by amazing landscapes from every century—but we have even more to offer this fall, thanks to two breathtaking new exhibitions.

The British Passion for Landscape: Masterpieces from National Museum Wales and Constructing the Utah Landscape, both currently on view, highlight the landscape and encourage visitors to reflect on their own surroundings.

Claude Monet, Charing Cross Bridge, 1902. Oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 32 in. National Museum Wales (NMW A 2483). Courtesy American Federation of Arts.

Claude Monet, Charing Cross Bridge, 1902. Oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 32 in. National Museum Wales (NMW A 2483). Courtesy American Federation of Arts.

This abundance of landscape artwork inside the UMFA has inspired several of our educators (who also happen to be knitting enthusiasts) to interact with the natural landscape located just outside the Museum’s doors.

And what better way to interact than by… yarn bombing?

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Yarn bombing, which began in Texas in 2005, is a type of street art that uses knitted or crocheted yarn or fiber instead of paint or chalk. But, unlike graffiti, yarn bombs are non-permanent and can be easily removed if necessary.

While other forms of street art may be political or territorial, yarn bombing is mostly about personalizing public places. Our landscape yarn bomb is a style called “stitched story,” where the pieces act as characters and work together to tell a story.

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As you’re walking around The University of Utah campus—whether on your way to class, work, or the Museum itself—take a look around. You might be lucky enough to find a small piece of knitted landscape. And the best part is that you can pick up the landscape and take it with you!

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After you’ve captured your piece of knitted landscape outside in the natural world, step into the UMFA and see landscape from a different angle: painted, photographed, and sculpted.

George Clausen, Apple Blossom, 1885. Oil on millboard, 9 13/16 x 8 15/16 in. National Museum Wales (NMW A 174). Courtesy American Federation of Arts.

George Clausen, Apple Blossom, 1885. Oil on millboard, 9 13/16 x 8 15/16 in. National Museum Wales (NMW A 174). Courtesy American Federation of Arts.

Enjoy stunning portrayals of Great Britain through the eyes of Monet, Turner, Constable, and others, and awe-inspiring Utah scenes depicted by iconic Utah artists like LeConte Stewart, Doug Snow, and Maynard Dixon.

The British Passion for Landscape: Masterpieces from National Museum Wales and Constructing the Utah Landscape are on view at the UMFA through December 13, 2015.

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(You can see a complete visual list of the knitted pieces of landscape that have been around the UMFA by searching #umfalandscape on Instagram and Twitter.)

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