Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Are You Ready For a Preview?

In about three weeks I'll be heading to France - the land that brought you such knitting marvels as berets, Tchanguès stilt knitters, Les Tricoteuses of the French Revolution, and that fabulous interpreter of Icelandic tradition, Hélène Magnússon. Who knows what yarn-related wonders I'll unearth on my trip? I'm excited to find out.

Before I go, I thought I'd give you a a couple of nuggets to nosh on, while you wait out summer's swelter for the advent of Knitting Around the World.

"French" Knitting
The simple wooden spool around which children have been wrapping wool for ages has more names than you can count on three hands: Knitting Nancy, Knitting Jenny, Knitting Nelly, Knitting Nana, Knitting Nobby, Knitting Noddy, Bizzy Lizzy, Corker, Strick Susel, Knitting Bob, Knitting Doll, Muhroom, Flower and Bee Toy Knitter, Peg knitter, and of paramount interest to us here, French Knitter. Whatever the moniker, the tool accomplishes the pretty little function of creating a tube of wool...which...has an enormous variety of uses. 

Such as seen in the work of French-born sculptor and installation artist Françoise Dupré:

My concern is with the everyday and the "art of making in the everyday" concept developed by the sociologist Michel de Certeau, she tells us in Knitting Around the World. [Such] concerns have brought me to work with textile materials and processes, and in contexts where the practice of making objects continues to be seen as an integral part of the individual and communal sense of identity.

Two examples of Dupré's work are:

de fil en aiguille...snáth nasc (Ireland, 2003-2004). This was a collaborative knitted project [in which] the knitting was used to create a floor installation inspired by the [Museum of Modern Art/Dublin]'s formal garden. It brought together different kinds of knitting: French (spool) knitting and Irish knitting stitches used in the traditional Aran sweater.

Visions of Fujaan. Photos courtesy of Françoise Dupré
Fujaan (London, 2005). This was a collective French (spool) knitting project with the London-based Somali women's group Back to Basics...[which] was used by participants to create small vessels/baskets which were then joined together to make a totemic sculpture, a Brancusi textile version of the Endless Column.

Want to know more about Dupré, "French" Knitting and how it got its name? All will be revealed, on October 11!

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