The Ladies Fancywork Society -- a somewhat anonymous collective of crafty women -- has been delighting Denver for a half-dozen years, working covertly in the dark of night to create yarnbombed installations that sprout out of nowhere in the strangest of places. They've made us laugh and look in wonder as trees grow sweaters and flowers bloom on chain-link fences. As they say in their statement, "They believe in taking ownership of our surroundings, and putting skirts on the world is their way of doing it." It's a whimsical message that anyone can make art, underlined by the feminine...and maybe a little of the feminist.
Their past exploits -- knitting legwarmers for Jonathan Borosky's infamous Dancers in the Denver Performing Arts Complex Sculpture Garden and a ball-and-chain for Lawrence Argent's "I See What You Mean" (the Big Blue Bear) at the Colorado Convention Center, for instance -- behind them, they most recently installed a stealth-knit LFS banner along the road to Denver International Airport, as well as condoned crocheted works inside the airport. And in 2013, the ladies of LFS are already busy: Their commissioned entryway installation Fancygasm opens for the winter this weekend at MCA Denver; this summer, they'll be represented in another major art museum -- the Denver Art Museum -- as part of its museum-wide textile compendium, Spun. And even as their official stature rises, these artists haven't lost one bit of the street sense with which they started out. Long may they skulk at night.
We asked the ladies a few questions about art in Denver and where they fit in.
Continue reading for their answers. Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Maxine: I would love to collaborate with Mariko Mori; the environments she's created with her installations are amazing, they really make the viewer interact and become a part of the art, which I love! Really, any large-scale installation artist would be awesome, but her work is really dreamy and surreal. If I did work with her, I'd be sure we included a unicorn somewhere, maybe one people can ride. I think a sweet unicorn would really lend itself to her work, and mine.
Lucy Lynn: Such a hard question. This one really hurt my brain. I would love to collaborate with some of my favorite photographers, but I think my answer will be....Van Gogh so he can paint all my yarn I use and make it beautiful!
Esther: Takashi Murakami. Because I think we have a similar cracked-out style. It would be so pretty! Like seizure-inducing pretty. Also, it would be pretty stellar to be on Yo Gabba Gabba. Do you hear me, Yo Gabba Gabba? I'm interested. Call me.
Jeanne Lois: Rosa Parks. I would tag the shit out of that bus she was on. WW: Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Maxine: Denver is interesting to me. I was born here, I've grown up here, and seeing the constant change in this city is amazing! I love how supportive the community is to anything creative. There are so many creative neighborhoods developing, all with their own style, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside just being able to be a part of it.
Lucy Lynn: Am I allowed to say Kim Kardashian and Kanye West? Fascinating people! Also, I love keeping up on other street artists, like Ernest Zacharevic, OaKoAk or Mentalgassi. I frequent a few websites that keep my mind open to lots of different art.
Esther: Everyone. Everyone is interesting. Sometimes I like to browse Pinterest pages dedicated to topics I don't relate to myself, like One Direction or Having A Great Christian Marriage. And then read their blogs. Or read really bad fan fiction of things that I'm also not really interested in. This is a really weird hobby. I probably shouldn't be telling people about this. Never mind. Nobel Peace Prize winners. That's my new answer.
Jeanne Lois: People that speak Dutch. Cause I am trying to learn and it's hard. Those darn g's!
WW: What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Maxine: I'm pretty over glitter, just kidding! I love glitter, and if glitter ever stopped being used, it would make me super sad. I also love unicorns. Someone might answer unicorns to this question, but not me, I would be never want a unicorn to die, that would make me evil.
Lucy Lynn: Whoa. Die? That's pretty harsh. I'm not too sure there is any art trend I want to see die. Fashion trends...that's another story.
Esther: There are a few themes I'm sick of, but if other people are still digging them, I'm not going to be the party pooper.
Jeanne Lois: I don't really follow art trends. I just like to see people creating!
