Cobi Benton  |  Fibers  |  Arizona

Artist Statement

Knitting is my passion and has been for a long, long time. Baby sweaters are my specialty. When I am knitting, the world could fall apart and I would not notice. My Dutch Grandmother, Jacoba (Coba), taught me to knit at a very early age.

I knitted for the soldiers in World War II. In those days the soldiers liked to wear knitted dark khaki green or brown pullover sweaters. There was a group that encouraged us to make hand-knit sweaters for them. When my three sons were little they could literally burn the house down and if I was knitting everything was fine. My husband didn't like to watch TV alone and since I was an avid reader I could not respond at the appropriate laugh times, so I took up knitting again. I started keeping a photo album of my creations, dating back to 1972. One picture is of my Grandniece wearing a baby poncho from about 36 years ago. I am so delighted now to have a picture of her daughter Sophie wearing the very same poncho.

The process of counting, following directions, formulating designs in my mind, as well as referring to inspiring books, convinces me that knitting wards off senility; I hope. It is pure enjoyment to make each unique hand knitted garment and I hope they become treasured and give pleasure.

Q&A with Cobi Benton

What inspires you to create and what inspires your work?  My Dutch Grandmother (Jacoba) who. taught me to knit. The thought of using different projects to use various stitches and methods.

If you had to describe your artwork in 5 words or less, what words would you use?  Knitting is calming and productive.

What's your favorite art work?  Favorite works: Everywhere I see an interesting pattern or combination of colors.

What do you want your viewers to know about you as an artist (if anything?)  This is my 90th year (2017), I will celebrate my 90h Bday in October.  I hope to continue my good health and positive attitude to life for many more years.

What's the best advice you've ever been given?  To be a positive person, life is good today and tomorrow will be even better.

What is your favorite artist tool?  Of course, my collection of knitting needles (currently I like the wooden ones) and mylibrary of knitting books.

What is your dream project?  An unusual baby sweater pattern and unusual colors with interesting buttons to complete.

What do you like about your work?  The calming effect and a sense of pride in the completed garment.

How has your practice or process changed over time?  Not a great deal, however I believe my earlier work was more exacting.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?  Thank you's and some lovely photos of babies & children wearing my creations.

Why art?  It is what I have done for over 75 years and the only 'art' work I am good at.