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Yarn art an old woman's tale


It looks like a psychedelic spider web.

It's made of three cargo nets, hundreds of shoelaces, a bungee cord, string and yarn.

Artist Colby Brewer called it a three-dimensional drawing. His former teacher Sheila Pepe called it a type of feminist art strategy inspired by the New York school of abstract expressionism.

"You can tie knots and do as many as you want with as much string as you want," said 7-year-old Vance Larsgard.

Virginia Catherall, Utah Museum of Fine Arts curator of education, called it a massive piece of installation art to be created by everyone who comes to see it. Brewer, an art teacher at the Waterford School in Sandy, came up with the idea as a way to get people excited about art and to have a work in progress that anyone could add to however they choose. On Saturday, the museum opened its doors for free and provided tubs of scissors, yarn and string of all colors for the community to see and add to the sculpture.

"We got people having a great time in the museum," Catherall said.

Norah Johnston, 11, came with her family and decided to make a ball of yarn to add because she was inspired by the "undodgeable" dodge ball in the movie "Mr. Magorium's Magic Emporium."

Brewer studied sculpture at the Pratt Institute in New York where Pepe teaches. Pepe has experience participating in large-scale art projects where a professional gets it started and then anyone from the community can come and participate. When Brewer got her to come to the Waterford School as a guest teacher, he contacted the museum and organized the event. In one of the open galleries Brewer connected and hung cargo nets from the top of one wall to the bottom of an opposite wall. Pepe then crocheted shoelaces together and hung them over, under and through the nets to create a second "layer." The public then began hanging or stringing their pieces to and through the nets and web, creating a colorful third layer.

"This idea is about bringing people from different locations together to participate in an idea of collaboration, an idea of tying and connecting, and having points of connection," Brewer said.

String was chosen as the medium because Pepe's own art is almost completely crocheted. She uses yarn, shoelaces and large rubber bands in her work because she likes the idea of mixing and mirroring a domestic craft technique into a higher creation. Her large pieces mix domestic and industrial themes.

"It's taking bits and pieces of life and putting them together to say, 'This is how I see the world,"' she said.

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