Friday, November 21, 2008

KnitKnit by Sabrina Gschwandtner

Conceived, curated and produced by artist Sabrina Gschwandtner, KnitKnit reflects a growing cultural interest in traditional crafts informed by a contemporary, critical perspective.

Traditional crafts offer a mode of working in which form and function are constantly engaged, situating them squarely in the center of contemporary art polemics. Perhaps as a reaction against both the homogeneity of mass market culture and the contemporary art that responds to it by mimicking its slick and seamless forms, young artists are discovering and creating craft and craft-like practices that have both utility and accessibility. Heirs to the do-it-yourself legacy of hippy, punk rock, and zine cultures, this new generation of craft artists are not necessarily against technology but rather employ existent materials, techniques, and sensibilities in a more immediate, hands on approach to art making. Knitknit acts not only as a forum for these ideas and practices with interviews, reviews, profiles and articles but also as an instructive tool (Issue #2 consisted entirely of arts and crafts making directions and recipes). In addition to the publication, Knitknit also produces, often in collaboration with other organizations, a wide range of other activities, including exhibitions, film and video screenings, and musical performances.

KnitKnit issues 1-7 with their limited edition covers are now included in the permanent collections of the Fine Arts Library, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University and The Museum of Modern Art, New York- anyone can make an appointment with those institutions to read the KnitKnits there.

The KnitKnit book was published in September 2007.

sabrina gschwandtner lives in New York City and is the publisher/editor of KnitKnit. She graduated with honors from Brown University with a degree in art/semiotics, and also studied with Harvard Film Archive founder Vlada Petric at Harvard University, and with artist Valie Export at the Sommerakademie fur Bildende Kunst in Salzburg, Austria. Her work combines film, video and textiles in sculptural installations, and has been shown at the 1999 Venice Biennale, Deitch Projects, Art Basel Miami Beach, the Providence Convergence Arts Festival, the Pennsylvania School of Art and Design, and the Vienna Filmmuseum, among other venues. She has curated film and video screenings for Ocularis, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), and the Guild and Greyshkul Gallery.

New-York artist and KnitKnit creator, Sabrina Gschwandtner, remarked on the weird gap between the world of contemporary craft practice and that of critical debate. Since at least 2002 and the appearance of the first issue of her now-famous zine, Gschwandtner has been inspired by knitting’s public, social and inherently critical dimension. “Knitting can be anything from a form of graffiti, gift, performance, and sculpture,” she says “it is an empowering tool that allows people to think of social space.”

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Isabel Berglund - City of Stitches "X-Small"

...A Sweater Lovely as a Tree...

Isabel Berglund’s City of Stitches, installed at the Charlottenborg Exhibition Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark (2005).

For this fairly massive undertaking, the Copenhagen-based artist enlisted the help of fourteen fellow knitting enthusiasts to craft the colossal structure using size 17 (12.75mm) needles and twenty strands of yarn per stitch.

Isabel Berglund (
b. 1971, fashion designer, took an MA in Fashion Knitwear from Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design, London in 2000) has created a niche in Danish Fashion with her playfully sculptured knitwear . The installation City of Stitches X- small is a further development of City of Stitches, which was created for the Charlottenborg Fall Exhibit 2004. From being a small room in the room the work has been transformed to an over dimensional room stuffed into the small Gallery RACA. In the front window the work will appear to have been thrown up against the window falling out at the by passer. If by passer chooses to stop up and look at what is going on inside she/he will get the impression of an over dimensional room with full size clothes growing out of the walls perhaps with people stuck in them. Inside the clothes is growing wild on the walls luring the audience to come and play in the surrealistic dress-up box. With her usual feel for volume and the absurd Isabel Berglund has created a universe, which is as soft and inviting as whipped cream and yet rather disquieting as a spider web waiting to get people in the yarn. The knitted room is full of such ambiguities: joke and contemplation, inside and outside, aesthetics and interactive experience.


Knitting Nation by Liz Collins

KNITTING NATION is ongoing, collaborative performance and site-specific installation project. It explores aspects of textile and apparel manufacturing, laying bare the process of making machine knitted fabric. The project functions as a commentary on how humans interact with machines, global manufacturing, trade and labor, iconography, and fashion. It should create awareness of the physicality involved in making fabric and clothing, and aims to raise questions about our culture of excess.

