Sunday, 15 January 2012

Wooly Exploits

Yarn bombing Rheghed

Yesterday I went to Rheghed in Penrith to see their new exhibition, Wonder of Wool and the Art of Knit and Stitch. The exhibition features some of the top contemporary artists and practitioners using wool in the UK, including Freddie Robbins, Deirdre Nelson (one of my favourite artists) and Rachel Matthews. I've been really looking forward to this exhibition as I love all things stitchy and using traditional 'crafts' in art is kind of my thing.

There was a really diverse range of work in the show which was both its advantage and disadvantage. It was great to see so many different pieces and approaches but it did mean that the exhibition didn't really feel very cohesive, the common thread being the material rather than the concept. At times it felt like looking at a disparate collection of art works rather than a curated exhibition. However, it is still a very interesting show with high quality works and it is great to see shows of this type being put together. One thing that I think would have helped would have been more accompanying information. All the pieces were titled and credited and there was a clipboard you could take round with more information but I would have liked to have seen a bit more information with the works or an accompanying catalogue.

Of the work on show I particularly enjoyed Donna Wilson's animated knitted adventure 'I am Ahab.' A clever and highly entertaining combination of cute and gory gently prods the viewer into questioning the low value traditionally placed on the materials and techniques employed. Similarly, Freddie Robbins knitted portraits of female serial killers houses 'Houses of Crime' asks us to question the feminine as something purely soft, gentle and without threat.

Link to the Rheghed website: http://www.rheged.com/wow-wonder-wool-and-art-knit-and-stitch-0

As well as the exhibition Rheghed were also encouraging people to yarn bomb the centre, I had brought a piece of my knitting with me specially and put it up on a sad looking pillar. There were a few other bits up and I hope that over the course of the exhibition more people will join in. I'm taking my Heathlands textiles group to see the show soon so I will be able to see then how the knitted take-over is going! There were also several small 'flocks' of pom-pom sheep, part of the Flock project run by Eden Arts that I've also got my textiles group involved with.

Link to Eden Arts Flock page: http://www.edenarts.co.uk/portfolio/flock/

Flock at Rheghed

The Heathlands Flock


My piece of knitting is done in a chunky Jacob sheep wool using 10mm needles. I chose a traditional feather and fan pattern and added a row of eyelets down each side of the knitting so I could lace it onto a pillar, which I did. I also incorporated some ribbon and lace for added textural interest.

In situ

Detail of the lacing

Stitch detail

Feather and Fan pattern

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