spinhandspun designs

Giant VaSquid Complete!

Giant VaSquid with Removeable Eyes for Easy-Access Handling

I’ve finished my squid-cozy for the 2010 Vaksa Cozy Contest. It has been knitted and felted in 100% pure Merino wool. The legs and tentacles are lined with purple flannel underbellies, then stuffed, and I have wet-felted its removable eye from raw roving fibers. That said, my fish probably want their fish tank accessories back…


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.

“Reserve A King His Space”

The nice thing about felted materials is that they stick to rough surfaces, such as this ancient beast of a tree. Once the king of the forest, this beloved fir was struck by lightning a number of years ago, though Star Islanders (Cass Lake, MN) still trek through the heavily wooded Chippewa National forest to observe its majesty.

The scene is jarring in comparison to this cozy’s originally site-specific intention (and also inspiration), an abandoned K-Mart construction site:

The cozy was originally designed to fit over the top of industrial Reserved Parking signs, and will be transported to an urban landscape in the fall.tree

Dave Cole or The Knitting Machine

Dave Cole

Dave Cole deconstructs the process of knitting itself by utilizing unlikely materials, such as extension cords and shredded American dollars in place of wool, and poles and fork lifts in place of needles. While we associate many of his materials (i.e. kevlar, shotguns, iron, and fiberglass) with pain, aggression, and violence, themes of comfort and domesticity often dominate his sculptures.

Cole’s work simultaneously evokes tension and humor. Visual puns are common, for example in Money Dress and Electric Blanket, as are flags and symbols of war. The domestic process of knitting is often exaggerated or made hyper-masculine.

In a 2008 ArtForum reviewed Cole’s solo show at the Judi Rotenberg Gallery stating, “Dave Cole blurs the lines between homespun and manufactures, innocent and subversive, nostalgic and postindustrial.” In essence, overall effect is to complicate our sense of security in the home by forcing us to confront war and capitalism in a domestic context.

Dave Cole, “Kevlar Onesie,” 2008, Kevlar (Used Gulf War Bullet Proof Vest) cut, sewn, and hand knit.

Knitting with Loaded Shotguns (safeties off), 2008. Spun statuary bronze w/ 12 guage shotguns. 72″ x 66″ 10″

Dave Cole, “The Money Dress,” 2006, one-thousand one-dollar bills hand cut and knit into continuous strands and re-knit in pattern of a Vera Wang Gown.

Dave Cole, “The Knitting Machine,” 2006, construction excavators, utility poles, acrylic felt and mixed media. Installation view from MASS MoCA.