Fig 1 Crocheted Hare Fig 2 Crocheted Hare
In a small dingy looking room in Cank Street, Leicester stood what looked to be taxidermy animals back lit through a glass window. When you look closer it was actually an exhibition by contemporary Leicester based Artist Shauna Richardson of mimic crochet taxidermy, hence the title ‘Crochet-dermy’. The room itself was from a previously empty shop, turned into a 3 month Victorian style diorama of various life scale taxi-dermies that could be viewed through a glass screen 24 hours a day.
Fig 3 Crocheted artic rabbit Fig 4 Crocheted warthog
The highly realistic crocheted sculptures took over 6 years to create and were only noticeable when you looked closer. These uncanny hand crafted pieces are all mounted on wooden plaques and some even have glass eyes and real teeth to add to the alarmingly life like effect. This collection of curio brought a lot of attention to Leicesters art scene and was even featured on the BBC news.
Fig 5 Closeup of Warthogs teeth.
The exhibition differs to others I have seen because of the sheer scale of the pieces to life size and anatomically correct is incredible. There was a lot of thought and dedication towards the room itself to look less like a typical white walled art exhibition and an actual room, helping to believe the realism of the pieces themselves. At a first glance you aren’t quite sure whether you should be looking in, creating this sense of further mystery about the exhibition. This is following the ethos of Richardsons work that ‘anything can be art’.
I personally love this unique way of looking at a typical and popular Victorian parlour past time/decor and refurbish such a traditional art form into something modern and accessible by simply using wool. I was fascinated with how much wool she must have used, all sourced from the Peak District in Derbyshire.
Being a Leicester based artist, she aimed to celebrate the rich textile heritage of the East Midlands. It is part of the drive of trying to revamp unused spaces, such as shops and factories, turning them in to places of interest again.
Fig 6 33 Cank Street, the exhibtion space
Leicesters mayor, Peter Soulsby hopes that it will help the bid for Leicester to become the City of Culture in 2017 as he quotes “this project is an example of how we are working to bring culture to the streets of Leicester and make art accessible to all.”. The bid is backed by many artists, including Shauna Richardson in the hopes of displaying Leicesters lively and vibrant art scenes.