Making projects

Betty and Beary and their excellent knitwear

Sunday, March 2, 2014

After a break from blogging - due to being busy relocating from Hereford to Leeds (read more) - I'm back with another childhood making-related gem!

This time, it's my doll Betty (notable for her problem hair) and bear Beary (notable for his imaginative name) - and their awesome garter stitch knitwear. Betty's jumpsuit was definitely made by my mum... and the provenance of Beary's jumper is lost in the mists of time, though I, for one, would rather like to recreate its graphic simplicity in adult size.

In other news: PhD amendments approved, so I am all done! I've put the thesis abstract and some excerpts from the conclusion - including my key insights - on the website, here. If you'd like to read the full document, please contact me for a download link!

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Cave painting in a Vitalite tub

Monday, November 25, 2013

I've found a rich seam of material to mine in the 'things I made when I was young' theme. 

I've already shown you the first thing I (probably) sewed, and an over-accessorised donkey

But my making wasn't restricted to sewing and knitting - as demonstrated by this beautifully preserved (by my mum) 'Cave painting in a Vitalite tub'. 

Vitalite tubs = making in our house, being the ideal receptacle for all manner of craft materials. And versatile, too! This one provided the mould for my work of art, and then kept it protected so it could be photographed for a blog 25(ish) years later.

More childhood making coming soon!

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Superdonkey

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

As a bit of light relief from my thesis-related blog posts, I thought I would share another of my childhood making projects, which has somehow survived to the present day (minus one mitten).

I cannot recall exactly why I chose to knit a bonnet, jumper, cape and mittens for this donkey puppet ... but I'm glad I did!

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The first thing I ever sewed (maybe)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Apropos of not much really, I thought I would show off my brown corduroy bear (or maybe it's a cat).

think it's the first thing I ever sewed, by myself. Unfortunately the annals of Twigger history didn't record how old I was ... we think maybe six.

I have a very vague memory of sitting in my parents' bedroom (where the sewing stuff was kept), making it. 

Here's my mum's memory: 'I remember thinking I could have explained about seams usually being on the inside if I'd been consulted prior to construction but managed not to say it at the time as you were so pleased with it...'

And I'm still pleased with it now! Particularly the experimental use of grain, and disregard for the conventions of matching thread colour... plus the backstitching is pretty good, considering.

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Little odd unexpected things

Friday, June 28, 2013

In my last post, I showed some photos I'd taken at the Leach Pottery in St. Ives - and promised I would document my own studio in a similar way.

It's been an interesting little exercise, which made me look in a slightly different way at the stuff I use every day. I've mainly focused on tools - there's something nice about the bits and pieces that are used in the process of making.

Of course, this visual snapshot doesn't show the piles of yarn, piles of knitwear and piles of paper also surrounding me... 

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Pilgrimage to the Leach Pottery

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I seem to be using up all my words on my thesis (6 chapters done now!), conference papers (available here), book chapters and funding bids at the moment. Not too much brain-space left over for blog posts!

So here's a visual blog post, from my visit to the Leach Pottery in St. Ives last month. I found it quite moving to be in the former workspace of a maker I have read a lot about - and particularly special to see the homemade tools, and little odd unexpected things, around the workshop. 

On Thursday, I'll do a follow-up post documenting the tools and such around my own studio...

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ATH + Jayfor

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It’s been a while since my last post… so much going on, it has left little time for reflection and communication. Anyway, to make amends, here is the story of the making of a new stitch-hacking piece.

Update: see images of the finished piece here

ATH + Jayfor is on display at an exhibition titled WOW: wonder of wool and the art of knit and stitch, at Rheged in Penrith until 15 April. Also on display is my Knitted Engine, and work by a stellar lineup of contributors, including Deirdre Nelson, Freddie Robins, Rachael Matthews, Annie Shaw, Celia Pym and many others. The exhibition is curated by Trevor Pitt of Pod Projects.

Here’s the blurb about the piece that I wrote for the exhibition:

Title: ATH + Jayfor
Materials: Found wool/nylon jumper, nylon yarn
 
Stitch-hacking involves the laddering and re-forming of stitches in existing knitted fabric. This technique has been developed by Amy and allows her to create structural patterns within found knitted garments. For this piece, she has taken the text from the label of an old jumper and transposed it to the body of the garment, ‘embossing’ it into the structure of the plain knitting. Amy has also recorded herself within the work, through the inclusion of swiss-darned text. 
 

This work plays with questions of authorship and ownership. The original manufacturer made the stitches, and their information has been made dominant on the garment. However, Amy has physically made the piece her own through the attention and painstaking practical work of her intervention. Through pieces such as this, Amy wants to celebrate the craft of knitting in all its forms – industrial and domestic – and to encourage others to tinker with mass-produced objects, which we often see as ‘closed’.

