It’s taken me a while to gather my thoughts on this film, because I had to continue with real life, while reflecting on what I had seen.
To be honest, I learned one thing and was reminded of another. I learned that filmmaker Ryan Coogler is not to be messed with. His newest film, Black Panther proves that he’s a talented director able to work on several conceptual levels, who is able to take what should be a ‘simple superhero film’ and turn it into something else altogether. Is there a category called ‘Superhero-Politthriller’?
Yes, it works as a superhero film that kids will have a blast watching. It even works as a faithful comic book adaptation. As a gorgeous love letter from the African Diaspora to the Motherland, it hits the ball out of the park (Well done Ruth E. Carter and the production team! Amazing job!)
It also works as a double-whammy political thriller. On one level, this afrofuturistic piece deep-dives onto the political intrigue following a change in government (head of state). On the other hand, it is a thought-provoking piece, which very subtly compares the US (and parts of the Western world in the throes of wrestling with issues of identity and ultra-conservative xenophobia) to the proud nation of Wakanda. High tech force-shields do the same thing that Mexican Walls are supposed to do.
I will admit that I was lulled into the haze of I-have-to-accompany-my-child-to-the-cinema mixed with admiring the costumes and production design, until one phrase jerked me wide awake: “The Sun will never set on the Kingdom of Wakanda.” I won’t lie, even as a naturalized German, the chills ran down my spine (because 1933-1945). These folks are such an advanced nation, and they are xenophobic. For me, it is therefore disconcerting to see folks running around post-cinema experience beaming “Wakanda Forever!” (And the Daily Beast’s Ira Madison III thinks so too).
That the society within the film manages to tackle such a thorny problem that propels them to the brink of civil war is makes it no less compelling for theater-goers to ask themselves what type of society do we want to be. And to keep talking about it.
That was the reminder, that comic books are often not just about fighting or solving problems with violence, there is a message, if you care to look.
And now, the handcrafts:
The fabulous blankets, seen above, are made in Southern Africa, and are called Basotho Heritage Blankets. Notably, worn by the royal family and their guest (for the sake of accuracy, the border guards/tribe do wear a similar blanket which appears to be part of a uniform). Regular people like Nakia (played by Lupita N’yongo) seem or choose to make do with knits and crochets.
This shawl-wrap was the only knit I spotted. It seems to be long, rectangular piece, done in stocking stitch with an occasional row of eyelets interspersed. While this knit is done in fairly sombre tones (at a fairly sombre point in the story) of her signature greens and blues of the River tribe, by the end of the film, she is in a lovely sparkly green crocheted pullover with a single cut out shoulder.
I know, we were talking about Amy Sherald’s Portrait of Michelle Obama, but I also learned that she takes great care in choosing the clothes her subjects wear for their sittings.
Typically, Sherald …pairs her subjects with outfits carefully selected for a similar timeless feel, rendering them in comfortable stances against monochrome backgrounds, cut off at the knee, forthrightly regarding their Viewer.
Doreen St. Felix of the New Yorker breaks down why Amy Sherald’s Portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama is so haunting.
Milly by Michelle Smith / vogue.com
There’s a funny thing about inspiration: While the Designer, Michelle Smith of Milly mentions to Vogue that her Inspiration was Mondrian, Amy Sherald made the connection to the quilts of the women of Gee’s Bend.
So although Folks are getting all upset because the portrait isn’t photo-realistic, it is clear that Obama and Sherald had a great working relationship, and she loved Sherald’s work. She likes how Sherald portrayed her for perpetuity. This is Art. It makes you stop and take a long hard look. And gets you thinking (why grey?), why this artist, why this dress, filling in the blanks, and what not.
It shook me how much Mrs. Obama looks like her younger daughter. But also how the negative space on the skirt suggests a heart (until it doesn’t). Sherald only paints 10 – 12 portraits a year, seeking out subjects who project a timeless quality. She hit it out of the ballpark.
I can’t read everything on the Internet the instant it comes out. And sometimes it takes me months to get back around to casting a glance on well-loved knitting-related sites and magazines. What with kids, work, keeping up with the news, politics, and life, things get hectic.
And I thought this New Year totally needs to also be about not stressing oneself about the knitting. Hobby-stress is not cool.
I say why not just relabel it a pause. A break. A chance to regroup.
That’s the tack I’m taking. I plan to finish certain Things; but I also want to start new challenges: I want to knit a friend of mine a set of hats for when she starts chemotherapy.
Isthmus by Gudrun Johnston for Brooklyn Tweed
Femte by Sari Norlund
Rebe by Fiona Ellis for Twist Collective
I’m particularly taken with these hat Patterns (ClockWise): Gudrun Johnston’s Isthmus, Sari Norlund’s Femte, and Fiona Ellis’ Rebe. Honourable mention to Margaret Miller’s Svartifoss, which is so beautiful, but I’m not ready for laceweight hats just yet.
