Day by day my sukkah’s harvest grows as I grab moments to work on the basket of fruits and vegetables. My harvest bowl now contains etrogs, lemons, red and green apples, a cluster of grapes, and banana, cucumber, corn-on-the-cob, and acorn squash.
The acorn squash and red apple were completed during our field trip to Greensgrow Farm, and the banana and corn cob came to life during my Sunday afternoon demonstrations at the 2007 Philadelphia Area Knit (and Crochet) Out at the Philadelphia Convention Center. I was especially gratified by the enthusiastic responses of so many Knit Out participants to my demonstrations of plastic bag knitting (and crochet), and to the knitted sukkah decorations I’ve been working on. We scrambled to find enough plastic bags to slice and knot into yarn, and experimented with the “inside out” knitting technique I’ve extended from the double knit bears to the fruits and vegetables. There was also a chance to show one of the youngest visitors to the event how to fingerknit – it’s always a treat to introduce little ones to handcrafts. You can read more about Sunday’s Knit Out here.
It’s been difficult to get harvest baskets out of my mind, and the chance to return to Arcimboldo’s organic portrait paintings reminded me of another one that’s especially appropriate to Sukkot and the time of year. Arcimboldo’s many paintings were, in Mannerist style, visual puns that employed thematically-appropriate visual elements (such as a crowd of sea creatures in Water). The Vegetable Gardener (c.1590) (link) is another of these visual puns.
While some friends think my knitted harvest is amusing enough, I’ll have to see whether I can arrange my fruits and vegetables into a portrait by the time Sukkot arrives.