Using a very traditional crochet technique, Scottish artist Jo Hamilton creates these very non-traditional portraits. The artist has been crocheting and knitting since the age of six, thanks to the teachings and inspirations of her grandmother and mother. Crocheting was always a hobby for Hamilton and, in art school, she started off as an oil painter but says she was never completely comfortable with the medium.
As an adult, Hamilton transitioned back into yarn work and spent two years making a crocheted cityscape. Then one day, as her coworkers teased her, she said to them “Oh, shut up, or I'll crochet you guys,” and then she did. That was how this phenomenon of crocheted portraits began.
To create a piece, Hamilton works from the inside out, row by row, starting specifically with the eyes for each portrait. Working directly from a photograph and without the aid of any computer technology or sketches, she says, “Each piece is handmade, labor-intensive, instinctively composed. Nothing is planned ahead; I make it up as I go along. I spend a lot of time simply looking, unraveling, and reworking until I get it right.”
Check out this stop motion animation to see one of her portrait projects in progress.