On saturday there is a knitting event outside the National theatre on the southbank to join in with knit a chair. I am going to go along join in and also I’m going to take some of my little knit for relaxation ‘kits’ to see if I can get some knitters trying them out and getting their feedback. I am aware that current knitters may see this as pointless, but I want to get them to try it and see if it works, and I have deliberately given only relatively small lengths in the kits.
I’ve made a little video that looks at the idea of purely knitting for relaxation and questioning what happens to the piece afterwards. The video can be viewed at vimeo Please comment leaving your views and responses to the video.
Royal Festival Hall
In a ‘quickie’ tutorial with Jimmy, he pointed out that knitting created conversations but I hadn’t given it a context or a direction. So part of my focus was about the conversation i wanted to create, a discussion of how we value and invest in people, especially strangers. The context for this conversation, the questions were printed on tags for people to attach to their work, was how people invest altruistically in knitting for other people and the understanding that the receiver will not truly understand the time or effort invested.
The event went well with members of London knitting meetup group, my friends Lira and Aisling, Aisling’s brother Alex and my wonderful Mam. With cakes kindly baked by Kelly and mars planets we knitted and chatted. What I realised was that lots of conversations and discussions were happening but not the one I had raised in the tags. Apart from one of the questions being confusingly phrased i began to understand that the conversation i was asking people to enter was not relevant to the piece of knitting. A relevant piece of knitting to create conversation about this question would be, say to, ask people to knit or participate in knitting a jumper for a stranger. So understanding this I adjusted this for the Milan piece.
Milan, The Public Design Festival
My workshop Knit the City [on the website but appeared as Knitting Stories in the programme] was part of the first ever Public Design Festival, run by Esterni, who plan to annually repeat the event. The festival looked to bring people into public space as a place for discussion, interaction and a rich cultural experinece.
The question asked this time was that the aim of the piece of collaborative knitting was to create interaction and conversation in a public, therefore the importance was in the making not the finished object, and did people feel that it was ok that the finished item was not functional. With people speaking different languages they added to the knitting during the day, once having risked their lives to reach the centre of the piazza. The answers helped me push the questioning of whether the outcome being the process is valid within the boundaries of knitting and design. A woman wrote that the knitting was like a mantra, when Buddhist monks draw pictures in sand but then wipe it away when it is completed. This opened my thinking up to if the object is not important why not rip knitting once it is completed.
I am now designing ways to explore this. I have made a video, Knitting for Relaxation, so please watch it and give me your feelings and reactions.
Milan and the Royal Festival Hall both went well and have helped develop my project. I will blog about both soon, the flickr pictures for Milan are up so you can check them out at knitme. I have finally got the nerve to write my project description. Feel free to comment I love your feedback!
This project began from a personnel interest in knitting. This developed into an investigation of what knitting was beyond a solitary knitter using a pattern to knit. By undoing, rethinking, and questioning assumed rules I have sought to understand and critique knitting as a practise and a mentality.
In the exploration of knitting I have come to design events and experiences which try to pose and capture the questions of my investigation. I have designed acts of collaborative knitting that use knitting as a means for social interaction, creating narratives and conversations in public space. People are invited to add to the knitting as they wish without the constraints of using a pattern, as copying a pattern to create is not reflective of a creative practise. The outcome of the event is not the finished object instead the act of the group making constitutes the outcome. This asks the question; is the outcome valid within the boundaries of design and knitting? Which has been extended to ask that if the object is not significant as an outcome then should it continue to exist when it could be deconstructed?
I arrived last night in Milan and was met by a friend. I have been to the space and seen some of the other fantastic projects that our part of the public design festival. Now I’m just looking forward to doing the knitting tomorrow!
It’s that slightly strange time where I know how little time I have left but can’t get into uni till tomorrow so I’m working at home and I know I’m not the only one but feeling pretty scared. Waking up nervous in the morning is pretty rubbish but I guess thats what happens. I have the fabric yarn cut for Milano and have started for the Royal Festival Hall. Still trying to spread the word but have had lots of people looking so hopefully it will go well. In capturing the event I am going to be filming the interactions that occur and there narritives for a film that is looking like being what will go into the show with one of the big knits.
I maybe have an idea for another type of much more low key event but I’m not sure yet. I also need to get on and write a project description for the degree show website which I’ve been putting off.
As I am away in Ireland I thought I’d try some little project stuff out. I successfully sent 4 letters out that contain a knitting story for those who receive them to add to and send on but my other idea has been rained off. With the forecast till I leave to be for rain i can’t do what I was planning. I was planning to knit squares with stories attached to them and leave them around for people to pick up and experience as a way for people to read the stories. Although I have knit pieces the weather means they’d just be socked so I shall have to try it on my return to London.
BUT on a much sunnier note, on the 23rd of April I shall be running a knitting workshop in Milan as part of the Public Design Festival. It is one of many events that will be happening at the same time as the world famous Milan furniture fair. Both it and the Royal fesitval hall knit will have a focus on stories as this is the direction I think my project is going. Check out the workshop [knit in the city] at http://www.designpubblico.it/publicdesignfestival/it/home/