"Funk and Flash"
During the 1960s and 70s,
the Arts and Crafts Movement
bursts into Funk and Flash.
Psychedelic colors explode
everywhere in an orgy
Women crochet cloaks
of granny squares and
They knit scarves of
blazing autumn yarn.
They embroider phoenixes
on their jeans and butterflies
on the backs of their vests.
French knots become
jellyfish, flowers, and fairies.
Phalluses spurt joyfully and
the Tree of Life welcomes a seed.
Gender itself becomes an art, a craft,
neither male nor female, or both.
Patchwork covers quilts
and cushions, dresses
and even easy chairs.
There are chairs made
of unfinished wood, too,
and other found objects.
Rope makes a macramé park.
Doors are carved with suns
and flowers, set with windows
of stained glass in yin and yang,
hung with chattering curtains
strung from wooden beads.
It is funky and flashy
and altogether beautiful.
Like the Tree of Life,
it has its roots in the past,
but it blooms in the present,
phantasmagoric and fine.
This is an age of awakening.
* * *
The best guidebook to hippie art is Native Funk & Flash. I was able to find illustrations for many examples in this poem.
This crochet cloak uses granny squares at the hem and other stitches throughout. Crochet uses a hook and yarn to make fabric. Read crochet instructions or watch crochet videos to learn how it works. Here are some patterns for crochet capes and cloaks.
Here is a vintage knit scarf. Knitting uses two pointed needles and yarn to make fabric. Read knitting instructions or watch knitting videos to learn more about it. These are patterns for various knit scarves.
Denim makes a great base cloth for embroidery because it is sturdy and doesn't move or stretch much. The only challenge is getting the needle and thread through it, which can be difficult with crisp new denim but is much easier with old soft denim. Hippies embroidered everything, especially jeans and vests. This one shows the Tree of Life.
Embroidery uses a needle and thread to embellish a background cloth. Read general instructions on embroidery. Read text instructions for stitches and watch videos of stitches. Browse some embroidery patterns. Note that the nature of embroidery means you can use almost any line drawing as a pattern for it. Coloring book patterns work well because they tend to be simple.
These pictures show a fairy and some penises made entirely with French knots. This is one of those stitches that many people find either easy or impossible to do, and it's just an overhand knot. French knots are ideal for pointillist embroidery. Read text instructions for French knots or watch a video for French knots. I could not find patterns made just for French knots. However, their nature means you can use any grid pattern for this stitch, such as those for cross stitch, needlepoint, crochet, or knit patterns. Some people prefer to reverse the pattern and place French knots at the intersection of lines instead of in the squares between lines, which may also depend on the type of fabric you are using. You can make your own patterns if you wish. This is also one of the easiest stitches to freehand without a pattern if you have good visual-spatial intelligence. Much hippie embroidery was done freehand.
Gender rebels have always existed. This page shows Pristine Condition in a spectacular stage costume. The picture is big enough to read the text with its creative workarounds for nonbinary identity in the 1970s.
See the patchwork quilt and patchwork chair. These show different styles of patchwork. Read text instructions for hand sewing a scrap quilt, text instructions for making a patchwork quilt with a sewing machine, and text instructions for 30 different quilt blocks. Watch videos about quilting techniques and projects.
Crazy quilts have been around at least as long as fabric has been around, to use up stray pieces -- or possibly a great deal longer if people did it with furs. Pioneer and slave crazy quilts used prosaic fabrics such as flour sacks or flannel and often had large pieces of former garments stitched in to save time. The key was to fit pieces together like a puzzle to minimize extra work trimming and stitching. Victorian crazy quilts used luxurious fabrics like silk and velvet, often embellishing the seams with embroidery. These earlier versions usually span the whole quilt, but one variation called a string quilt used narrow strips to form blocks that were then assembled. Hippie crazy quilts used the fabrics of their time, including a lot of denim and a wide array of psychedelic prints, occasionally embellished with embroidery or designs drawn on in marker. Note that the Gee's Bend quilters used Sears Corduroy in iconic 1970s colors. Modern crazy quilts often use "crazy blocks" instead of spanning the whole quilt. Over time, the style has become less haphazard and practical, more organized and artistic. But anything that uses a pattern is NOT a real crazy quilt, which by nature is random. Crazy patchwork can be used to make other things besides quilts, such as pillows, chair covers, or couches.
This log chair has a rustic look. Log furniture uses unfinished or semifinished wood. Hippies loved using found materials and cherished the natural appearance. Read text instructions for making log furniture and log chairs.
While normally used for smaller projects, macramé can be any size, such as this macramé playground. Macramé uses rope, yarn, or other cord to make patterns with knots. Read text instructions for doing macramé and tying different knots. Explore some macramé patterns.
Beaded curtains provide partial closure and decoration of a door or window, like this one with wooden beads. They come in many styles, though. Read printed instructions on how make a beaded curtain.
Here you can see doors with woodcarving and stained glass windows.
Woodcarving uses tools to cut wood into decorative shapes. This page offers text and video tutorials on woodcarving for beginners. Read text instructions on how to build a basic door.
Stained glass pieces together bits of colored glass to make pictures. Here are basic text instructions. These text instructions go into much more detail. Read text instructions on how to make a stained glass door. Browse patterns for stained glass projects. Due to its nature, you can make stained glass images from any line art that is fairly simple and has lines that all touch each other. Again, coloring book art is often ideal, and there are 'stained glass' style coloring books that are perfect for this use.
You can see that hippie art made much use of found materials. Upcycling is not new; it goes back to repurposing broken handaxes and wiping charcoal on cave walls. Read text instructions for upcycling and projects you can make.