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COMFORT TENT

 

In the Fall of 2017 I took a class through MIT's Art, Culture, and Technology program called Art, Architecture, and Urbanism in Dialogue taught by Azra Aksamija. My final project for the class was crocheting a tent that was meant to represent my personal space of comfort. I used the pattern of a granny square to make the tent, a basic crochet pattern that is often one of the first thing people learn when they start crocheting.

 

The quilt-like crochet piece was laid over the base structure of a camping tent. This way, the structure was collapsible, so it could be transported easily and taken down or put it up when needed. It was meant to behave kind of like the original tent, but less practical and more symbolic, allowing one to shelter themselves from the outside world, while surrounded by things that make them feel at home.

 

The temporary-ness of the space was inspired by the situation in many refugee camps, where permanent spaces that weren't approved by the UNHCR are not allowed. It also stems from the need for more spaces of comfort in places like this. This space is currently tailored to me specifically, but it is meant to be be altered in material/method/design to fit other people’s lives or living situations, so it could fit their definition of comfort instead of mine. 

 
 

To accomplish all the crocheting, I crowdsourced labor from friends and family, who I taught how to crochet in exchange for them helping me make granny squares. I used several different shades of blue yarn that people could choose from when they helped me, so in the end I had a patchwork of everyone's work. I chose the color blue for this tent for a few reasons. For one, many people associate blue and other cool colors with comfort, relaxation, and calmness. This is why I originally gravitated towards the color when starting this project. It also a reference to the Al Azraq refugree camp in Jordan - Azraq means blue in Arabic.

When I taught people how to crochet, I started noticing a trend in the conversations we had while working. Everyone loved how zen it made them feel, and how it provided a break from the normal fast-paced, stressful life that most college students lead. Much like this experience, the tent separates you from the world, letting you take a step away from your life for a moment to experience comfort and zen-ness.