Transcript

There are many exceptional works in the Love Lace exhibition. It was very difficult for the judges to choose between so many diverse techniques, materials and concepts. Lace can carry on tradition and have a presence and meaning for the future. The overall winner of the Love Lace Award was Anne Mondro from the United States. Her work, Detroit's Shadow, incorporates many of the elements that I looked for in this quest for designs for openwork structures. Making a solid object such as an engine in a fragile medium as delicate crocheted steel and copper wire subverts its shape and purpose. The work quirkily humanises the machine, symbol of mass production, and yet crochet's lack of precise lines engenders a softness and vulnerability of great appeal to the senses. The sense of place of this work had compelling impact for the judges. That several generations of Mondro's family had worked in the now defunct Detroit car industry lent poignant depth to her work. It is a ghostly reminder of a thriving industry that provided a means of survival to countless immigrants to the States. Mondro conjured up this tribute to her family over several months – in fact, 300 hours – with a single wire and a hooked crochet needle. In the bigger picture she references generations of women who used fine hand work to express their identity, yet remained anonymous. Through her work in many different media (she was initially trained as a jeweller) she presents her thesis on the importance of integrating art and traditional craft. Her methods are interesting – Mondro doesn't work from a sketch but prefers to materialise in 3D. Her work is varied and Mondro uses different techniques to express each new work. She strongly believes in the power of creative endeavours to balance the psyche and assist in resolving trauma and stress – the positive and healing force of art and self expression. Art allows us to connect with others and express emotions that do not usually surface.

Detroit’s Shadow

Anne Mondro

Dimensions

750 x 500 x 500 mm

Materials

Sculpture: thin steel and copper wire crochet

Artist statement

‘Crocheting wire enables me to create interwoven forms that are structurally strong, yet visually and physically light. The forms allude to ethereal silhouettes associated with shadows, ghosts or decay.

This work was inspired by a recent visit to Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. Fascinated with the abandoned machinery on the island, I began to think about Detroit, where my family has worked in the auto industry for generations.

I have used wire to crochet a representation of Henry Ford’s first four-cylinder engine housed in the Model N. The development of this engine in 1906 sparked a split between Henry Ford and business partner Alexander Malcomson, leading to Ford’s creation of the assembly line for the Model T. Similar to Cockatoo Island, Detroit bears the abandoned machinery and relics of an earlier industrial era. An era when Detroit was ‘the car capital of the world’. In replicating this engine, I am paying homage to Detroit and the people who built it.’

AwardOverall winner