Wednesday, December 15, 2010


On our last night of our class, looked back at the semester and reviewed briefly the various techniques (and thus underlying concepts) we have learned about in Introduction to Fiber.  We started the semester learning to create 'a line' or single filament by spinning. We learned about creating cloth by matting or enmeshing fibers together in felting.  We learned about building cloth using an interlocking of two sets of yarns or threads in weaving - 'filling' the warp with weft yarns in tapestry. Tonight, we looked at yet another way of building cloth by looping - in this case knitting (though crochet and lace would be included.) We built cloth using two pairs of needles and a single line. Following are a few images that relate to the history of knitting, as well as contemporary artists utilizing this technique:

Freddie Robinson Hand of God

Knit Knit Home Page

Ann Wilson's Topographies

Dave Cole's Knitting With Loaded Shotgun (Safeties Off) 2008

Freddie Robinson's I'm So Angry banner

Annet Messager, Boarders

Egyptian Socks, circa 300-500 AD

Danish artist Marianne Jørgensen created this pink tank cozy after she requested that knitters from all over the world send her knitted pink squares. She then filmed the process of stitching these squares together over the top of a WW1 tank as an artistic criticism of the Danes involvement in Iraq.

Body Count Mittens. For more info, and a pattern, visit:

A result of Cat Mazza's project MicroRevolt. Artist and activist Cat Mazza is the founder of microRevolt. This collective of "craftivists" develops projects which combine knitting with machines, and digital social networks to investigate and initiate discussion about sweatshop labour.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ellen Dissanayake

"Ellen Dissanayake is an independent scholar and lecturer who brings together theories about aesthetics, human development, psychology, and evolutionary biology in order to understand why humans have an "aesthetic imagination." Arguing that there are fundamental similarities between play, ritual, fantasy, and the more highly valued activity of "art-making," Dissanayake maintains that all of these behaviors of "making special" have an essential evolutionary value. In so doing, she argues that the humanities are not separate from, but are rather a part of, the human sciences. 
Cover of Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why by Ellen Dissanayake...
Her three books, What Is Art For (1988), Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why (1995), and Art and Intimacy: How the Arts Began (2000), explore the consequences of the argument she makes in "The Core of Art," that the need to "make special" is part of humanity's genetic profile. ...Dissanayake asks her readers to rethink the place of art in their lives and to consider the possibility that the ongoing survival of the species may depend on the ability of its members to "make special."

-excerpted from The New Humanities Reader (