fiber & installation artist
Born in the Phillipines in 1983, Bea Camacho explored visual and environmental studies at Harvard University. In her junior year at Harvard, Bea taught herself to crochet from internet videos, out of a desire to have a way to cover objects of meaning with warm, hand-made cloth.
These crochet pieces grew into performance art installations. In 2005, Bea performed an 11 hour piece in her studio in which she crocheted herself into a red woolen coocoon. She later recreated the piece in public spaces, furthering the sense of isolation and need for shelter which she says grew out of her own experiences of leaving home and family at the age of 11.
“Along with themes of separation and isolation, [my work addresses] ideas of home and belonging. To me, crochet is associated with home, warmth and security. However, this notion formed quite outside my own experience. I did not grow up with mothers or grandmothers who crocheted or knitted. For me, the crocheting refers to a somewhat idealized version of home. I hope that in my work it speaks to ideas of comfort and discomfort, familiarity and alienation.”
Links for Further Exploration
- VIDEO: Crochet Cocoon installation
- Boston Magazine Profile: “Artist Will Knit Herself into a Cocooon at ICA” (of course she actually crocheted!)
- Reflections from Artist on 11 Hour Enclose Performance Art Piece
Bea Camacho’s project and the story behind it reminds me of some other fiber-related projects
- WomanHouse and the Womb Room (which we briefly shared in Day 5 (Faith Wilding). Here female artists in the early 70s were creating safe space while also speaking to ways they did not feel safe or “welcome” as their full selves.
- Bea speaks of experiencing isolation. The Welcome Blanket Project invites people to craft blankets, symbol of welcome, warmth, and home that are then gifted to immigrants to the US
- Bea’s thorough documentation of her project reminded me also of Olek (spoilers: you’ll learn about them in the next artist group) but also just generally of Ravelry and its invitation to document our making process so that others may learn from it.
Invitation to Creativity
Bea’s focus on exploring home and belonging arose from her own experiences of disconnectedness. Feelings of isolation can be pretty common all year round, but especially in these darker winter months.
In the spirit of Little Free Libraries, create an object (or objects) with a welcoming message of love or acceptance and leave it/them somewhere in the world for someone else to find and take. Your creation could be messages written on rocks or little crocheted or knitted objects with attached messages. Some ideas of different kinds of Welcoming creations you can make:
- Yarnified Love Bombs
- The Kindness Rocks project (lots of ideas)
- Craftivist Collective projects which include some “make it, take its”
Take pictures of your creation in its installed location and share on the blog.