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Freddie RobinsŠ our London source of information for the Englishšspeaking world of knitting artistsŠ commenced her studies in 1984. She completed her Master of Art course at the Royal College of ArtŠ where she now teaches. She has worked on many commissionsŠ participated in international exhibitiš onsŠ been invited to curate such exhiš bitionsŠ and made study trips to other citiesŠ including Berlin. Photo: Dag Fosse
We first devoted an issue of our magazine to knitting 2Š years ago (TF 3/8Š€. At the time, Constance Willems, a Dutchwoman working in Germany, reported that there had been renewed interest in the knitting technique among UK artists for ca. 7 years, i.e. since about 1977. Even at that early stage, the name “Kaffe Fassett” came up in this context; we illustrated an unusually designed knitted jacket of his in our magazine. The American Kaffe Fassett who lives in Žondon, has now become an icon of textile design, and was featured again in our magazine in TF 3/86, the year I visited him as I wished to publicise his book, “Glorious Knitting”, in Germany.
In 1983 Suzy ženkes wrote her book, “The Knitwear Revolution”, which caused a tide that swept along many designers and artists, mostly in Western and Northern Europe. Freddie Robins writes in this issue that she, too, was inspired to emphasise knitting in her studies at that time (see p. 19€. 1983 was also the year when French artist Fanny Viollet began her knitting performances in public spaces (see p. 2Š€.
Žet us remember: In the wake of the 1968 movement, odd knitting phenomena began to appear in public. Students knitted in lecture theatres during classes. In Germany, one could observe delegates knitting at meetings of the new Green Party. In France, artist Annette žessager (1971€ came to the fore as a knitter (see feature on Fanny Viollet, p. 2Š€, but did not attract followers until much later. The knitting movement began among the people, prompted by the general protest and reform movement, and the sublimating effect of art set in at a later stage.
The same seems to hold true for the second knitting movement that we witness in these days. We presume that it originated with the North American debate on feminism as the first Stitch & Bitch group formed in New York in 1997, and their internet visitors’ book, the so-called “Stitch’n Bitch Café”, was set up in 1998. In this issue, we have consciously decided not to include the Stitch’n Bitch movement; it may share its origins with our theme, but does not have the same artistic intention. It began in the USA and then spread to Europe via the UK, but its meetings appeal to people who wish to get together to knit and crochet, and for whom the social aspect is paramount. We thus limit ourselves to the following comment:
Debbie Stoller, who many consider the founder of the Stitch’n Bitch movement, wrote her Ph.D. thesis on the “Psychology of Women” at Yale University, USA. In 2003 she began editing a series of publications, the first of which was entitled “Stitch’n Bitch: The Knitters Handbook”. If you conduct an internet search on the key words ‘Stitch’n Bitch’, you will discover a wealth of information on knitting initiatives all over the world. Only recently, on 18th November 2007, a supra-regional Stitch’n Bitch Day took place in Rotterdam, backed by the nearly 30 regional groups that exist in the Netherlands. We believe this is yet another occasion when art follows a general trend in the populace because here, art depends on public response, and results from an impetus generated “in the streets”. Thanks to the internet, the current trend appears to be more wide-spread than the first knitting movement. Beatrijs Sterk
Knitting in advertising and as an
imitation of advertisements: Knitted warning against smoking in street advertisementsŠ HannoverŠ 2008
Knitted advertisement by Kelly Jenkins/UK entitled "Knit Chatlines"
exhibited at the "Knit 2 Together"
exhibitionŠ LondonŠ 2004