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News and Crip Culture

The Oh-So-Soft, Oh-So-Fine Art of Sandie Yi


Lulu and I met Sandie Yi through Neil Marcus last year. Neil made sure we saw a book of knitted art that featured some of her good-looking work.

Early this year I saw her do an affecting performance in a group show with Sins Invalid. It was my favorite piece in the show – Sandie went into the audience and asked people to hold her hands, close their eyes and breathe with her. (Better than how it sounds through my writing, I promise.)

But back to her tangible art — this spring she started making wheelchair “cozies” out of yarn. Not “cozies” as in those spongy things that’re supposed to keep your beer cold but usually fail. They’re cozies that go over your wheelchair arms so you don’t have to touch that anything-but-comfortable hard plastic the arms invariably are made from. She was inspired by fellow disability rights activists and made them to raise money for ADAPT; some made it out to May’s anti-budget cuts rally in DC.

Her friend, Sunny Taylor, who’s a wheelchair user and an artist, is actually the one who came up with the idea for the cozies. “I looked at her original one as a blueprint and made new pattern and design for the cozies. At first, I just wanted to make cozies for her as a gift, then I realized that more and more people can also benefit from having these cozies around,” she said.

She showed a harder side with her recent UC Berkeley thesis show (see below), where she used latex and rubber to create her not-quite-as-comfortable but still-cool-looking Re-fuse series. Contact Sandie through her website, Crip Couture.

2 thoughts on “The Oh-So-Soft, Oh-So-Fine Art of Sandie Yi

  1. Sandi Yi and Neil Marcus have work on exhibit in Pro Arts’ current show, “Medusa’s Mirror: Fears Spells and other Transfixed Positions” in Oakland – including the piece in your last photo. There’s a free artist talk on Oct. 7, and the exhibit (also free, of course) is up through Oct. 20, 2011. If you’re in the Bay Area, come see it – it’s a beautiful show, devoted to artists and disabilities. Check Pro Arts website for details. ProArts is right near the Oakland Civic Ctr BART.

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