A Global Crochet Icon

22nd January 2021

While most people who crochet can’t start until they have tracked down a pattern they like, textile artist Trevor Smith has a mind already filled with patterns. An artist all his life, in what he sees as the ‘third (and final) phase’ of his career he has become a master at dreaming up (and then hooking up) quirky and clever crochet creations which are now exhibited all over the world.

Trevor with some of his quirky creations (source)

Trevor grew up in outback South Australia where his siblings spent most of their time playing sports or being outside with the animals. Trevor, however, was more interested to learn from his mother who was skilled at knitting, crochet and sewing amongst other things. 

Even as a child, he would hook up Barbie clothes for his younger cousins and even patched together a corduroy safari suit which he wore to his grandmother’s 70th birthday.

His passion for textiles led him to art school where he started to experiment. His ‘first phase’ saw him creating soft sculptures which satisfied his fascination with individual characters. He achieved some success with these works, but as the 1990s wore on, his interest shifted to patchwork. 

His body of breathtakingly beautiful, embellished patchwork items was extensive, but like all good artists, he followed where his creative energies took him and by 2007 he had returned to crochet which had always been a childhood love.

An array of embellished patchwork pieces (source)

Trevor’s crochet output is delightfully esoteric, informed by history, nostalgia, culture and humour. Anyone who lived through the 1960s and 1970s in Australia will be charmed by his crocheted versions of a Mixmaster, vitamiser and a feast of brightly coloured dishes which could easily have adorned the pages of a Woman’s Weekly magazine from the mid-1970s.

Each character is unique and individual (source)

However, Trevor has also continued to explore his interest in the human form and the many varied characters he dreams up. Each and every crocheted figure he makes is an individual, bursting with details which give each piece its own very distinct personality. Each item has no pattern. It is a creation born directly out of Trevor’s imagination and rendered with his very clever hands.

He is the first to admit that he’d never be able to make the same item or figure twice, which makes his work all the more interesting.

Now retired from his 9-to-5 job as the cultural collections officer for the Glenelg Shire Council in Portland, Victoria, Trevor can happily crochet up to 16 hours a day if the inspiration has really taken hold. He sits in front of the TV, with re-runs of his favourite old programs playing and inspiration simply flowing from his fingers into his new creation. And he never seems to run out of ideas. Indeed, he predicts that he has enough ideas to last the rest of his life right now, and more come to him each and every day.

One of Trevor’s many crocheted culinary delights (source)

Trevor represents the kind of artist who has learned, experimented and perfected different techniques and ideas and has allowed his passion to go where it will. This freedom and joy are evident in each of his pieces, which are now displayed in galleries and private homes around the world. Who would have thought that the domestic art of crochet could create such a stir, but Trevor’s work is evidence that with imagination and passion, great things will surely come.

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