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“Delicate Tension” at Crosstown Arts

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Brittney Bullock has a story to tell.

"It's a story about laughter, fellowship, and love," she says. It's also about "generational change" and how a traditional craft has evolved into modern street art.

Bullock describes "Delicate Tension," the show she's woven together for Crosstown Arts, as "a collection of multigenerational needlework." The three-day exhibition brings together a unique mix of knitted and crocheted works by artists, hobbyists, and enthusiasts. Some of the collected needle-slingers meet up at local senior centers, while others are members of the Memphis Knit Mafia.

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Knitted objects often mark events in a family's history and are passed down, but that's not always the case. "Delicate Tension" features a well-loved baby blanket and an afghan crocheted in sorority colors, alongside new pieces of work that range from the pretty and practical to the purely ornamental.

"I wanted to tell the story about this change from people doing this very intricate needlework to what's called knit-bombing — people getting together and knitting around objects," Bullock says, comparing abstract needlework artist Morgan Montalvo to Margaret Cook, who meets with her group twice weekly at the Pine Hill Community Center, to create the slippers and elaborate baby clothes that have earned her top honors at area fairs.

"Morgan is making pieces to display in the windows," Bullock says. "She's all about color composition and works on an unusually large scale using really huge needles." The exhibit also includes pieces by multimedia artist Nikkila Carrol who incorporates ceramic figurines into her knitted work.

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