Dear Ms. Morton,
I'm writing to inquire about your Cardigan for a Giraffe. You see, a group of people are discussing this on the National Novel Writing Month forums right now (http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/node/3699578) thanks to this question's presence in the Reference Desk's forum description. While proposals have been made, none of the respondents have actually knitted a sweater for a giraffe to test the hypothesis, though there's a very cute crocheted giraffe with a hoodie in the thread. After looking around online for more info on this work, I couldn't find the answers to what I really wanted to know, so I was wondering if you could humor me and answer some questions that we writers have been discussing
1. Did you include the legs? How much of the neck did you include?
2. How much yarn did it take to knit this sweater, and what kind of yarn and needles did you use? How long did it take to create the sweater?
3. Has a giraffe actually tried on the sweater?
4. Do you mind if I publish the response on the linked thread? I'm sure there are others who want to know the answer.
Thanks in advance. I had no idea your cardigan already existed when I originally posed this question last month, and finding out about its existence just makes me that much happier.
$Realname (sushimustwrite on the NaNoWriMo site)
Well, she wrote back last night with this.
I have included 2 images of Cardigan (for a giraffe), The first is a gallery shot from 1993 (the year the piece was made) and the second for 2004 when I was invited along with 4 other artists to exhibit work at the Metro Toronto Zoo. Cardigan was exhibited along with 4 other works that are part of my animal aparell series: which includes Balaclava for a Rhinoceros,1995, Work Socks for Patsy (the elephant),2000, Gloves for Charles (the gorilla),2004, and Pullover for Puppe (the orangutan), 2004. Special cases made so that each garment could be near the animal it was intended for.
I began this series as a playful critique the exessive and absurd cultural desire to assert personal style onto nature, whether that be the pet poodle or an urban tree, and also as a means of wrestling my love/hate relationship with zoos and my our misdirected sentimental impulses.
I give you these images because as a visual artist, I believe they say much more than my words can.
I can not really answer many of your questions. But I will fill in what I can and you are welcome to share my responses...and the images if possible.
1. & 3.As you can see, I made a cardigan, complete with 120 purple buttons. I never intended for a real giraffe to wear it, I would consider that cruel, but I imagined a cardigan would be easier than a turtle neck, so that if the giraffe were forced to wear it. A giraffe can stand on it's rear legs as the front sleeves were put on. Although a giraffe has not worn the cardigan it would indeed fit. I did a lot of research for this piece. I used enlarged photos of giraffes to work out the scale and posed as a teacher getting specific details about the Toronto giraffes. I chose the colours (light blue & black) and pattern (norwegian geometric) to contrast the giraffe fur, and highlight it's bizarre context, suburban Canada.
2. I made this work 17 years ago, and have no recollection of how much yarn I used. It is acrylic yarn, not pure wool, and I custom make my own knitting needles.I never account for the hours I invest into knitting or other art work, if I did I may not continue this sort of work.
Labour and time investment are implicit.
p.s. other images can be seen at ccca.ca (Canadian Centre for Contemporary Art) and I hope to have a website up by the end of 2010.
Here are the pictures she mentioned.
The giraffe sweater in a gallery
The giraffe sweater in a zoo
Click either picture to enlarge. They're large, so I didn't link the picture proper.
But she replied! Hooray! This makes NaNoWriMo 2010 even more awesome, and it hasn't even started.
Oh, and did I mention NaNoWriMo retweeted me again on Twitter? Well, they did. Yup, best NaNo ever.