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On display in Corvallis: Crocheted donuts show art is what you make it

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Owen Premore is breaking down the stigma that men do not belong in fiber arts.

He combines his passions for crochet and interactive installations to create unique artwork that wouldn’t normally come to mind when one thinks of the word “art,” including a series of intricately crafted crocheted donuts, pandemic-inspired steel installations and even a crocheted dissected frog.

“I like to combine the two, the hard and the soft,” Premore said. “Men still get tripped up by the crochet work — it’s still a stigma for fiber arts and masculinity. Combining those two is a way to break that down.”

Premore is the directing curator of “Art About Agriculture,” presented by the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University. He tries to reuse materials as much as possible in his artwork, and gets most of his supplies from the university’s surplus store, OSUsed.

Premore’s grandmother taught him to crochet when he was 7 years old, and he began incorporating other art forms into the practice while he was studying spatial art at San Jose State University.

Premore used to work as an exhibit repair maintenance technician for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and would travel for several weeks at a time. He crocheted for hours at a time in hotels, and started making the donuts as gifts for technicians on the road.

“It was a way for me to keep making objects,” he remembered. “The colors and textiles in crochet are amazing. It’s hard to match.”

Premore even dabbled in crocheted cupcakes but said that was much harder to do than donuts. He does not use patterns but rather plans out each piece as he works on it.

“I like the math involved — it’s like 3D printing,” he said. “Each stitch is kind of like a pixel.”

The interactive pieces are a comment on the last two years of the pandemic, Premore said, and they can be interpreted in many ways. Both the crochet and interactive pieces have humorous aspects to them, which Premore said is one of the most important things to him as the artist.

“It gives people a chance to laugh and reflect, but humor often has a deeper meaning,” he said. “Having an opportunity to showcase experimental art like this is so valuable.”

Premore’s artwork will be on display at the Truckenbrod Gallery, 517 SW Second St., for the Corvallis Art Walk from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 17. The gallery is also open 1 to 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Joan Truckenbrod, who opened the gallery about three years ago, said she is excited to showcase Premore’s work because she is always thinking of ways to engage and educate the community.

“I enjoy introducing people to things they may not consider as art,” Truckenbrod said. “And that inspires them to make things themselves.”

Joanna Mann covers education for Mid-Valley Media. She can be contacted at 541-812-6076 or Joanna.Mann@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter via @joanna_mann_. 

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Joanna Mann (she/her) is the education and food & drink reporter for Mid-Valley Media. She has a bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Oregon. When she's not breaking the news, she can be found crocheting and taking pictures of her cat, Lulu.

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