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Angharad Thomas

The Glove Project

Dr Angharad Thomas

Affiliation: The Knitting and Crochet Guild, UK

Keywords: Making, designing, skill

Conference activity: Presentation Thurs 10th July, Workshop Fri 11th July, Pop Up Exhibition Trelissick House

Project summary:

The Glove Project includes design, making, blogging and historical research, resulting in the production of about 20 pairs of hand knitted gloves, alongside sketchbooks, interviews and conference papers.

The gloves are made by hand, but the project relies on electronic and digital technologies, some examples being:

  • Sourcing patterns, materials and historic examples on line
  • Sourcing information and advice has been facilitated through Ravelry, the wiki for knitters and crocheters
  • The knittingloves blog, documents progress and connects to other knitters.

The design philosophy underpinning this project draws its inspiration from makers and design thinkers, primarily Eva Zeisel, with her roots in production ceramics and Anni Albers whose Modernist stance informed her woven textiles. David Pye’s conceptualisations of workmanship, as those of certainty and risk are also relevant.

Knitting has been at the forefront of the making movement, said to be a response to the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001, as the ultimate comfort activity. This has been largely led by self taught knitters who use web tools, such as Ravelry and YouTube to learn, teach and refine new techniques and increase skill levels. The use of these tools has enabled them to establish themselves as significant figures in the knitting landscape with little or no formal design education. Much information on the making process is shared through blogs, Ravelry and Twitter. In response to the growth of knitting and other crafts, small producers of all types of textile materials have grown up, selling through web tools including eBay, Etsy and PayPal. Makers and consumers have been thus been brought closer together.

Using the same media, specialist areas of knitting such as the patterned gloves can now be made in any location and the results shared, renewing old skills.

References:

Albers, A. (1962), On designing. Connecticut: Wesleyan U.P.

Pye, D. W. (1968), The Nature and art of workmanship: pp. x. 101. pl. 31. University Press: Cambridge.

Zeisel, E. (2004), On design : the magic language of things. Woodstock, N.Y. ; London: Overlook.

One question that arises from your project: Are the processes of design and making in this project similar to those in other fields? If so, can comparable processes be identified?

Full paper:

Thomas, A. (2014),The Glove Project: Designing, making and researching. In K. Bunnell & J. Marshall (Eds.), All Makers Now: Craft Values in 21st Century Production, International Conference Proceedings, Autonomatic Research Group, Falmouth University, 10/11 July 2014 (pp. 155 – 158). Falmouth University, ISBN 978-0-9544187-9-3

AMN2014_Thomas