Friday, 4 August 2017

hand / machine - after thoughts

hand / machine - a final year project 

A few months has passed and I finally feel able to put into words the whirlwind that was my final year at Gray's. My project, Hand/Machine, was a labour of love and stress that I am so glad is over, but simultaneously I am restless to create again.

At the beginning of the year, what I thought I would make is not anywhere near what I actually made, but when I look at the outcomes, what was photographed comes across exactly how I pictured it in my mind as I was making it in the last few months of the year!

Initially, I envisaged a largely sustainably sourced collection and one focused on digital and tech waste, but by the end the influences of my dissertation research and contextual research of knitwear and artists morphed my project into one that combines hand and machine knitting in such a way as to invoke a sense of nostalgia and a need to touch it - almost recreating an ugly jumper knitted by a grandmother. 

By incorporating two distinct methods of making - a "commercial" approach and a "conceptual" approach, each half of the collection involved differing processes and timescales that really pushed me. 

With the machine knitted pieces - two jumpers with "trails" within their patterning - I followed a more commercial approach that involved more planning and actual forethought into the design and shape. The patterning developed from the mark making I had fun doing based on the photographs of unnoticed man made objects in the environment. Wiggles, lines and dots were placed within each section of the jumper in a completely random manner, following a pattern for a jumper I made up before hand. 

In the more conceptual approach, I started with a large amount of soft, merino wool in shades that linked with my mark making, and started knitting with 10mm and 12mm circular knitting needles. The jumper and cardigan were knitted bit by bit, photographed after a period of knitting so I could place it on the body and work out where the piece was going to go. I enjoyed this process so much as I was able to change the plan of knitting as I went, molding and shaping the two pieces into something simultaneously nostalgic and traditional as well as innovative and fresh.

By the time the fashion show on the 12th and 13th May came around, I had just 40 hours to finish off half the collection and add in knitted pants and socks(!) It was one of the most stressful periods of my life so far, but luckily I did not shake too much while hand-joining socks together, and the show went very well. All I know is I do not plan on staying up for 40 straight hours ever again in my life.

The last few weeks of fourth year were much calmer, involving making a sub collection derived from hand/machine, and sorting paper work and portfolio work into something more cohesive than the mess that was in my brain. 

Hand/Machine has been such a fun project, and I can't wait to continue looking in depth at nostalgia and knitting when I move down to London to study MA Textiles at the Royal College of Art. I am already looking at Hand/Machine and seeing ways to improve it... I hope to make more knitted soft things that provoke excitement and enthusiasm for knitting as a craft and art from those that look at it.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

wiggle wire - 4th year thoughts


fourth year thoughts

Looking at the importance of sustainability within fashion, and the increasing amount of digital and electrical waste (WEEE) because of the rise of technology, and juxtaposing that with a deceptively traditional form of craft - knit - and other yarn crafts like crochet and weave - to highlight these problems.

By immersing myself in the collecting of materials from charity shops, people I know, scrap yards and companies,  I hope to create a collection that is fully composed of found materials that would have been thrown away otherwise. 

Sunday, 8 May 2016

internship at eribe knitwear

 internship at eribe knitwear - february to end of april 2016
drying Illume yoke sweaters in the sun 
Gray's School of Art is part of Robert Gordon University, and because of RGU being very well known for graduate prospects and pushing for placements across the board, the ability for me to find places to apply for placement was there. I found my placement on my own merit, and based it around where I was able to stay cheaply (I have a family member who lives in the area).

I was very lucky to be welcomed into the Eribe family completely - I was considered an important member of the team and was given lots of opportunities to learn new skills and techniques as well as learning about Eribe and how a small knitwear company works in the Scottish textile and clothes industry as a whole. 

Looking back on my placement, I've realised just how beneficial overall it has been for me. I've learned the foundation skill of truly knowing the knit stitch and how it works, how knitwear relates with the body, and more technical skills using machinery, sewing and finishing that will serve me well not only next year for my graduate collection but into the workplace as well. 

samples created during my time at eribe. wiggly knit & neck sample
I felt part of the team, and because of that I felt comfortable asking questions and meant I did not miss out on any potential learning opportunities. I was able to use some time to work on samples to showcase my skills as well as being taught new ones, such as using 2 colour knitting and grafting.

Most importantly, I feel that the whole experience overall was realistic, it taught me what can really happen in industry and because of that has not clouded anything over, it has enabled me to think clearly about my career dreams and makes me want to push further to achieve my dreams!

I now feel confident enough to pursue this as a career, and know that I will be able to turn my potential ideas and concepts for my final year into a reality thanks to the skills and techniques I have learnt in hand knit production.

fairisle yoke 2 colour swatch

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

glitch knit II

Looking at the way Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) televisions use pixels thrown at the screen to form whole images, this knitwear concept aims to translate the knit stitch into the pixel - the 2D becoming the 3D and vice versa. 

The knit stitch only functions in conjunction with other knit stitches, in much the same way that a pixel can only form a complete picture with many other pixels. In this respect, the stitch and the pixel can be compared and manipulated. 

Juxtaposed with this is the glitches that are found in any technological system, both in older CRT televisions and in modern technology. In many ways, glitches are intrinsic to computer systems, even if they are not wanted. Is it possible to turn what can be construed normally as a glitch - a mistake - into something that is not a mistake? 

Additionally, as consumers turn away from older technology it is left by the wayside as newer and modern products are produced at a dizzying rate. I wanted to not only aestheticise the old but also use it in order to showcase how old technology can still be considered innovative by using an old CRT television from a charity shop (only £5) as a creative tool in order to develop this piece. 

Inspired by the digital knit stitch - the pixel - and the ways it can be manipulated through the form of glitches and mistakes, this is a look at how the traditional and the digital can collide.

Testing the limits and capabilities of what the digital can do and using knit machines to create deliberate and repetitive mistakes in order to create a whole that is definitively not a mistake, is a continuing theme looked at in this project as a way to reduce waste and to add personalisation.

It is impossible to knit something (by hand and domestic machine) without making mistakes such as dropped stitches, odd loops and accidental lace - if they were left in and championed would that reduce the amount of wasted yarn, re-dos and the time required of the person that was making it? Within hand knitting mistakes tell stories and add to the definitive “personality” of a garment. Could deliberate mistakes in a production atmosphere create an increased sense of personalisation and humanity within the industry that is infamous for it’s repetitiveness?