Artique gets colorfully spooky with this month’s First Friday opening
What: First Friday Opening with Mary Ellen Hunter
When: 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4
Where: Artique, 283 N. Main St. in Kamas
The bright yellows, oranges and reds of autumn inspire Mary Ellen Hunter’s textile creations.
Hunter has crocheted and knitted an array of fall-colored scarves, hats and Halloween-themed mandalas and table runners that she will show during Artique’s First Friday Artist Opening, which runs from 6-9 p.m. on Oct. 4 at 283 N. Main in Kamas.
“This time of the year is very inspirational with all of the fall colors,” Hunter said. “I really enjoy being inspired with what’s going on with the trees on the mountains. It’s such a beautiful time of year, and people should look around. We get so ensconced in our lives and we don’t look around to see the beauty.”
One of Hunter’s goals is to modernize her “yarn art.”
“Crochet and other handcrafts are very traditional, and since this craft has been around for a long, long time, some of the pieces have a tendency to look dated,” she said. “So I try to make things that look anything but traditional.”
Hunter uses bright-colored yarn and intricate patterns to bring her pieces into the 21st century.
“Whether it’s making a mandala out of crocheted skulls or adding skull patterns in the scarves, I just try to do something different,” she said. “I also like putting unexpected colors together that make an artistic statement when something is done.”
The idea for the Halloween-themed works came to Hunter through the simple observation that a majority of Utahns she has met love Halloween.
“I don’t know what it is, but it’s a big thing here,” she said. “So I thought we could do some fun things with the skull mandalas and scarves.”
Hunter’s love for textiles were cultivated by her grandmothers.
“They were both very crafty, and I learned to crochet when I was 5, which was 60 years ago,” she said. “So I’ve been doing this for a long time.”
In addition to learning how to crochet, Hunter taught herself how to knit and tat, before she earned a degree in textile design, with an emphasis in weaving, from the University of Vermont.
“In college I was interested in design, and got really caught up in weaving because we had an excellent weaving program,” she said.
These days, Hunter is content making hats and mandalas that look like tatted doilies.
“Making hats is something I can do in the day or in the evening when I have some spare time,” she said. “It’s funny because I don’t have a lot of patience for other things, but I can sit and work on a mandala or scarf for hours.”
Sometimes Hunter designs the patterns herself, and other times she buys a pattern to follow.
“As a designer myself, it feels wonderful to support another designer by buying their designs,” she said.
Hunter met Artique owner Katie Stellpflug five years ago.
“I had crocheted a mandala and gave it to a friend who knew Katie,” Hunter said. “My friend said I needed to go to meet Katie, because I could start selling some things at Artique. So, I went over one day and have been involved with the store ever since.”
Hunter said Artique’s co-op mission is a great idea for local creatives who don’t have time to create enough product to make a full-time living.
“I think it’s delightful to have a place where all of us can put our stuff together to show and sell and have some fun,” she said. “For me, having it be fun is important. I don’t like it when something starts to feel like a job.”
Hunter, a Park City resident, also enjoys meeting the different people who stop to shop at Artique.
“There are a lot of people that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet otherwise who just stop by,” she said.
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