Feb 092010

Switch-Swatch (2007, 2010)

As part of the Winterlude Urban Cozy Project, Spins & Needles is profiling some of the makers who have contributed to this public art installation at Winterlude 2010.

First up is Greta Grip, who’s an Ottawa-based knit artist who’s known in the city for everything from knit performances (Knit-It in 2005-6) to knit installations (her piece Knit-trution was displayed at Blink Gallery on Parliament Hill in November 2009). And we’re proud to say she attended the first Spins & Needles night ever in February 2005!

Here’s what Greta had to say about her involvement in the WUCP, her other knit installations and how the city and travelling has influenced her work.

S&N: Describe your contribution the Winterlude Urban Cozy Project.

GG: I knitted giant green leaves out of some Fentax that was given to me by my Aunt Betty, many years ago. These leaves were knitted from stem to the tip of the leaf and then repeating from stem to tip. In total there are twenty-three leaves that span twenty feet long. This piece will be submitted to the Winterlude Tree Cozy Project.

I am also placing a knitted “Switch Swatch” cozy (pictured above) on our lilac bush in our front garden. This Switch Swatch (2007) was a project that some of my friends organized. They suddenly caught the knitters bug, and they wanted to have some practice mingled with fun. A number of people were interested and we all knitted swatches for each other, then met up a month later and switched the swatches. This Winterlude Urban Cozy Project inspired me to place them outside for all to see and enjoy.

Knit It @ National Gallery of Canada (2006)
Knit-It @ National Gallery of Canada (2006)

S&N: What inspired you to participate in the WUCP?

GG: I can’t say no to public display of knitting! I enjoy graffiti knitting. I organized the Ottawa/Gatineau chapter of KNIT IT and NIPPLE IT. KNIT IT was an international graffiti knitted movement that occurred four times within two years. This included knitting on Parliament Hill and the National War Memorial and under the Spider and in the National Gallery’s Great Hall.

I also organized NIPPLE-IT on October 1, 2006 for breast cancer awareness month. Crafters made knitted nipples. They were then we displayed at a popular Ottawa bar for the month of October.

Knit-tritional (2009)
Knit-tritional (2007-09)

S&N: What are some of the other knitted pieces you’ve made and exhibited?

GG: I have recently come out of my knitting closet and exposed my knitted objects. Here are a few of my items:
-“Can’t Go Wrong With A 24Hr Bra” –This item was originally made for a Breast Cancer Awareness auction. It consists of two very happy eggs, a bacon ruffle along the sides, sausage links for straps and a black plastic fork and knife across the centre.
“Positive, Negative, Colour, Ants On A Log” –This item was made for SAW Gallery Fund Raiser. It consisted of three knitted celery sticks with a knitted strip of peanut butter and knitted raisons. One is knitted in colour the others are in the positive and negative form.
-“Knitritional Value” –This item took me two years to make, among other knitted items. The core knitted item is the digestive system that is surrounded by fifty-three different foods.

Ants on a Log, SAW Gallery (2008)
Ants on a Log (2008)

S&N: You’ve travelled a lot. What’s one crafty/arty/culture-related experience that still inspires you today?

GG: People are not shy to knit and natter. I have travelled quite a bit, and even if you can’t speak the language through words everyone can speak knitting. Either they themselves have been fascinated by the concept of having two sticks and a piece of string to make something, or have been exposed through family and friends.

S&N: How does your city inspire you creatively? What would you like to see more of in your city?

Ottawa inspires me to knit in order to keep warm. This city is also a blank slate, to knit.

Check out Greta Grip’s 20 feet knitted Pentax leaves at Parc Jacques-Cartier during Winterlude.

  2 Responses to “Urban Cozy Project Artist Profile: Greta Grip”

  1. [...] celebrate the first day of spring this weekend, here’s some news from Greta Grip, one of the urban cozy artist profiled on this blog. She’s calling on local Ottawa-Gatineau artists to add some graffiti to a non-descript tree [...]

  2. [...] was super excited when local Ottawa knitting artist Greta Grip (check out her Winterlude Urban Cozy Artist profile) invited me to assist her with her “knitting big” installation at a group show at Blink [...]

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