Wool and People

Tricks with Old Tools

Practice presentation College December 2013
Vicky, Christiane and Claire working with a Lucette

Some years ago, during the annual “Woolfest” in Cockermouth near Carlisle, I found at the stand off the Mulberry Dyer (http://www.mulberrydyer.co.uk/) a tool called ‘Lucette’.

Lucet
Lucite

This tool predates French Knitting and was used for braiding a wide range of everyday items.

In my research on the internet I found a very interesting range of design, some with a handle, some without like the one above.

From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopaedia

lucet is a tool used in cord making or braiding which is believed to date back to the Viking[1] and Medieval[2] periods, when it was used to create cords that were used on clothing,[1] or to hang items from the belt.[3][4] Lucet cord is square, strong, and slightly springy. It closely resembles knitted I-cord or the cord produced on a knitting spool. Lucet cord is formed by a series of loop like knots, and therefore will not unravel if cut. Unlike other braiding techniques such as kumihimofinger-loop braiding or plaiting, where the threads are of a finite length, lucetted braids can be created without pre-measuring threads and so it is a technique suited for very long cords.

Archaeological finds and a literary description of lucets strongly suggest that its use declined after the 12th century,[2] but was revived in the 17th century.[5] Its use waned again in the early 19th century.[4]

A modern lucet fork, like that pictured, is normally made of wood, with two prongs at one end and a handle on the other. It may also have a hole through which the cord can be pulled. Medieval lucets, in contrast, appear to be double-pronged, straight-sided implements, often made of bone.[6] Some were shaped from hollowed bones, left tubular, presumably so that the cord could be drawn through the centre hole.[2]

In a seminar, where we were asked to show an example of our practice, I decided to demonstrate how to use a Lucette.

Two of my fellow students, Claire and Vicky agreed to volunteer and received a crash course in “lucetting”!!!

We used wool from the Vicarage Farm in Penryn, which I had bought some time ago at the Falmouth Farmers Market.

My two volunteers learned the trick of the trade very quickly and enjoyed the new techniques.

I was inspired by the artist Francoise Dupre, whose work incorporates French knitting and participation.

Participation and FRench Knitting
Participation and FRench Knitting
Interview with Francoise Dupre
Interview with Francoise Dupre
Francoise Dupre, spiral
Francoise Dupre, Spiral
Irish Knitting at the Musuem in Dublin
Irish Knitting at the Musuem in Dublin

de fil en aiguille snaith nasc, 2004
French knitting, Four needle knitting, Irish knitting stitches, wide range of yarns including plastic, cotton and wool and digital prints
Installation at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
The project is based on social interaction and creative collaboration between artist and participants. The design of the installation is inspired by the Museum Formal Garden and Irish knitting.
-Floor piece: 4m x 4m x 10cm-
-Wall piece: 209 video stills, 6cm x 4.5cm-
-Mixed yarns and digital prints-

From: http://nikkiwhittingham.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/francoise-dupre/

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Reading list

Deep ecology for the twenty-first century

Front Cover
Shambhala, 24 Jan 1995 – Nature – 488 pages
Every day, in newspapers and on television, we read and hear about the ongoing destruction of the environment: the greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion, deforestation, and air and water pollution. Deep Ecology offers a solution to the environmental crisis through a radical shift in human consciousness—a fundamental change in the way people relate with the environment. Instead of thinking of nature as a resource to be used for human needs, Deep Ecology argues that the true value of nature is intrinsic and independent of its utility. Emerging in the 1980s as an influential philosophical, social, and political movement, Deep Ecology has shaped the environmental debate among leading activists and policymakers—from former Vice-President Al Gore to Dave Forman, cofounder of Earth First!Deep Ecology for the Twenty-First Century contains thirty-nine articles by the leading writers and thinkers in the filed, offering a comprehensive array of perspectives on this new approach to environmentalism, exploring:•  The basic philosophy of Deep Ecology.
•  Its roots in the writings of Henry David Thoreau, John Muir and Rachel Carson.
•  The relationship of Deep Ecology to social ecology, ecofeminism, the Greens, and New Age futurism.
•  How Deep Ecology as a way of life is exemplified by two important environmentalists: poet Gary Snyder and Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess.
•  The philosophical dimensions of this environmental movement by its leading theorist.
•  The politics of ecological sustainability and the social and political implications of Deep Ecology for the next century.