This concept for performance and process emerged in a series of conversations with friend and fellow fashion designer Gary Graham starting in 2002. As independent and emerging designers working in the fashion industry, we were constantly faced with challenges and frustrations in the quest to build our brands.

We felt that we needed to create an outlet for our aggressions and a platform to reveal the raw, creative energy and the labor-intensive processes that were part of our work. We brainstormed ideas about performances and projects, and proceeded to work collaboratively and successfully on some garments, but we did not perform while making them. Instead, we continued to devote our time to our fashion businesses; but the drive to perform my knitting stayed with me.

Liz Collins is an artist and designer, recognized internationally for her use of machine knitting to create ground-breaking clothing, textiles, and 3-D installations.

After five years as an independent designer of seasonal ready-to-wear collections in New York City, Collins returned to her alma mater, Rhode Island School of Design, as an Assistant Professor in the Textile Department. In addition to teaching, Collins currently designs knitwear under her own label, which she sells at trunk sales and select boutiques in New York and Tokyo. She also collaborates with other designers, producing signature knit pieces and collections for them.

more text on her homepage:

RUTH CROSS- re-thinking the process of hand-knitting

Re-thinking the process of hand-knitting, Ruth Cross has created a collection of work from garments & accessories to homeware.

RUTH CROSS is the company name used by Ruth Bridgeman, born 1981, who started RUTH CROSS in 2004. The name RUTH CROSS was chosen in homage to her grandmother and acknowledgement that the company is a group effort involving around 50 hand knitters based across Britain and not just involving Ruth herself.

Ruth Bridgeman graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Fashion Textile Design with Business Studies. During this time she gained experience working for cashmere knit company TSE in New York, a textile trend and design studio in Como, Italy and Paul Harnden Shoemakers in the UK, all of whom she considers vital to her inspiration and decision to start RUTH CROSS.

Ethically Ruth Cross has very strong policies regarding working conditions and production. Everything is made to order by hand in the UK and finished in the studio (using only natural materials), the pieces are then all washed using environmentally friendly detergents and dried naturally. With the exception of our linen (Italian) and our fairtrade woven cotton (Indian) all the materials we use are produced in the UK. This means almost no miles are used in the process and no waste is produced.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

agnès bernet

daniel auf der mauer, FW 2006/07

rika matsubayashi, SS 2007

AGNÈS BERNET creates jewelry and knit accessories
in the spirit of «Haute Couture»:
handmade pieces in limited editions

University of Applied Arts, Vienna (1996-2002).
After collaborating with other designers,
she launches her own brand in 2004.
Lives and works in Paris

Den Schritt in die französische Hauptstadt machte Bernet zunächst als Assistentin von Gaspard Yurkievich, bald erfolgte aber die Gründung eines eigenen Labels Agnès Bernet und damit der Schritt zur kreativen Eigenständigkeit. Seit vier Jahren verfolgt sie in diesem Rahmen die konsequente Weiterentwicklung einer Arbeitsweise am Körper, welche hin zum äußerst Exklusiven, Kleinteiligen, Auserlesenen geht.


reality studio

Cover of Lookbook AW 08/09

Embrace pullover

Hide me knit jacket

Back of Lookbook

Autumn/Winter 08/09 CONVERSATION

For the AW0809 collection I was taking a closer look at every day life. Different people, different stories, different meanings surrounded by a reality of interaction.
An interaction between form and function, pattern and fabric, man and woman, stranger and friend, you and me! I´m intrigued by putting these elements into a relation, to lead them to converse. Unification (harmony) or to contrast (conflict) can be a result. The woman I´m always thinking about unifies it in one person. She is strong and powerful with masculine parts but she has a deep femininity too! UNISONO!

Reality Studio
Virchowstr. 1
10249 Berlin

Und so beschreibt Svenja Specht selbst ihre Kollektionen: "Ich entwerfe keine Last-Minute-Trends mit kurzfristigem Verfallsdatum, sondern lege vielmehr Wert auf eine konstante Stilentwicklung mit eigener Handschrift. Manchmal hole ich Musterteile und Schnitte vergangener Kollektionen wieder hervor, die ich verworfen hatte, und auf einmal passen sie mit ein paar Veränderungen wunderbar in die neue Kollektion. Meine Mode würde ich als eigenwillig, zum Teil androgyn und asiatisch beeinflusst beschreiben. ... "

aus Intro #152 (August 2007)