From September to December, Maker-in-Residence Faith Humphrey-Hill led two virtual workshops and wrote and recorded three machine knitting videos. Her work "Faces of COVID" is on view on State Street south of the main entrance through March 2022. Her guest blog shares her experience collaborating with the public to create her work:
The Portraits of COVID series brings a face to the pandemic and celebrates the lives of twelve Chicagoans lost to COVID-19.
I drew each portrait from a reference photo provided by the families. Being a visual learner this allowed me to get to know each person a little bit. Each portrait consists of a knitted fabric layered beneath a custom stencil on glass. The knitting symbolizes the warmth and connection we have for each other. Stencils are amongst the fastest mediums and reference the mark these individuals left on our community.
The Maker Lab’s craft cutter was used for the custom stencils and the knitting machines for the knit fabric. They were created live in public spaces of the library, allowing me to speak with and share the process with patrons. As a result, this series also provided me a greater appreciation for chance encounters. Embracing little interactions with fellow Chicagoans, grateful that they are here.
Thank you to the families for sharing these images and their stories. I am honored to have been able to get to know these individuals through creating these portraits.
Interested in learning more about the knitting machine? Check out Getting Started, the first video in the knitting machine series.
The Maker Lab is generously supported by Comcast and donors to the Chicago Public Library Foundation.