Ecofeminist Natures:

Race, Gender, Feminist Theory, and Political Action

Front Cover
Routledge, 1997 – Social Science – 260 pages
Examining the development of ecofeminism from the 1980s antimilitarist movement to an internationalist ecofeminism in the 1990s, Sturgeon explores the ecofeminist notions of gender, race, and nature. She moves from detailed historical investigations of important manifestations of US ecofeminism to a broad analysis of international environmental politics.

Race, Gender, Feminist Theory, and Political Action

Front Cover
Indiana University Press, 1996 – Social Science – 270 pages

Here feminist philosophers and ecofeminist scholars pursue the connections between feminism and environmentalism. Topics include the ecofeminist ethic; the role of patriarchal concepts in perpetuating the domination of women and nature; the grassroots origins and character of a thoughtful ecofeminism; the “ecofeminism-deep ecology debate” in environmental philosophy; deep ecological treatment of animal rights and the omission of ecofeminist analyses of the domination of animals, abortion, and nuclear deterrence; and ways ecofeminism and the science of ecology are or could be engaged in complementary, supportive projects.

The contributors are Carol J. Adams, Carol H. Cantrell, Jim Cheney, Chris Cuomo, Deane Curtin, Victoria Davion, Roger J. H. King, Stephanie Lahar, Patricia Jagentowicz Mills, Patrick D. Murphy, Val Plumwood, Catherine Roach, Robert Sessions, Deborah Slicer, and Karen J. Warren.

Women healing earth:

Third World women on ecology, feminism, and religion

Front Cover
Orbis Books, 1996 – Religion – 186 pages

Ecofeminism

Front Cover

Greta Gaard

Temple University Press, 3 Sep 2010 – Nature – 304 pages
Drawing on the insights of ecology, feminism, and socialism, ecofeminism’s basic premise is that the ideology that authorizes oppression based on race, class, gender, sexuality, physical abilities, and species is the same ideology that sanctions the oppression of nature. In this collection of essays, feminist scholars and activists discuss the relationships among human begins, the natural environment, and nonhuman animals. They reject the nature/culture dualism of patriarchal thought and locate animals and humans within nature. The goal of these twelve articles is to contribute to the evolving dialogue among feminists, ecofeminists, animal liberationists, deep ecologists, and social ecologists in an effort to create a sustainable lifestyle for all inhabitants of the earth. Among the issues addressed are the conflicts between Green politics and ecofeminism, various applications of ecofeminist theory, the relationship of animal liberation to ecofeminism, harmful implications of the romanticized woman-nature association in Western culture, and cultural limitations of ecofeminism.

Ecofeminism:

Women, Culture, Nature (Google eBook)

Front Cover

Karen J. Warren

Indiana University Press, 22 May 1997 – Nature – 472 pages

“… provides readers with a much-needed cross-cultural and multidisciplinary perspective on ecofeminist activism and scholarship.” — Iris

“… a very important contribution to the literature on ecological feminism.” — Ethics

“I think the unique collection of so many different perspectives will help to push readers out of their disciplinary views and work to bring theory and practice together in meaningful ways…. an excellent resource for scholars and teachers…” — Teaching Philosophy

Here the potential strengths and weaknesses of the growing ecofeminist movement are critically assessed by scholars in a variety of academic disciplines and vocations, including anthropology, biology, chemical engineering, education, political science, recreation and leisure studies, sociology, and political organizing.

Timeless Simplicity:

Creative Living in a Consumer Society

Front Cover
Green Books, 1 Jan 2001 – Nature – 107 pages

This is a book about simplicity – not destitution, parsimoniousness or self-denial, but the restoration of wealth in the midst of an afflence in which we are starving the spirit. It is a book about the advantages of living a less cluttered, less stressful life than that which has become the norm in the overcrowded and manic-paced consuming nations. It is a book about having less and enjoying more, enjoying time to do the work you love, enjoying time to spend with your family, enjoying time to pursue creative projects, enjoying time for good eating, enjoying time just to be.

