This is not your typical crochet done with yarn. It’s wire. And it’s 3D. Anne Mondro, the Artist in Residence at the Icelandic Textile Center, is using crochet to make us think about illnesses and diseases in a whole new way.

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Using narrow-gauged tinned copper wire and a pair of crocheting needles crochet hook, she created 3D sculptures in the shape of anatomical hearts. Mondro spent a year researching the anatomy of the heart, including time at the U-M anatomy lab and using 3D modeling software to learn how to create the heart forms with her crochet needles hook.

The idea of the sculpture is to reflect on the strength and challenges of relationships during times of illness and disease. Mondro believes creative work and healthcare play integral roles with each other. In 2006 she developed a course called Retaining Identity. In it, art and design students pair with persons with dementia in order to explore the role of creativity in the healthcare setting. The course works with the U-M Geriatric Center to explore the potential of art to lift the human spirit in times of illness.

This piece is very personal. I’ve been working with older adults with memory loss and their caregivers. It’s so intense to be a caregiver. When you care for a loved one, the two of you become intertwined. You take on their vulnerabilities but also their strengths. As I thought about that relationship, it was important that these forms be tied together somehow.

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You can see more of her work at the University of Michigan site for the School Of Art And Design.