Amy Anselmo, We Are All Fireflies (2)

Fiber Art/Mixed Media

Artist Statement:
My Italian grandmother taught me to crochet at a very young age and it has carried me through my life as an activity that both centers and calms me and helps me connect with others through the community created around the fiber arts. I grew up in a family of makers. I watched and learned from my parents and grandparents, aunts, and uncles, how craftmaking was an integral part of their lives that was utilitarian and a healing pastime – a way to pass the time when the day’s work was done. I’ve always been drawn to mediums such as clay, glass, metal, fibers, and wood-and the accompanying craftsmanship that entails hours and hours of meditative handwork. Making things that are process-oriented, enjoying every stitch, or sanding and polishing until something glows are what I find to be the healing power in making. The end result is always nice to achieve, but always somewhat anti-climactic for me. I get a lot from just being present during the making process and I love to share these processes with others. Doily and lacemaking are interesting to me right now as they are representative of a craft that is historically female-centric, spanning generations of women as makers, creating intricate mandalas of fiber, made at a time before many women had even fewer rights and freedoms that we are still fighting for today. I have often held pieces of handmade lace and wondered what they were thinking about as they made these meditative circles, bound to protect a mahogany side table from the rings of condensation left by a cold glass on a hot day. By enlarging these lacey artifacts to a sculptural scale I hope to spark others’ curiosities in this age old craft and possibly seek out the healing and calming benefits of craftmaking too.

Artist Bio:
Amy Anselmo (Bo) enjoys art-making, teaching art and craft, doing graphic design, being goofy, and occasionally wrestling with technology, her chartreuse 1978 VW bus (with a crochet tire cover) named Bill, and most of all, Dogs. You may have seen her hand-carved designs and logos around the region such as; the Bennington Farmers’ Market, Livin Local, Bernie, and farmgirl stickers. Bo’s other acts of artistic rebelliousness (artivism) might include; collaborating with children to raise awareness about littering, making maps for our most vulnerable populations so they may find food, clothing and shelter, making a small house out of yarn and poetry (the poets’ shack), creating artful interviews through oral history work, making large-scale crochet butterflies and other creatures with wings, helping with NBOSS for 20 or so years, teaching indigo classes, rescuing tons of clothing from the landfill to mend and give away, and working with students of all ages and all walks of life to use art as a way to feel whole again.