Royal Festival Hall and Milan

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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.
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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.

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