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Hundreds of hours, thousands of stitches, miles of yarn, dozens of ends I didn’t weave in.
Five human heads.
My Senior thesis as an art student was the culmination of eight years wondering if I could do with amigurumi what Michelangelo had done with marble (well, to a degree, obviously). The question started way back in 2010 when I completed a few two-foot human figures based on characters from the BBC. They were highly caricaturized in detail and proportion to accommodate the medium and their scale: they have wide, fish-stare eyes and no mouths on their faces; big heads on skinny necks; large hands to allow for individual fingers. Still, their faces have shape— they have brows, noses, cheekbones, and chins.
So… Could I actually recreate the structure of a human face? With anatomical precision? In crochet?
This remained a potential for crochet experimentation that I would fail to further explore— until I was standing in one of the galleries on my college campus, with an opening reception looming on the horizon and finally, the perfect arena in which to give this idea some legs.
Worsted weight yarn held double
Size K Furls Odyssey Hook
2 10lb boxes of polyester fiberfill
Hundreds of hours
The first head I made was a proof of concept. I did it, he looked vaguely human!
The second head built on what I had learned from the first: bigger cranium, a different approach in the jaw-to-neck transition. There were still plenty of anatomical whoopsies. I wasn’t there yet.
In the end, I crocheted a total of five human heads, from the top of their craniums down to their collarbones, and then I decided I’d add a giant anatomical heart to help link them all together, why not.
This definitely isn’t your grandmother’s crochet.
In all of the heads, the facial features are established using common crochet shaping techniques - increases and decreases in single crochet. Once stuffed, the separate ears and the eyelids are sewn on; otherwise, the entire head is worked in one continuous spiral, as I do with my amigurumi.
Out of all of them, there is a clear outlier. One of the heads is actually a passable portrait of her picture reference: with a few more attempts, I might even be able to make them look exactly alike.
Eight years later and here was my answer: I could actually recreate the structure of a human face. With almost perfect anatomical precision. In crochet.