The Joy of Stitch

The Japanese Inspiration

Vintage Sashiko
Vintage Sashiko

I have been reading in Jane Brocket’s book ‘The Gentle Art of Stitchning’ and came across Sashiko Embroidery. I amfazinted by the imagges of old, traditionalle Sashiko, which was used for darning and embellishing at the same time. I love the look of the worn and faded indigo dyed cloth, embroidered with white cotton yarn. I had come across these images before when I was researching about the Japanese  Wabi-Sabi philoshophy . So many aspects of this tradition appeal to me, it the simplicity of the stitch, the matrial and the underlying idea to use it for mending and caring.

The Joy of Stitch

Thought about Music and Stitch

Music and Stitch

Music is a very important aspect in my life; I enjoy music in many forms and variations. No matter if it is recorded music (CD’s, online etc) or life music, concerts, gigs, making music with friends. I enjoy listing to music while I work with my hands , at home or when I am out to concerts or local music events. I am known for taking knitting/stitching along with me, where I go.

The initial idea to link music with my Stitching Project, came through a visit to the local St. Mary’s church. The atmosphere, up on the balcony by the window, was the first place where I filmed or rather was filmed while stitching. A Nigel Wicken, a friend of mine, is the organist of this church and we experimented with music and did some recording.

 S1230006

Stitching at the Church

In this situation the music was a beautiful piece by Arvo Paert “mirror in the mirror”.

A very beautiful, serene atmosphere was created. Something was missing. There was a distant between the setting by the window and the musician at the organ. A beginning, but not qiute the dialogue I was looking for.

The next collaboration happened with Bill Goodyear in his flat. Bill improvised on his guitar while being aware of my presence, I was listing to him, while stitching. In the film and photography the dialogue is not visible.


DSC00039

At Bill’s flat

We both enjoyed the experience and the next step was to go outside to Mousehole Beach.

Mousehole Beach February 2013Mousehole Beach

But the music was still not “visible”.

Only when I went out with Jamie and suddenly had the idea of us sitting together the quite dialogues became visible.

 DSC00054

Jamie Mills and me in the Field

After this evening it became clear to me that I wanted to show the dialogue, the collaboration in my documentation.

Bill and I spent some time at Priest Cove, St. Just and sat together, playing and stitching, it felt just like a beginning. Bill said afterwards, he felt like weaving in and out from being ‘lost’ in his music and the awareness of my presence. In a subtle way he follow my movement.

At Priest Cove
At Priest Cove with Bill Goodyear

Another meeting was with Ruth Bolton and her three daughters, Jessie, Iris and Amy.   The youngest one preferred to be behind the camera: it was a wonderful experience how the flute (Jessie), the cello (Iris) and the violin (Ruth) wove together  with my Stitching.

 Ruth Boulton and the girls

Ruth, Jessie and Iris Bolton

After this afternoon, I became to realize that I want to start a further exploration into a dialogue between Music and Stitch.

The next step would be to start a new piece of cloth and response to the music with the Stitches.

The Joy of Stitch

Conceptual Research

The Conceptual Research

 My practice evolved out of my research for my dissertation ‘Stitch, Yarn and People’. I had of with researching artists who used Textile material and techniques in their work. Soon I discovered the aspect of Participation with the use of Textile techniques/materials.

My practice evolved out of my research for my dissertation ‘Stitch, Yarn and People’. I had of with researching artists who used Textile material and techniques in their work. Soon I discovered the aspect of Participation with the use of Textile techniques/materials.

Conversations with a Mark Leahy, a performance artist, brought me into contact with Richard Powell and the group ‘halfangel’ (www.halfangel.ie/knitting.ie/theknittingmap.html‎).

Also with Gareth Ballyn and his project ‘evenfeed’ (www.garethballyn.co.uk/2012/01/even-feed/‎)

Both were a defining part of my dissertation and I have been writing in my blog about them. Both were projects, though very different in scale and duration, which were the greatest influence for me.

These projects made me aware that the emphasis for me lies in the process of the activity, the slow process of embroidery/stitch, the embedded concerns regarding ecological responsibility and sustainability.

The first step was to choose an ongoing project for myself, stitching on pieces of Hemp with wool yarn, which is produced in Britain.Over time three pieces of stitch on cloth evolved.

three piecesThree Pieces Stitch on Hemp Cloth, 2013-05-28

 I documented the process, the journey and reflection about it through video, photography and writing. In the process the following aspects of my work became relevant: 

 The Activity – embroidery/stitching as a durational process

The Participation – sharing the activity through projects and events

The Collaboration – creating dialogues with other artists, like musicians, as in this body of work.

