This Artist's Crocheted Seafood Looks Good Enough To Eat
I always wished that there was something I was really good at. Like really good at. Sure, I have some minor talents but I'm talking about the absolute show-stopping, the beyond spectacular, the almost envy-inducing.
Unfortunately, I've always just been pretty average at most things. Although if I could pick and choose when it comes to talent, I would almost certainly like to be some sort of creative wizard. Like one of the supremely skilled makeup artists who can turn their own bodies in optical illusions using nothing more than a set of synthetic materials. Or even something as comparatively simple as being able to draw something that isn't a stick person.
I certainly wouldn't mind being in possession of a talent as original and impressive as Kate Jenkins'. She's a knitwear designer based in Brighton, England has recently attracted a great deal of attention for her work.
You see her knitwear isn't exactly your average sweater, hat or scarf. In fact, in terms of fashion, it serves no purpose at all. For the last 12 years, the 47-year-old from Rhymney Valley, South Wales, has been recreating a range of different foods, primarily seafood, using wool.
Her work has included among other items; a knitted lobster, clams, shrimp, sardines, squid and oysters. Jenkins initially started this pretty niche knitting project in a bid to draw attention to her more traditional knitted clothing items, but her knitted delicacies have since taken on a life of their own.
Now, I know what you may be thinking - it's pretty impressive but is there much demand for it? Well, a lot of her pieces have been used in various art shows or displayed in certain esteemed venues. For instance, Jenkins made a crocheted escaping lobster which was displayed at the National Lobster Hatchery.
"I have always crocheted since being taught as a small child taught by my mother and grandmother and have continued to use this throughout my career firstly as a knitwear designer and then as an artist," Jenkins told Bored Panda.
Jenkins always buys the food before crocheting them to allow for a more accurate texture and scale. Back in 2015, Jenkins created her most extensive creation yet, crocheting several items of seafood for a life-size faux fishmonger called "Kate’s Place the Stitchmongers" in London's Alexander Palace.
"Inspired by my love of seafood and all things fishy, I have created an entire fish shop made entirely from wool," she said.
The dedicated artist managed to create all the pieces to perfection entirely by hand in just nine months.
"I had the idea sitting in my mind for years and travelled to see how the fish were displayed in different countries, including the U.K., France, and Japan to name just a few," Jenkins said. "I was then given an opportunity to show at The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexander Palace in 2015 London, and then the project was put into action, giving myself 9 months to create a whole fish counter. I even got into character and dressed up as a fishmonger to complete the whole installation."
Jenkins also revealed that she has always had a "fascination with fish" and tries to make them look as "realistic as possible" using all the materials at her disposal.
"It gives me great pleasure when I manage to perfect a certain type of fish, crustacean or cephalopod and I am constantly looking at ways to improve my techniques," she added.
Last December, she released a very festive-themed knitted Christmas roast which included a very real-looking selection of Brussels sprouts, turkey wings, pigs in blankets all complete with a Christmas cracker.
Jenkins, who trained in fashion knitwear design, discovered her passion for creating knitted food back in 2007.
"My first solo show was in London, where I recreated a café," she recalled. "Since then I have created a crocheted dinner party, a supermarket, a knitted and crocheted garden and knitted an entire fish counter The main reaction I often get is that people smile and laugh."
Right now, Jenkins is working on knitted items in a new food-related theme - baked goods. This new exhibition, titled "Kate's Bakes", will be available at Barcelona's Handmade Festival this May.
While there will be no seafood in this particular exhibition, there will be plenty of cakes, bread and "other baked surprises". Jenkins is planning to tour this new exhibition in other cities such as New York, London, and Paris. If you are interested in purchasing any of Jenkins' crocheted items, they are available on her site.