Artist: Willa Vennema  
  Statement: I paint in series format, exploring new ideas and materials, embracing change in my work. Previous themes have explored the concepts of the passage of time, transformation, and the cycle of life. My most recent series, Hand Work, delves into all three of these themes. In this body of work I pay homage to women’s craft work by repurposing, or “up-cycling”, the crochet doily into a work of “Fine Art”. I am often bothered by the elitist view that craft work is inferior to “Fine Art”. This series hopes to address this view by putting an everyday craft at the forefront of my work. My method includes embedding the doily in the the encaustic medium, or using it to make an impression. The resulting paintings showcase the beautifully delicate and intricate qualities of the doily, as well as highlight the obvious painstaking and time consuming craftsmanship involved in its creation. The humble doily now transformed into a work of art will prompt viewer’s to question their assumptions about crafts—usually women’s work, and fine art—historically the domain of men.

With this series I have felt connected to the greater world wide movement of women artists who are bringing a new awareness and appreciation to the humble crafts of crochet, knitting and other handwork. While we incorporate material threads into our work, there is an invisible, symbolic thread that connects us, as we challenge ourselves to search deeply, and present our visions in new and unique ways.

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