My eye always follows line. I was the kid on the block that could always untangle the kite string. I could find 4 leaf clovers because it’s an X in a field of Y, I could find pattern immediately.
I’m now researching a knitted silk stocking found in a shipwreck off the coast of the NL from 1735. The curator thought that the stocking was of the same age, but it’s not. The stocking is about 100 years earlier than that. I believe that the stocking was a treasure belonging to one of the passengers. It’s similar to those in paintings by Rembrandt.
You can use knitting to make a case for so many aspects of life: mental health and well-being, identity, heritage; personal as well as industrial heritage; sustainability now. I’m interested in where we go with textiles. It’s important that we attend to what we do with textiles in everyday life and how these skills help us out in the future.
With knitted glass, people look and then they look again. That’s what every artist dreams of. If somebody looks twice at your work. They’re actually seeing it. They’re not just seeing what their mind tells them that it is, and putting it in a category and walking away. That’s a big deal.
I’m an architect and I’ve always liked spaces that you could modify somehow. Very minimal background and you can completely change the room with a vase of flowers or a piece of art. I thought wouldn’t it be cool if I knit a base sweater that has component parts that can be changed. I’ve thought about it a lot, a round necked sweater with ¾ length sleeves and you can change the collars and cuffs and just button through.
Holding this yarn and connecting with people about making something was transformational for me. I was making something from nothing, I could feel it run through my fingers. Going to a yarn shop, touching all that yarn felt so good. That led me to a path to eventually go to trauma therapy and do a lot of healing. Knitting saved my life
Knitting is all about it being stretchy, soft and malleable. It made me think about how flexible it is, not just that the material is flexible: you can take it on the train, to a meeting or when you are half-watching your children; in contrast to my sample which is laser cut which is this rigid thing.
Even at a young age I remember the excitement of looking at possibility. I still feel the same when I come across materials like that now in a charity shop, vintage market or a haberdashery store, it’s like being in a sweetie shop.
I must have been the only teenager hand-knitting socks. I’ve knitted socks for years and years now. I knitted them for myself, I don’t think anyone else wanted any. I’ve been married for 30 years next month, and my husband just will not wear the socks that I knit.
A few years ago I was the only frame knitter left, with 20 machines to use. It takes months and months of practice, slowly building up, to learn how to do one thing and gain control over the machine. I started building up a team of enthusiasts from scratch that’s now up to 7-8 people.