Monday, June 22, 2009

Knitting Sprawl

After several weeks of leisurely gardening, dyeing, spinning and knitting, it is time to get down to brass tacks. I have a big project to get underway and the time to do it is now.

Knitting Sprawl is an idea that has been cooking in my head for a couple of years. It comes from some ideas that came up during the time The House Museum was active and I was thinking about what makes a community and how new development affects ideas surrounding the notion of community. This was coupled with observations made about my sister's experience moving into a new development in Massachusetts. She began with an idea that this would be her family's dream home, something completely their own from Day 1. Unfortunately, they had all sorts of troubles from Day 1 and the dream was, at times, a nightmare. I wondered how many others have had that experience.

Using my sister as a guinea pig, we went up to her house and stayed for several days while I photographed and made some videotapes. Click here for my youtube debut.

Also, I started collecting aerial photographs taken of various suburbs with a notion to translate them into knitting patterns. My first attempts were technical failures, but I didn't give up on the idea. In fact, as time went on, the whole project seemed to be becoming more of a collection of ideas and projects that sprawled across the horizon like so many McMansions.

I knew that to carry out all these ideas I need to be able to travel around and speak with people and knit and take pictures.

Enter the Canada Council. They placed their faith in me with a generous project grant so that I can travel across Canada, meet with people, knit and take pictures.

It makes the most sense to start in the east and work westward, so in August, we will travel to just outside of St. John's with the goal of connecting with people. And when I say "people" what I mean is "knitters". Knitters already tend to get together and talk about things, so it seems natural to tap into this readymade network. My purpose is to stimulate conversation about the communities where people live: what do they love? what do they hate? and especially to ask the question "where/what do you think the center is in your community?"

I have already learned that the topic is filled with regional differences and subtleties. I have already learned that I should never, ever call Mount Pearl a suburb of St. John's. And I never, ever will, I swear! It has set me thinking that perhaps each region needs it's own knit or needlework project in response.

But perhaps I have said enough already.

Do you live near to St. John's? Would you be willing to host a knit together in August? Do you live in another region of Canada and want to participate? Please let me know - thehousemuseum(at)

1 comment:

LABANAN said...

Hi - I live in Prospect Bay, Nova Scotia - a community under the umbrella (a leaky stupid umbrella) of Halifax. I'm a knitter, writer, psychotherapist blogger - and would love to meet you - love the water tower cozy - that is fantastic. How about a stove out of steel wool? OK - just kidding. I like obsessive projects of any kind so I'll meet you at the bridges in Halifax and we'll design a bridge dreamcatcher!!! Or how about at the graineries or maybe a ferry project. Yah! Or YES this is it - a cozy for the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove - Perfect madness.
please contact me - I'm in!!!
Jan Morrison