Crocheted items have been used in different ways, mostly at home. However, one Japanese fiber artist has taken crochet to new heights. She crochets large pieces as playgrounds, to the delight of children in Japan.
It all started in the 1970s when Toshiko Horiuchi Mac Adam had a crocheted sculpture art display when a couple of kids politely asked her if they could climb and play in her crocheted hammock artwork. She nervously agreed. When she saw the kids enjoying themselves climbing and jumping in her sculpture, she came up with the idea of creating playgrounds made of crocheted pieces.
After that, she switched from monochromic work and started using vibrant colors to create “Sculpture for Children”. In 1990, Horiuchi and her husband Charles Mac Adam established Interplay Design & Manufacturing Inc. in Canada (IPC) and Interplay Japan (IPJ) in Japan to pursue her ideas. With the help of structural engineers, she created models of her ideas to work on a project for a National Park in Tokyo. The project opened to public in 1992 which won a national design award. She worked about 10 hours a day, sometimes on her knees, to finish the work. This artwork is still in use and delights numerous children every day.
Horiuchi does not purchase yarn in 50 to 100 gram balls. She orders her yarn in tons. The nylon yarn she uses is durable yet soft. The movement in the shapes is wondrous for kids even if they are disabled.
Since 1992, she has created several playgrounds for kids. Her company in Nova Scotia has created jobs for locals. She has replaced a lot of intense hand work with industrial methods. Her work and imagination has created a transition between fine art and applied art.
For more information about Toshiko Horiuchi Mac Adam’s work and seeing some of her artwork, check out:
Nazanin S. Fard