Nostalgia is just a kind way to say you don’t like to throw something out.” Astra Dorf is telling me a story about her mother, the artist Dina Knapp. “She had a very aggressive form of cancer, and she was in her room in hospice and I was there starting to clean up. I thought I could slowly get things out the door and she wouldn’t notice. I picked up this fashion magazine full of tabs and the cover was ripped off to reveal a perfume ad. In Sharpie, in her handwriting, was written ‘Keep Forever’. Now how was I ever supposed to throw that away?
The notion of keeping things forever, of using everything and wasting nothing, had always been a part of Dina Knapp’s life and work. For her, everything had a cause. It wasn’t just something that looked pretty. If you are thinking about natural elements in your work, you’re obviously thinking about the greater whole of the planet.”
Dina Knapp never stopped making art, though she transitioned from garments to collages during the latter part of her career. I’m struck by how contemporary and relevant her work still feels – the preoccupation with the Earth and its climate, the offbeat colour sensibility, the organised chaos of the motifs, and even the method of crochet itself.