Femte and Isthmus make me see, that I need to brush up on my provisional cast on.
Looking at the work of Avantgarde Designers like Rei Kawakubo is a little bit like reading a science fiction book in one gulp. It’s not the same Thing as looking up what trend forecasters are saying or projecting for the next Season (or several Seasons in advance) – although that can be fun too.
German edition /source: Diogenes.ch
My Book Club is looking at science fiction novels, and I had the distinct pleasure of reading prolific author Ray Bradbury’s ‘There will come Soft Rains‘ from “The Martian Chronicles” at our Christmas Party. It’s amazing how stories published in 1950s are still relevant and gripping today.
This month, we’re moving on from “Blade Runner” to Cixin Liu’s “The Three Body Problem.” It’s a challenge, to choose books for people who know nothing about science fiction and claim not to be interested in anything ‘Star Warsy’ (even though Star Wars is turning out to be more space opera/space fantasy than scifi, and that’s ok too).
Just as in science fiction, avantgarde fashion asks us ‘What if?’ In her Spring Summer Pret à Porter collection, I think Kawakubo is posing the question of what it would look like if we were to seriously recycle what we have, now that we are at peak stuff? Through the lense of clothes? One answer may very well be a profuse collage of textiles, colours and prints.
Which leads me to ask myself: what would it look like through the lense of knitting?
I thought for sure, that stripes were over. I was pretty sure that stripes would settle back down in that corner where classics go to have a cocktail and catch their breaths, while Polka dots would have their Moment in the limelight. But there’s a saying in German:
“Totgesagte leben länger”
which basically means that there’s life in the old dog yet. And that means that I’m seeing those spots, alongside and stripes. But stripes of a different ilk.
Christian Dior Spring 2018
Christian Dior Spring 2018
Christian Dior Striped Dress Fall 2017
Which makes me think of
Albers Pullover by Julia Farwell-Clay
Liz Cardi by Jesse Mozlan
Mitred Magic by Amy Polcyn
Arbus by Bristol Ivy
The Albers Pullover by Julia Farwell-Clay; Mitred Magic by Amy Polcyn; Liz Cardigan by Jesse Mozlan (a sweet pattern that’s currently free on Ravelry); and Bristol Ivy’s Arbus from her new book ‘Knitting Outside the Box.’
I just ran across a few reminders of capsule wardrobes (which also work in the wintertime).
The Daily Connossieur’ Jennifer Scott just previewed her 10-item wardrobe for winter. However, she lives in California, as far as I’m aware. So her wardrobe Looks lighter than what I want to snuggle into when icy winds are storming their way across Germany.
The colour of the year 2018 has been released for a while now, and I’ve been looking at it and looking at it for a good while now. Why?
I’ve been wondering what to make of it, and more precisely what to make out of it. And even if I should make anything at all. It’s a bit of a shock that I can’t decide at all.
On the one hand, I see my knits as having a journaling function. I love taking a handknit in my hands, and recalling not just the lovely memories I had wearing it, but also what was going on while I was making it. A lot of memories can attach itself to a knit (or a crocheted) Piece.
So, what will Ultraviolet be saying to me about 2018? I think I’ll have to wait a bit to know for sure.
On the other hand, it’s a much more wearable colour than Greenery, because it has more blue mixed into it.
The real dilemma is: make a garment or an accent piece? With a colour as Vibrant as Ultraviolet, the garment is the accent.
Luckily, this colour isn’t in the shops yet, so I have a moment or two to make up my mind.
The wave of Hygge that has been rolling across the world, is finally settling in here in Germany. Especially in winter, we tend to look to the North: and especially to our neighbour, to learn their best tips for getting through winter. Because we forget every Spring. That and, trends take a while to waft over across the Atlantic.
So now it’s here: I was in a bookshop, buying a copy of a lovely new magazine called Hygge (surprise!), when I saw a little table set up with a bunch of hyggelige Things: thick woolly socks, candles, lovely books of quotes and, of course, mugs for cocoa.
Having lived in Norway for a bit, I get the concept of Hygge. It appeals to that part of me (In German it’s called the innere Schweinehund, who is quite lazy and would rather do this, than go for a run through ice-rain) that wants to snuggle up in front of the fire with a cookie, some cocoa and some knitting. With an audiobook or something.
Hygge is really about the time taken and time spent with other People.
And because we’re kinda behind, we’re moving chop-chop straight on from Denmark into Swedish lagom. Because it’s always a good day to learn how someone says ‘Balance’ in a different language.