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KnitKnit: Profiles + Projects from Knitting's New Wave Hardcover – September 1, 2007
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…readers are guaranteed to be inspired, no matter where their interests lie. (HC edition) --American Craft magazine
KnitKnit gets across that knitting has power as a social force and a political one, but no one represented here forgets that most importantly of all knitting is beautiful. (HC ed.) --Crafts magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
SABRINA GSCHWANDTNER holds a BA in art/semiotics from Brown University and an MFA from Bard College. Her artwork has been exhibited internationally at such venues as the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, and the Fleming Museum, Vermont. She is the founder of KnitKnit, a biannual artists publication dedicated to the intersection of traditional handcraft and contemporary art. Gschwandtner lives in New York City. You can visit her website at www.knitknit.net.
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One reviewer remarked that this book is more of a coffee table book, a fair assessment in that it is a beautifully constructed art book that ALSO has very considerable bios on the artist's. And quite frankly no one in this book leads a dull life, so it might be surprising to many that a book that centers on knitting could be such an engaging read.
As a knitter I was intrigued and amazed as well as daunted by how imaginative and to what extremes these artists go to achieve their "vision". As a history-buff I thought it was brilliant that Ms. Gschwandtner had the foresight to capture the lives as well as the product of these individuals for posterity. (Ms. Gschwandtner's intro which includes her account of starting her own zine, KnitKnit, is also a great read on finding inspiration in/on the most unlikeliest of ways.)
Patterns are included as each artist contributes one as an example of their work. It is more of a fun invite to emulate their work rather than a typical "practical" knit pattern.
There is much to discover and enjoy in Knit Knit and you will most likely find yourself doing a lot of re-reads as well as accepting the occasional challenge to knit one on.
The book includes a compilation of individual artists with descriptions and photos of their particular interests and designs. I saw a show of knitting artists in New York City about three years ago at the Museum of Arts and Crafts on 59th St. and some of the artists in that show are in this book. One is Althea Merback and I remember being mesmerized by her work when I saw the show. She makes the tiniest of tiny objects, primarily mittens, gloves, boots, and sweaters. They are beautiful and fascinating. Imagine, she knits with needles using silk sewing thread!
You might be familiar with Joelle Hoverson if you have ever seen the beautiful ad for Purl Soho yarns. The ad intrigued me so much that I had to place a few orders to their store. They carry beautiful yarns and also fabrics. A replication of the ad and a description of how she came to open the store is included in this book.
Erika Knight's beautiful drawings with yarn and fabric samples is an example of crafter as artist. Art can be utilitarian, not just something just to look at, listen to or read. It can be worn, put on a table, or cover furniture.
Catherine Lowe seemed to me like the penultimate knitter's knitter. In her description it states that "A typical knitting pattern written by Catherine Lowe is about 35 pages long; it can be as many as seventy." Her patterns are designed so that there is no sewing. She "has developed ways to knit and shape in one gesture, wherein separate pieces are joined on the needles". She has been gracious enough to provide a pattern for a Japanese inspired Hippari Jacket that is only five pages long.
Bridget Marin once worked at the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, she learned techniques for combining science and art. Some of her knitting creations show this connection. If you have never visited this museum in Los Angeles, do. It is an amazing place! I love Bridget's knitted dollhouse with people and landscape, sculpted people and gloves with painted red fingernails.
Cat Mazza is a designer of knitting software, in particular KnitPro. She is also the force behind the creation of a blanket that is to be presented to the Nike CEO requesting the company incorporate fair labor practices. This blanket incorporates knitting squares from people around the world. As she says, "I like to combine aesthetics with activism".
Mandy McIntosh's work and the still picture from her film Donkey Skin, "examines the symbolism in traditional Aran knitting". As many other artists in this book she has had a varied background in design and knitting. She is now a filmmaker that incorporates themes about knitting in her film.
I've been a fan of Debbie New for a long time. She is a creator of "garments, sculptures, vessels, even interpretations of scientific concepts..." Debbie invented "a speech reader for deaf babies. The device emitted a frequency range of colors in response to the frequency of sounds". She is currently working on ways to visualize sound and has invented an instrument to "interpret the touch of knitted fabric." "When knitters touch the fabric , their motions are interpreted into ethereal sound"
I could go on and on about the other artists included in this book. They all have one thing in common. They push the limits of knitting. They create art that is beyond the standard pattern. They may combine knitting and science, knitting and music, knitting and film or they may use they unique creativity to demonstrate knitting in a way we may never have imagined.
This beautiful book is amazing and inspiring. I recommend it for anyone who is a real lover of knitting.