BMW Residency: the Knitted Engine

I’m just getting started on a very exciting project – a residency at BMW Plant Hams Hall in Coleshill as part of Lichfield Festival.

Local schoolchildren and staff from BMW Hams Hall  will be joining me to create ‘The Knitted Engine’, a collaborative piece exploring the hidden similarities between engineering and knitting. Traditional knitting and crochet techniques will be used to construct a replica BMW engine – presented as a three-dimensional exploded diagram – in a clash of making cultures.

This is my early (and slightly vague) ‘artist’s impression’ of the finished piece (which, I have to confess was based on elements of a lawnmower engine, rather than a fancy BMW one!).

I’ll be making most of the parts in workshops with the schoolchildren, but I have made a start on my crankshaft, and will add pictures of the work in progress.

The finished piece will first be on display for staff at the BMW plant, and then on show to the public in the South Choir Aisle of Lichfield Cathedral from 11-17 July, as part of the festival. More info here. I’m also running a ‘learn to crochet’ workshop at the festival, details here.

Update: there are 5 posts in total about the Knitted Engine, from initial sketches and workshops to photos of the finished piece. View them all here.

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4 responses to “BMW Residency: the Knitted Engine

  1. As an engineer / knitter, I say “Brava!” This is awesome. Did BMW provide you with CAD drawings to work off of, or an actual dismantled engine? (Or an engine you dismantled yourself?)

    • Hi Mel, thank you! I was based at the BMW plant for a couple of days, so first I looked at some engine parts in one of their workshops just to get an idea of what everything was (and looked round the plant, seeing the production line was ace). Then one of the staff put together a load of diagrams for me, to show how the bits go together and remember the names. That enabled me to get my head round the structure of the engine – and finally I looked in more detail at the engine parts, measuring / photographing / drawing them to give me instructions to work from when I was back in my studio.

  2. Pingback: The Knitted Engine, part 2 | Keep & Share

  3. can i have the pattern. my husband is a mechanic and often dismantles and rebuilds engines. would love to knit this for him…. Caroline

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