Exhibitionists·Video

These surreal crocheted works were born from a heartfelt collaboration between mother and daughter

Kasie Campbell's mother died earlier this year — but before she did, she and Kasie completed this mammoth series of sculptures together.

Kasie Campbell: 'For her, I will make sure that the work continues to be seen'

(CBC Arts)

Kasie Campbell's crocheted collaboration with her mother, Ginette Lund, is weighty. That is, the sculptures themselves are pretty monumental — enlarged versions of anatomical details like hands, or an outfit that slumps without the presence of a body inside it. The centrepiece is probably this outfit, called "At Risk," that covers the whole body, including the head, in bulky yarn.

(CBC Arts)

How did the process work? Campbell describes it: "I started out doing a series of pretty rough and provocative sketches, and then I would just send them to my mom via text or email and she would just make them through crochet and just bring these two-dimensional images to life." Once Campbell had the works in hand, she'd add elements to them like pantyhose, steel and her own crocheting.

Watch the video:

Kasie Campbell tells you about how her close relationship with her mother was the inspiration for a new collection of crocheted works. Filmmaker: Tamarra Canu 4:41

The emotional weight these sculptures carry is also massive. The series, Matrilineal Threads, was a collaboration between Lund and Campbell that ended after Lund's death on May 12, 2018. It draws on the tradition of crocheting that Lund's mother taught her, and that she in turn taught to Campbell. So knitted within the strands of yarn is a family history — a chronicle of motherhood and lifetimes of giving and receiving knitted and crocheted gifts. In this video made by Tamarra Canu, Campbell takes you into her studio to tell you how the collaboration came to life and what it means to her now.

Even though Lund has passed away, Campbell's amazement with her mother's drive has remained. As she recounts: "One of the last few things that she said to me that were just really hard were that she still had so much art left to do with me." Now, Campbell wants to make sure that these works keep being seen. "If people continue to talk about her and say her name, it feels more like she's here. And we'll just keep going for her."

Five of the sweaters from Matrilineal Threads will be touring Alberta for three years beginning in 2019, through the Art Gallery of Alberta's AFA Travelling Exhibitions (TREX). You can see Kasie Campbell's work as part of Art in Odd Places in New York City in October 2018.

(CBC Arts)
(CBC Arts)
(CBC Arts)

Watch CBC Arts: Exhibitionists on Friday nights at 11:30pm (12am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT) on CBC Television.

About the Author

Lise Hosein is a producer at CBC Arts. Before that, she was an arts reporter at JazzFM 91, an interview producer at George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. When she's not at her CBC Arts desk she's sometimes an instructor at OCADU and is always quite terrified of bees.