Text and photography by Ellinor Stigle
It is a beautiful New York Sunday afternoon with promise of spring and smile on winter pale faces. The financial district is empty and deserted. The Federal Reserve is towering over Maiden Lane and my footsteps leave an echo. As rare as this is in Manhattan the silence is spooky and the blue sky over the Wall Street high rises feel very far away. Olek initially suggested that we meet at her gallery which is a step away from my place on quaint Elizabeth Street, and as I am greeted by a Sunday closed sign of her studios office-like building I wish I would have agreed to that suggestion. I do know that Olek is in the building though, since I see her signature colorful crochet bike locked outside on the sidewalk. It looks like a kids lost toy, and just as out of place as I feel. Since I know she is inside waiting for me, I hustle around some more and find a sign entrance with a very financial district looking security guard, that lets me in after properly checking my ID.
As I enter Olek’s floor I find my self in a perfect cubicle like office environment. I knock on the a door and while waiting I half expect the Easter bunny to answer but instead the most beautiful, blonde doll fires of a completely irresistible smile at me. No Easter bunny but it is just like being in a child’s storybook where the door in the closet opens up to an imaginary world full of cotton candy and lollipops. Olek’s studio is a complete rainbow world. Any and everywhere you look are piles of yarn. Every color you can imagine and half crochet pieces on top of each pile. Olek sits down in front of a partly crochet bike which is a collaboration with artist Dev Harlan who has created the projections that dress the piece. She pose for me, and chatter away, in an adorable polish accent and, in front of my eyes, becomes one with her piece. Moments later her door is closed behind me. As I find my way out of the building I wonder if all the office workers in the building knows that in their non color square building, there is a Willy Wonka room tucked away on the 14th floor where a multi colored yarn artist works.
I am pretty sure they don’t.
Working Woman in Red: a Portrait. See it on vimeo.com/20993358
The Room Is Green, The Sky Is pink, PDC, Design Loves Art, March 22nd, LA
Knitting Is For Pus****, September 9th, 2010 - May 31st, 2011
Christopher Henry Gallery, NYC