863 Readers’ Art: Giant Knitted and Crocheted Clothing

863 Readers’ Art: Giant Knitted and Crocheted Clothing
By The 863 Magazine

A studio art major at FSC, local artist Dez Lyons created giant knitted and crocheted clothing to explore “Women’s Work.” 

Polk County native Desiree “Dez” Lyons has always been creative, she says.  

“Big Red Mittens” 73” x 60” each, knitted. Photo provided to The 863 Magazine.

“I started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil and grew fascinated with animation,” Lyons says. 

Two years in a Baltimore culinary school drew her attention to subjects such as sugar sculptures and creative cake decorating. But then while working at a hotel, she had to have surgery and physical therapy on her hands due to a nerve injury. 

“I could not hold a pencil, but I found that I could manipulate knitting needles and crochet hooks in a way that they could also enhance my physical therapy,” she says. “I had dabbled with them previously, but nothing really more than an occasional scarf. I used this time to start experimenting with other objects and stitches.” 

In 2016 Lyons began working towards her bachelor’s degree and enrolled in the art program at Florida Southern College, majoring in studio art.

“In Memory Of Sharon Tillman” sweater 78” x 60”, crochet. Photo provided to The 863 Magazine.

“I had been self-taught up to that point, but after enrolling in the program I was able to explore other mediums that I would never had dared to try. I’ve found that I enjoy making art that has an element of construction to it,” Lyons says. “I find that the feminine association attached to yarn creates a great juxtaposition with the masculine association attached to building and constructing.”

Most recently, Lyons, who is a collector of vintage knitting and crochet books, has been working on giant clothing and minimalistic art tapestries. She says in doing so, she’s come to learn a lot about the art category known as “Women’s Work.” 

“There is a long history attached to (the Women’s Work art category) that would take a thesis paper to even scratch the surface on,” Lyons says.

Lyons, inspired by the work of Sandra Backlund who creates some ‘insane knitted sculptures,’ says the sheer size of the objects she makes has forced her to come up with creative solutions for everything from design to display. Being able to take her projects with her in their early stages is helpful, she says, and adds that art like hers in the category of Women’s Work is extremely important. 

“Best Gift Ever” socks 108” x 24” each, knitted. Photo provided to The 863 Magazine.

“Growing up, I was taught that the only art worth pursuing was painting and drawing, and only if you were good enough at it to make money. Recognizing the artistry of Women’s Work can help people recognize the art that surrounds them every day. While not as revolutionary as the work of the 9th Street Women, I feel that acceptance of Women’s Work as art is a stepping stone in bringing gender equality into an otherwise male-dominated subject.”

Follow Desiree Lyons on Instagram: @dezdeedoodles.