WW: What's your day job?
Maxine: My day job, and night job, and pretty much every waking moment job, besides LFS, is running Lowbrow with my fellow lady Esther. We teach workshops, sell awesome art supplies and have a gallery where we feature a lot of great local artists. We also use a shit ton of glitter. A SHIT TON.
Lucy Lynn: I'm a photographer.
Esther: I co-own Lowbrow with Maxine! We basically sell plastic unicorns for a living.
Jeanne Lois: I am a stylist and a craftosaurus. ALL THE DAYS!
Continue reading for more on the LFS. WW: A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
Maxine: With unlimited funds, I would first do all the good things one should do with unlimited funds. I would end world hunger, donate to charities, buy my family members houses and stuff. Then, I would start covering things with yarn.....and glitter of course. I'd also fund some sort of Jurassic Park type project, but only herbivores at first, we'd need to play it safe. Then we'd breed the dinos to be sparkly and make them sweaters to stay warm. Unicorns might have to be part of this project too. They were around with the dinosaurs, right?
Lucy Lynn: Funny you ask this...this happened to me the other day! I'm off to shop forever. I'll have so many shoes. No really...if I had unlimited funds, I would travel the world doing freelance photography for various clients and magazines. I would also continue to do street art along the way and finish other art projects I've had back logged for years! Making art, books, blogs, etc. about all my adventures.
Esther: Tag all the things! I would pretty up an old RV, that somehow could also be a jet, load all the Fancy Ladies into it, and spend my time traveling and making both legal and illegal art with my bffs. I would also get a warehouse space for all the yarn and miscellaneous Fancy crap that we hoard, so it can be somewhere other than my house. My dreams, they're big. Oh, and my hooks would be gold. SOLID. GOLD.
Jeanne Lois: I would continue to travel and be constantly inspired by the different people I meet along the way. All the while carrying my art with me, and leaving a trail everywhere I go.
WW: What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Maxine: To help the arts, Denver, and the whole state, need to make sure that kids are getting enough creative time in school. Math and science are totally necessary, but music and visual art education are just as important. There should really be a unicorn in every classroom, just as a reminder to be creative.
Lucy Lynn: Give LFS tons of money. I think Denver already does a pretty good job at supporting the arts. But I guess when you're in the arts it's easy to say that. I feel like every city can always do a better job of supporting the arts in schools. I think kids need more exposure to all kinds of art, fiber and street art included.
Esther: Money is always nice.
Jeanne Lois: Make art more accessible to everyone. Art doesn't have to be a private club. I believe everyone has a creative side. Lowbrow has the right idea and is helping Denver get there. Anyone can make art!
WW: Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Maxine: There are so many creative people in Colorado, it's hard to pick a favorite. I love seeing new breweries; I'm kind of really into beer. So I'm going to say all the local Colorado Brewmasters are my favorite creative, collectively.
Lucy Lynn: Besides, LFS and Lowbrow...Oh I have so many, I love Coloradical and lots of lovely things that come out of the Fancy Tiger community.
Esther: So many! Adam Sikorski of Coloradical. This guy whose name is I think Frank and he makes lino cuts on old traffic cones. Primer Dome. Everything that goes on at Fancy Tiger. Becky Hensley of the Denver Craft Ninjas. The Denver Zine Library. All of the artists we've had at Lowbrow, and the ones we have coming up too, duh. Gildar Gallery. Blackbook Gallery. Truly Rejected Magazine. The fine people at Wazee Union. The people who wheat-pasted Kanye West's face up on an alley in Baker. That's my short list.
Jeanne Lois: YOU!
Throughout the year, we'll be turning the spotlight on 100 superstars in Denver's rich artistic community. Watch for the next installment on Show and Tell -- and go to the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
Who rocks YOUR world locally? Do you have a suggestion for a Colorado Creative who should be counted in our 2013 lineup? Leave it in the comments section below.
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