Cat Tails and French Knitting

Lots of people visiting the Masters show have spent time talking and reminiscing about French Knitting, otherwise known as spool knitting or as I’m discovering ‘cat tails’ around Eastern Scotland (not sure if that is how it is actually spelt!).  Lots of people seem to remember Knitting Nancies and also remember granny knocking nails into the top of a wooden bobbin to make a knitting nancy.  Its a shame we can’t do the same today – all my bobbins are plastic and it is impossible to knock nails in.  As with everything today though, it is possible to buy ready made knitting nancies/french knitting machine/knitting dollies (and many other names).

Should we buy these?  Part of the fun for me was making the dolly before actually using it to knit.  It taught me to be inventive – if I wanted to do something I had to work out how instead of just buying something.  Would we be better as a society if we had to think about things a little more, perhaps remaining a little closer to our environment in doing so?

These are some of the reflections that emerged from people’s memories, from these memories being triggered by the act of finger knitting.    What do you think?


First day of show

Well, today is the first full day of the Masters show at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee.  After a very busy preview evening last night, it has been a little quieter, which is probably a good thing given the copious amount of alcohol that was consumed during what was a very happy evening.  All our hard work seems to have paid off.

Today was down to business.  Although it was quiet up until lunchtime,  it became busier later on and a good number of new pieces of finger knitting found their way on to the installation.dayone1


Upcoming Masters Show 2016

A den is about privacy, about safety and about giving yourself a breathing space, whether alone or with a group, in a building or in the landscape.

In a woodland den you can look out through undergrowth and branches into the outside world while still retaining that sense of alone-ness. You can give yourself time to withdraw and space to think, exercise your imagination or just dream.

In my den, you also help to create it.  Use your finger-knitting skills, or come and learn the art of finger knitting to help make a portable den using a simple frame with many layers of finger knitted fronds.

Join in the conversation and be part of a bigger, ongoing project, a project which is about creativity, encounters with people, with place and the traces left behind.

This den will be on display at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (University of Dundee) between 19th and 28th August 2016.  Come and join in.

Anyone can finger knit

During the recently Diversion exhibition at Dundee University the studio I work in was opened up to  public.  Many people visited (sometimes accidentally while they were looking for somewhere else).  People of all ages were interested in my project den and I spent a lot of time talking and helping people to finger knit.  A few days later I received and envelope full of finger knitting from  family who had been visiting dundee to see grandpa.

I will add some photos soon.

I also had some really interesting debates about various aspects of art (and politics!) and many thanks  everyone who sat with a cup of tea taking part in these discussions.  This is what open  studios are about.

This den will be on show at end of August as part of the Masters show at  university of Dundee and early September at my home studio in perth as part of Perthshire Open Studios.