spinhandspun designs

Laure Drogoul’s Amplified Knitting Orchestra

Laure Drogoul

Interactive artist Laure Drogoul conducts the art of knitting with an orchestra of amplified-needle instruments, and stitch-pattern scores.

The blonde 50-something New Yorker, has been knitting since childhood when her Polish grandmother, who didn’t speak English, taught her how. Because of the language barrier, Drogoul relied heavily on the sound of the needles to find her way through the process.

Roughly 10 years ago, Drogoul began attaching contact microphones to her knitting needles. After a few solo performances, she rallied a group of collaborators in her Baltimore shop front to perform the synchronized, knitted amplification of a sweater vest pattern she’d found in an old magazine.

Since then, the project has expanded and become even more interactive. In 2006, she packed a suitcase full of 10 skeins of yarn, and headed to a KnitKnit launch event at the New Museum for Contemporary Art in New York. The suitcase was placed amidst a circle of ten chairs, with each skein pulled out and attached to a set of needles. Participants were invited to sit down, knit for a while in synchrony, and come and go as they pleased. Though Drougal mixed a few echos and delays into the sound, she worked to “keep the sound close to the source.”

Drogoul has also used the internet to promote her concept, by networking a large-scale orchestra to the web during her 2007 Harvestworks residency. Ultimately, her goal is to expose knitting as a repetitive activity that connects us via sound. She dreams that one day we will be able to fashion a language from the sounds of knits and purls.

Drogoul is also the founder of the performance series The 14Karat Cabaret.


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