The work has passed back from me to my Mam. I knitted a slouchy hat. My Mam has ripped it and is in the process of knitting me something, I’ll find out what it is when I get it. Now that we have both ripped a piece of each others work, we’ve found that when you first see the piece you don’t want to rip it but when you actually come to rip it it’s actually ok and ripping is actually a the action feels quite nice.
Back very early in my project research I was interested in a project where a woman had ripped her mothers knitted work and then re-knit them to make a quilt as a grieving process. I found the project beautiful and thought it was a very meaningful act of knitting. It lead me at the time to consider the unspoken rules of knitting that if someone invests time and knits you something you are not meant to undo the knitting and use the yarn to make something else. At the time I did not really develop it, I did a small drawing of if you were knitting to relax you could have pictures of all the things one ball of wool would be. But at this point I hadn’t developed or really understood what my project was or understood the contextual basis of it so didn’t follow it up.
As I was reading through my blog in preparation for my Viva I came across that post and wanted to revisit it. As I am interested in the process when its not to produce an object as an outcome, it interested me that the object was being undo. I started experimenting by asking my Mam to knit me something that I would rip afterwards so that I could knit her something for her to then rip and begin again. By the knitting and ripping and investing time into someone that doesn’t have a tangible lasting outcome to represent the investment the process mimics investing in someone like in a conversation. In the knitting we can knit each other things that we want to share with each other or show techniques. This knitting narrative differs from the knitting conversation as this piece is an activity that does not help to maintain or create the conversation like the knitting conversation.
Had a tutorial today with Martin and discussed my Viva Voca [Marked presentation of my final year project] and what I will put in my show. I explained what I was thinking about at the moment which is pure process. By this I mean designing where the process or activity is the outcome. This idea goes beyond there being an object outcome so there is no object as one is never made or it is deconstructed. This idea is reflected in the pieces that I am making at the moment. Martin pointed out that at the beginning of my project I was designing objects which progressed to designing activities that made an object but this was not the main outcome to now where I am designing an activity with a lack of object outcome. This is quite a big move from the beginning bit has been one that was not a jump but a gradual movement. And I think I will talk in terms of this in explaining the development of my project in my Viva.
The development of the interactive piece in my show…
[which will be accompanied by the piece of knitting created at Trafalgar Square and pieces of work that demonstrate my process]
I made this animation to communicate an idea of knitting being something that brings people together to have a conversation. Whether the knitting acts as a social crutch that makes the conversation possible, an excuse to have a conversation or something to fidget with together during a conversation it is the act of knitting as a means of having a conversation and not knitting as the production of an object that is important so once the conversation is finished the work is undone as the conversation is finished.
In the show I want to have a piece of knitting that allows people to directly interact with my project. As I am interested in the idea of process that doesn’t use up material as the process is key, I am designing a piece that to knit you rip the work from the bottom so you get a continuous process without an end so to speak or the need for more material to continue. I am still very much in the process of working out how I am going to do it. In my testing I found that you can’t rip from the bottom on pieces that have been knit on two needles but that you can rip circular pieces from the bottom. The drawing continues…
The description of the Milan knitting as a Mandala reminded me of Tupilak‘s which Victor Papanek talks about in the Green Imperative, a very good book. The Coast Inuit’s of Greenland carve and dispose of Tupilak‘s.
“Tupilak, which means ‘harmful ghost’ in most Canadian Inuit languages and dialects, describes small ivory carvings. They fit the hand easily like all true Inuit carvings, and, lack a base, can’t stand ‘properly’. Their function was originally to absorb all the bad and violent feelings and emotions of the carver. Once completed and beautifully finished, the carver would toss the tupilak into the ocean or a brook. This would externalise and get ride of rage and hostilities, and leave the carver and his family cleansed of agression and hatred.” p234, The Green Imperative, 1995
[Later the Danish government and Greenland tourist boards touted the tupilak as sculpture for collection, so Inuit agrression was turned into a commodity for tourists.]
The concept of the tupilak has also effected the idea of pure knitting for relaxation for me, as it has brought further context to the ripping of the yarn once the piece has been knit from the wiping away of the sand in the Sand Mandala’s. The Inuit’s do not have a word for art or design nor to make or to create the nearest Inuit term is ‘to work with’. In Inuit carving they are more concerned with the relationship between the carver and the material than in an end product. I am interested in what happens to the thing as both part of the process that is a circle not a start, middle and end. And also that in consumption does the object need to be consumed instead of being deconstructed and reconstructed so that gaining does not have to require a using up. This means that a gain in say relaxation can be achieved without an increase in what has been consumed. By looking at the object as having no purpose other then the act of making it as the aim allows room to consider how to carry out the act in a sustainable manner without seeing this as something that must be given a purpose or use. To be able to design beneficial processes that don’t require an end use and also do not require a consumption is a more effective way of sustaining than the view that more ‘sustainable’ practise is dual use. [I apologise for the use of Kathryn|English, a rare dialect of the English language]
This is the completed ‘kits’. I gave some out at the event and I also visited Eco Annie’s shop. Unfortunately she wasn’t there but I left her one at the shop.