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Inga Hamilton


Inga Hamilton Jelly-fish - made from crocheted plastic bags, packing foam and strapping tape. Photo by Aaron and Cassandra Ott.

Inga contacted us in 2007 just a few months before the Chicago exhibition was due to go up. We knew from the moment we saw her work that we Had to have some of her jelly-fish forms in the show. Inga makes jellies and other marine organisms from recycled packaging materials like the tubular foam that is packed around bicycles, used soda bottles, old strapping tape and any other colorful plastic waste. She is a queen of recycling and we are in awe of her deft hand with an Exacto-knife. Oh, and she also makes the most incredible crochet coral mounds!

Inga Hamilton and her husband Andy, with Inga's coral mounds at the opening of the Crochet Reef exhibition, Chicago.

Seen above and below are pictures of Inga's two awesome wall-mounds at the IFF exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center in Fall 2007. Inga came all the way from Bangor in Northern Ireland - along with her husband Andy - to help us install the Chicago show. What possessed us to think we could do it without their help we will never know. They were angels sent from heaven - and heaven knows we are forever in their debt.

Inga Hamilton coral mound. (Collection of Lisa Yun Lee)

Here is what Inga says about herself:

Inga Hamilton was born to a dressmaker and a sewing machine engineer - that meant working with fibre was her destiny whether she liked it or not! After working variously as a costume maker to puppets, an editor and a writer, Inga finally came back to fibre fiddling after a 30-year lapse and began crocheting, spinning and knitting in earnest in 2007.

Her coral reef began as a project to fill the time whilst recovering from an operation, but soon grew and spawned into something that's taken over every room of her house and any spare moment she has. A chance podcast led her to approach and become involved in the IFF's Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef and she hasn't had a moment's breath since.

Inga's work attempts to release the inner beauty hidden in household and commercial waste materials and to challenge the public's view of rubbish and recyclables. Working mostly in discarded materials, her work inspired the decorations for more than 80 LUSH cosmetic shop windows across the UK for Christmas 2007, many of which featured her "Joy Tree" created from used plastic water bottles.

2008 will see Inga's Coral Collective project launch in The Royal Hospital, Belfast. She will also be helping to wrap a gas station in Syracuse, NY with the International Fiber Collaborative; putting together a show with her husband Andy, for 2009; and she will of course, continue to be involved in IFF's shows.

More (much more) of Inga's work can be seen here on her website. Make sure to check out the "Joy Trees":

Inga's Jelly-fish wall installation made from packaging foam and soda bottles, at the Chicago Cultural Center.