Influential were also ideas from aesthetics and concerns, based in Zen philosophy and Japanese Craft design.

Wabi-Sabi

Excerpt from Wikipedia

Wabi-Sabi (?) Represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centrered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.[1] It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin?), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō?), the other two being suffering (苦 ku?) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空 kū?).

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetryasperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

From the Blog:   http://donnawatsonart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/wabi-sabi-poetry.html

Japanuese Textiles
Mended coat by Junko Oki

Accept the inevitable… Life is fleeting and transient…. impermanent. That is why Zen teaches one to live in the moment… focus on the intrinsic small details… and get rid of the unnecessary.

 That is why Zen and Wabi-Sabi are so tied to nature. Truth comes from observing nature.

Also the writing of Tim Ingold (LINES – A short History of Lines and Creative Entanglements) was informative.

Looking back, I realized that my greatest inspiration during the past academic year came from conversation with other artist, painters, textile artists and musicians about process, sensibilities towards mindfulness, holistic approaches, environmental responsibilities, slowness and appreciation of being in the moment.

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

From the Blog: http://donnawatsonart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/wabi-sabi-poetry.html

Accept the inevitable… life is fleeting and transient…. Impermanent.

That is why Zen teaches one to live in the moment… focus on the intrinsic small details… And get rid of the unnecessary.

That is why Zen and Wabi-Sabi are so tied to nature. Truth comes from observing nature Also the writing of Tim Ingold (LINES – A short History of Lines and Creative Entanglements) was informative.

Looking back, I realized that my greatest inspiration during the past academic year came from conversation with other artist, painters, textile artists and musicians about process, sensibilities towards mindfulness, holistic approaches, environmental responsibilities, slowness and appreciation of being in the moment.

The Joy of Stitch

Walking the Talk

00019J
In the Canteen

Sometimes it is good to “walk the talk”!

After traveling from Penzance to Univesity Falmouth, dealing with Reprograhics, a tutorial with Gillian Wylde and lunch, it just flet the right thing to do, just to sit for an hour and stitch, while listing to some music! (The Bookshop Band, my current favorite!). When I look back at my documentation of my journey in Stitch, I realize, that it took me a bit of time to really take the Stitch piece on as my ‘companions! At the beginning I stitch only in ‘special moments’, at home and while filming. Only when I started the ‘Small One’ and the ‘Middle one’, I really started to carry them around with me, stitching on the train on every journey, they went to Germany, to London, to Totnes, several times to Truro.

three pieces
The Three Pieces (detail)

Over the weekend I was thinking, that the Graduation show is really not the end of this work! The three pieces will have a break, I will continue working with them, when they come home! Before they go into the show next week Friday, I will take a final photo, which will be only a recording of that moment! This is a good feeling, a feeling of continuity! 

Stitching in public is a really different ball game compared with other activities such as Knitting, or Crochet. It draws more attention to it, the is not a day or an outing without someone coming up to me, complimenting, commenting and inquiring, sometimes I tell people of the context, sometimes I keep it vague, saying I just enjoy doing it! 

Here is another bit about “Walking the Talk” from last week:

Today I have locked myself out of my work, by leaving my laptop charger at the college last night! 

So I decide to take some time out and went to the Poolside Cafe in Penzance and I here I am sitting right now and stitching! And breathing through the disappointment, the frustration and the upset. Better to accept the situation as it is and make the most of it.

Enjoying a coffee, watching the sea, breathing and stitching!

By the Jubilee Pool
By the Jubilee Pool
The Joy of Stitch

Mindfulness and Stitching

Thich Nhath Hanh
Thich Nhath Hanh

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”

― Thich Nhat HanhBeing Peace

Being mindful, while stitching, brings the dimension to it, I am looking for.

The book “Happiness” by Thich Nhath Hanh is a great inspiration on this way.

happiness

It makes a great difference when I stitch and calm my mind. I love the term “Monkey Mind”, it feels friendly, just something that is and sometimes it needs very gentle calming down, a chance to be grounded and relax. I can be kind to my own Monkey Mind and Stitching help’s me to find these moments when breathe and stitch and breathe and smile and with every Stitch come back to breathing in and out.

The Small One
The Small One

Stitching brings me into the present when I take care of my mind.

Mindfulness, Slowness, Environmental Responsibility and Connetedness with other people are foundation aspects in my work.