Schmidt Equipment Provides Excavators for Giant Flag

Mon August 22, 2005 - Northeast Edition
Kate Zanoni

If only Betsy Ross were alive today, surely she would be proud of artist Dave Cole’s patriotic creation.

It took two 30-ft. (9.1 m) long John Deere excavators and a team of Cole’s assistants to hold up his 20-ft. (6.1 m) by 11-ft. (3.4 m) wide American flag in the courtyard of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) in North Adams.

The excavators, provided by Schmidt Equipment, held two 25-ft. (7.6 m) long, 125-lb. (56.7 kg) knitting needles made from utility poles. In addition, nearly a mile of red, white and blue acrylic felt was cut into 18-in. (45.7 cm) wide strips to make the flag.

To stitch the strips together, Cole and his crew used the two excavators to steady the material as Cole stood on a boom lift and stitched the flag together with a 5-ft. (1.5 m) long fishing gaff.

By the end of the project, Cole knitted more than 700 giant stitches with his “Knitting Machine.”

Cole began knitting in college to help him concentrate on his studies and combat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

As an artist, Cole is no newcomer to creating art by using unconventional techniques. He created his first metal sculpture at the age of four and learned how to use welding for his creative projects at age 11.

The exhibit, “Dave Cole: The Knitting Machine,” will run through September at the Mass MoCA.

For more information, call 413/662-2111.