It may not have happened the way he ex- pected, but Ramekon O’Arwisters ’ 82
eventually became a man of the cloth.
O’Arwisters, who was known as Timothy Tyrone Taylor when he entered UNC,
earned a master’s of divinity degree at
Duke, aiming to be a pastoral psychologist.
He wanted to listen to others because so often he felt no one wanted to listen to him.
“If you are gay and black, people don’t
Have You a Little Fairy in Your Home? 2013, rag rug with fabric, glass, fur and leather, by Ramekon O'Arwisters ' 82.
listen to you,” he said. “They don’t want
to hear your story because it’s either too
painful for them or too much reality. So
instead they judge it and prohibit it and
want to stop it.”
He never was ordained. Instead, his
interest in people and their stories led him
to became an artist, using textiles and
fibers to express his identity and to help
others express theirs. Last fall, he brought
one of his Crochet Jams, as he calls them,
ful of people looping strips of fabric into
strands for rag rugs. “Whatever we make
together is art. And we’re going to sleep on
it or hang it on the wall and not judge it.”
As a resident artist in 2013 at the
De Young Museum in San Francisco,
O’Arwisters picked up on rag rugs, a me-
dium associated with African-American
women and economic struggle. He de-
signed large, easy-to-use wooden crochet
hooks and invited participants to bring in
their old clothing. That was the beginning
of the Crochet Jam.
“I figured it was time to let go of my
angst about the art world because it wasn’t