Sabina Speich is a creator of all things yarn. And when we say all things, we mean all things. From eggs to bacon, pizza to noodle soup, the artist has no limits when it comes to subject matter and creativity. And when she has something in mind – like a pile of chips being smothered in Ketchup – there's no stopping her nifty skills in crochet, even if it's large-scale and covering the floor.
"Art has been my purpose all my life," she says, having grown up in Winterthur, Switzerland, to an artist father who supported her crafts from an early age. When she got older, Sabina attended fine art school in St. Gallen before heading to art college in Switzerland. Here, she graduated with a BA from Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Fine Arts and a master's in fine art and public spheres. Since 2005, she's been a member of Visarte, Visual Arts Association.
Sabina gets heavily inspired by daily life and the "exchange with other people". She'll also scour the internet, TV and social media for ideas. Often, though, it's something edible and heavily greasy. "I'll get the junk food and study it," she explains. "Since I no longer eat fast food myself, I ask others about their experiences with it." Next, she'll photograph it from all corners and start crocheting. "It is freestyle and free-form crochet. I see it as drawing or painting with a crochet hook, wool and yarn. I usually have three months until a giant crocheted piece of food is ready. Crocheting also calms me down immensely."
When it comes to picking out a favourite or two, Sabina points out the cup of noodle soup, fried egg with bacon, and the pizza. "I used to be pretty addicted to unhealthy food," she adds. So crocheting the food is like her own special way of indulgence, although it keeps your body healthy and your mind happy instead. "I'm enjoying my new healthy lifestyle, but through my passions of crocheting these unhealthy things, I still somehow have the satisfaction that this type of food gave me." But it's not just the satisfaction of consuming junk food that gets the creative cogs turning. It's also the fact that her pieces are pretty large. "I love how absurd and bizarre the parts look in their oversized size. I like to laugh a lot about my funny looking art."
Yet despite being humorous, the works actually draw attention to some more serious topics and undertones. "I am interested in investigating things and following up stories," Sabina shares. "With my complex art, I want to uncover grievances and draw attention to things… If you take a closer look, you will notice that everything is very nested and always designed with several levels and media." So when you peel back the layers (which are made of mostly second-hand wool and yarn), you might find something surprising.
Maybe it will be the knowledge that Sabina is helping eradicate unnecessary waste, or maybe it will be a bar code, which Sabina implants into her pieces. When the audience scans it, they can watch the process videos behind her pieces, and they might also be directed to environmental protection websites, "which I fight for".