2010 Weave of the week #4: Links

Katherine Daniels, "Fence Embroidery With Embellishment."

I enjoy outdoor public art installations,  but few have anything to do with weaving.  So when I find one that does,  I give it special attention.  Several months ago,  I was pleased to read that a non-profit group called the Downtown Alliance funded five public art projects in 2009 to create “a little cheer,  whimsy and excitement”  at some of Lower Manhattan’s many construction sites,  according to Elizabeth H. Berger,  president of the alliance.  Most significant to me was that one of those projects,  Fence Embroidery With Embellishment,  by New York artist Katherine Daniels,  was woven on site (see photo above).

Ms. Daniels and her team wove vinyl strips through fifty-four chain-link fences and embellished the strips with brightly colored spools,  lids,  and other construction materials to create abstract climbing “vines” (detail below).  The fences stretch for 600′ along the East River Bikeway,  from the Wall Street Ferry to the South Street Seaport, and will be there until the end of this year.  For a link to Katherine Daniels’s website, with a map, click here.

Katherine Daniels, "Fence Embroidery With Embellishment" (det). Courtesy BravinLee programs.

Katherine Daniels usually works in beads and embroidery thread,  and I was struck by the similarity of form between her delicate 2009 bead-and-wire piece,  Garden Grid (shown below),  and the Fence Embroidery With Embellishment installation.  Her artist statement says that she is  “interested in the idea of paradise as a garden of beauty and peace that expresses the human need to create and cultivate beauty as a counter to our acts of destruction.”  You can see more of her work here.

Katherine Daniels, "Garden Grid." Courtesy of the artist.

As often happens with my articles,  this one evolved as I wrote it.  In this case,  looking at Katherine Daniels’s installation,  and thinking about chain-link fences for the first time in my life,  brought to mind Liza Lou’s Security Fence,  a silver-beaded,  full-size,  chain-link enclosure,  complete with razor wire,  shown here:

Liza Lou, "Security Fence" (2005-2007). Courtesy L&M Arts

and a detail here:

Liza Lou, "Security Fence: (2005-2007). Courtesy L&M Arts.

And while I was contemplating why an artist would bead a cell,  an observant friend, artist Joan Levinson,  brought to my attention Swedish artist Klas Hällerstrand’s silk-wrapped baseball bat (!) because it reminded her of  Sheila  Hicks’s wrapped pieces (see my posts about Sheila Hicks’s work here and here), and this in turn led me to Hällerstrand’s 2007-2008 work “luttra”  (“to purify”), shown below:

Klas Hallerstrand, "luttra" (2007-2008), metal fence wrapped in cotton yarn, 1.2 x 3 x 3m

The fence isn’t beaded,  but it’s completely wrapped in cotton yarn,  for goodness sake.  Here’s a great close-up of  Mr.  Hällerstrand’s painstakingly wrapped links:

Klas Hallerstrand, "luttra" (2007-2008).

A press release provided by the Galleri Charlotte Lund in Stockholm,  Sweden,  states,  “Klas Hällerstrand’s working process takes an extensive amount of time and care.  He has a great interest for the materials he uses and is captivated by seemingly incompatible elements.”

I was starting to wonder whether writing about,  and meditating on,  chain-link fences had taken me too far from textiles and fiber,  but here’s something else unexpected that popped up in my research.  In 1844,  Charles Barnard built the world’s first wire-netting machine in Norwich,  England,  to produce chain-link fencing by machine;  Norwich was a worsted weaving center,  and his wire-netting machine was based on cloth-weaving looms (read more here).  Now there’s  a link!

6 Responses

  1. I was delighted to find your article and the artist links and connections you have made. I am interested in public interactive art using weaving, and was researching this when I came across this article. I am putting together a proposal for a five week outdoor group exhibition and love the idea that the public can contribute and ‘make the art’, have interaction with the environment, other participants and have a tactile experience. Any comments or other leads would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hi, Mahia, Thank you for your interesting comment. I’d love to see what you come up with, so please keep in touch.


  2. Lovely photos.

    • Welcome, timethief, and thank you.

  3. Having lived in NY I can appreciate how the ‘fence embroidery’ brightens up an otherwise dreary chain link fence. I like how you found a connection to textiles with these works of art. As always, it’s a pleasure reading your article. Thank you, Fern.


    • I appreciate your comment, Eva. Thanks for reading : )


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