 

COMMENTS FROM ORIGINAL BLOG POSTING:

 

learningwithproblems 

Muy interesante su obra!

 

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14GB

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Let’s have another story in pictures – this time showing the stitch-hacking of my most recent piece, ’14GB’.

Update: see images of the finished piece here

14GB is on display in the Made in the Middle exhibition, along with three other stitch-hacked pieces and my pattern-blagged Shetland lace shawl (more info about those pieces here). Here’s some information about the exhibition:

Made in the Middle is an open exhibition originated by Craftspace and selected by an expert panel. Previously showing contemporary craft from the West Midlands, this year the exhibition has been expanded to include the East Midlands and celebrate creative practice across the whole region. This exhibition brings together 35 makers whose diverse practice reflects the wealth of high quality work produced across the region and the talent nurtured in the Midlands. 

The exhibition is at mac in Birmingham until 15 April, then it will tour the region for another fifteen months (further information on each venue can be found via the exhibition website):

The National Centre for Craft & Design, Sleaford, Lincolnshire 28th April – 1st July 2012

Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford 15th September 2012 – 27th October 2012

Rugby Art Gallery and Museum 15th January – 9th March 2013

Bilston Craft Gallery 23rd March 2013 – 11th May 2013

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery 25th May 2013 – 6th July 2013

At the preview of the exhibition at mac, I was delighted to be awarded the prize for ‘Best Overall Exhibit’. All those hours spent hacking and blagging were worth it…

COMMENTS FROM ORIGINAL BLOG POSTING:

Lois Parker 

so clever

 

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Printmaking

Monday, October 31, 2011

I’ve just spent a lovely weekend at Llanthony Art in the Black Mountains of Wales, doing a fantastic woodcut printmaking workshop taught by painter/printmaker Veronica Gibson. I’ve wanted to try woodcut printmaking for ages – there’s something about the quality of the images that really appeals to me.

I’m definitely going to do more woodcuts, having done this star as a first attempt – but the surprise of the weekend was collagraph printing. Whilst playing I created this series of images, using knit and crochet samples and the printing press.

I love the simple collagraphs, which show off the structure of the fabric so well. And exciting things were starting to happen with embossing the fabric textures into the paper, especially with further woodcut prints on top, which really brought out the structure.

Can’t wait to do more, could someone arrange some more hours in the day please?!

COMMENTS FROM ORIGINAL BLOG POSTING:

Gemma Latham 

  1. They are beautiful, like little knit x-rays. Love the emboss effect.

  2. Thanks Gemma! Yes, somehow they show off the structure of the fabric better than the piece itself, especially the x-ray ones!

  3. Cool! Going to look up ‘collagraphs’ now.

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Stitch-hacking and pattern-blagging at Prick Your Finger

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tomorrow I’m off to set up a exhibition of my work at London knitting mecca Prick Your Finger. I’m focusing on stitch-hacking and pattern-blagging, two techniques that I’ve developed over the last couple of years:

Stitch-Hacking the laddering and reconfiguration of stitches in an existing knitted garment

Pattern-Blagging the modification of an existing knitting or crochet pattern to create a personalised item

The techniques are used to adapt existing garments and patterns to include personalised content. On a conceptual level, these pieces explore authorship and ownership; on a personal level, they allow me to put something of myself into my wardrobe.

Update: the original post included images and descriptions of the pieces in the exhibition. That information can now be found on each item's project page:

Who Made This? stitch-hacked cardigan

20.11.09 - 1976 pattern-blagged crochet smock

Amy 2010 stitch-hacked cardigan

St Michael - 12 - 40 stitch-hacked cardigan

1.12.2010 - 1.10.2011 pattern-blagged Shetland lace shawl

Want to have a go? I’m running a stitch-hacking workshop at Prick Your Finger on Saturday – enquiries/bookings to the shop on 020 8981 2560.

The exhibition will be on for 6 weeks or so – private view tomorrow from 6pm, all welcome so hope to see you there! (260 Globe Road, E2 0JD, nearest tube: Bethnal Green)

COMMENTS FROM ORIGINAL BLOG POSTING:

tomofholland 

  1. Amy, thank you so much for the workshop, I really enjoyed learning new skills. I hope to be able to post a hacked garment soon!

    Amy 

  2. Lovely post from the Prick Your Finger blog about the exhibition, private view and workshop: click here

    Tom – thanks for coming, it was great to meet you and I can’t wait to see what you hack!!

  3. And another post about the stitch-hacking work, from the Folksy blog: click here

    fitterknitter.com 

  4. This is so cool. Can’t wait to try it.

 

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