Art including the square

JUDITH RITCHIE
Last updated 14:09 23/01/2013
Ebbe Munk
PATRICK HAMILTON/FAIRFAX NZ
UNITED COLOURS: Lisa Grennell, right, works on a crochet blanket with her daughter, Taylor, and grandma, Joyce Dredge, under her screenprinted "Peggy Squares" at Bridge Street Collective.

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Lisa Grennell is exhibiting at the Bridge Street Collective with a show called The Human Touch.

Based on the strong bond between herself and her grandmother, Joyce Dredge, Lisa says "the show is about relationships between generations, traditions, passing from one to the next and the sense of comfort gained from crocheting blankets together." She adds, "it's also about how these values are being forgotten".

Every day Grennell visits her 93-year-old grandma at a dementia unit at a local rest home, takes wool, crochet hooks and together they make squares for a blanket. Her grandmother doesn't recognise her, but they chat while crocheting.

"I tell her she taught me to crochet as a child; she no longer remembers. As I continue the gift she once taught me, she is happy to critique me - mainly my choice of colours," says Grennell. "Grandma said some of the colours weren't bright enough, so I went out and got some much brighter wool."

Grennell says rest-home staff stop and chat about the craft; the process of crocheting bringing people of all ages together.

All the work in Grennell's exhibition is printed either on to glass or perspex. This is the first time Grennell has screen printed on to glass, which she says is "quite exciting, and an ongoing experience", whereas she is more familiar with printing on to perspex.

She uses what she calls "minimalist" colours, relying heavily on the empty space for impact. "I like the vacant space around the areas of colour, this is an integral part of my art practice," Grennell says. Her large piece, Peggy Square, is a screen-printed take on crocheted peggy squares.

Grennell also draws inspiration from her love of nature, with reference in her work to the vulnerability of bird species mixed with her concerns for the future.

As a mother she uses imagery of children, with reference to loss of innocence, and questions our use of technology and the impact of vast changes in ethical and moral standards on children and the environment.

Grennell is also concerned about artists working alone, and likens her relationship with her grandmother to how artists need to feel connected.

To any artists who need advice, would like to have their work critiqued, or who may want to work more within a tem, Grennell says "my door is always open". Anyone interested in visiting her studio can contact Lisa Grennell through email grennell.lisa@yahoo.co.nz.

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  • The Human Touch, Bridge St Collective, 111 Bridge St, to February 9.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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