LECTURE Yarns and Lines: New Directions in Hand Knitting

by - Monday, May 16, 2011

2011 Maiwa Textile Symposium Lecture

Alison Ellen     $15
Friday September 30 - 7:30 pm
Net Loft Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

What is the role of the hand-knitted stitch in the modern world? The answer to this question forms the basis for Alison Ellen’s lecture. In the world of hand knitting, tradition, technique, method, and material move from functional expressions of culture to flexible forms that exist as clothing, furnishings, or sculpture.

In this illustrated talk, Alison Ellen will guide the audience through a variety of inspirational works made by exceptional designers. She will also introduce and discuss her own work, speaking about the origin and development of her ideas.

Traditions in hand knitting from around the world will be presented, including different knitting methods. Alison will look at how stitches can be used aesthetically for decoration and functionally for shaping. Colour knitting will be examined as will knitting with different materials for different effects. Finished works such as clothing, furnishings, and sculptural pieces will be considered, and Alison will explain how the flexibility of the technique can produce both miniature pieces and works of enormous scale.

Alison Ellen

Having trained in weaving and textile design at Surrey Institute of Art and Design, Farnham, and worked with hand-printed textiles, Alison Ellen began designing and making hand knitwear in 1980. This background has enabled her to approach knitting as a way of constructing both a fabric and a 3-dimensional shape, exploring what the technique can do to alter the drape, thickness, and stretch of the material.

As well as an enjoyment of colour, texture, and pattern, Alison explores shaping through the structure of knitting, designing clothes knitted all in one piece with emphasis on construction. Her ideas for textures and colours are sourced from the surrounding countryside, gardens, landscape drawings, and museums. Designs for shapes are sometimes influenced by studies of ethnic dress from around the world.

Alison has taught in the UK for the past twenty-five years. Her teaching has stimulated more research into technique and history, inspired further explorations into design, and led to the publication of three books on hand knitting. www.alisonellenhandknits.co.uk

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