For my PhD project, I’m looking at ways to intervene in an existing piece of knitwear. I’ve constructed a scarily complex flow chart of possible ‘treatments’, and I’m planning to knit samples to show the possibilities. I’m starting with plain ecru machine-knitted panels, and using bright red yarn to show what has been changed. Later on I’m planning to do some treatments to garments, to show them in context.
As I started to knit the samples, I realised that I would need to photograph them at each stage in order to show how they were done – otherwise I would have a pile of finished samples and just a pile of scrappy notes. My aim is that the techniques could be used by others, so the ‘how to’ information is really important.
I’ve started my sampling with treatments that open the fabric along a row, and extend, replace or shorten the knitting. I thought I’d share one of them here for feedback: ‘replace section’. I’d love to know what you think – do you get a sense of how this has been done? What additional information would you need to recreate it yourself?
Leaving our open studios in the capable hands of Marissa, I’m off tonight to the Making Futures conference at Dartington Hall in Devon. In the words of the organisers, the purpose of the Making Futures project is to improve understanding of the ways in which the contemporary crafts are practiced in relation to significant and new developing agendas relating to global environmental and sustainability issues.
I’ll be presenting a paper based on my PhD research so far, entitled ‘Fashion Diggers: transgressive making for personal benefit’. Here’s a link to the abstract – and above is a word cloud of the paper, giving you a taste of its contents (I’ll post a link to the full paper when it’s online).
There are lots of other presentations that I’m looking forward to (particularly the keynote by Kate Soper) and I’m hoping to meet craft friends old and new….
Having successfully negotiated the first hurdles of my PhD by passing the PgCert in Research Practice, my next challenge is a meeting on Monday where a faculty panel takes a look at my proposal. Here’s the summary of what I’m aiming to do:
Enabling fashion ownership through material intervention in knitted garments
This research will explore the potential of material intervention to address the personal wellbeing issues of contemporary mass-produced fashion. It employs a central metaphor which treats fashion as a commons, comparing a shared fashion culture with a shared land resource, and draws on the activist repertoire of groups seeking fair access to land along with emergent strategies of design activism.
The motivations for and barriers to individual action will be investigated and tools to support wearers in making knitting-based garment interventions will be developed. While the main focus is an increase in personal ‘fashion wellbeing’, it can be argued that individual making activity would also bring collective sustainability benefits.
Update – the panel approved my proposal with some minor changes to the wording. Hurrah!