Diva Zappa's knits are the daughters of invention
Friday 28 January 2011
Frank Zappa's youngest daughter, Diva, 31, has her first UK show of contemporary knitwear art and "couture canvases".
The exhibition, called Bruce, will begin next month at the Maison Bertaux Gallery, which doubles as a tiny cake-shop and tea-room, in London's Soho.
Artworks will include an embroidered photograph of her musician brother Dweezil playing guitar, as well as a photograph titled Dancing, of a colourful "knitwork", hanging from a branch, like a flag. The actual "knit piece" is also in the show.
She explains: "In my canvases I embroider each piece by hand, making them couture canvases."
Zappa prefers to work from a stream of consciousness, without planning a piece's end result. In this way she allows the process of her artwork to unfold naturally.
"When I knit I never know what will happen. I am inspired by all that is around me, light, trees, leaves, colours, breath, sounds, sparks, magic, beauty, frustration, heat, love, coffee, humour, feathers, shadows, smells... everything. It all gets in there somehow."
Her career started when she set up her website business, Hand Made Beauty, in 2002, to sell her knitted and crocheted self-designed clothing, known as "wearable pieces of art".
Her particular speciality is a poncho which can also be a skirt, and a long dress she knitted was worn to the 2009 Grammy Awards by the wife of Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo.
Zappa has described her young knitter's lifestyle as a 97-year-old woman trapped in her body. She uses cashmere and woollen yarns from all over the world, creating hand-made pieces that are a collage-like documentation of her travels. It was only a natural progression for them to evolve into artworks.
Born in Los Angeles, Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen Zappa was, apparently, called Diva by her parents because of her loud voice. She learnt to express her creativity early on. She is the youngest of four children, sister to Moon Unit, Dweezil and Ahmet.
Zappa is also a part-time musician and actress. She has appeared in National Lampoon's Pledge This!, starring Paris Hilton, as well as on TV shows including The Mighty Boosh.
She was taught to knit by the American actress Laurie Metcalf, who is better known for playing Jackie Harris on the American sitcom Roseanne.
Maison Bertaux Gallery, London , W1 (020-7437 6007) 4 February to 1 June
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