This site began as a 2013, to document my research into machine knitting. It was the start of a significant shift in my practise an an artist.
I usually work with video, and only came across a knitting machine for the first time last year, whilst filming the NEPHRA knitting group in North Manchester. I was struck by the parallels between punchcards and film reels, stitches and pixels, and began to relate to it in terms of digital imaging as much as textiles. Further to this, I was introduced to examples of other artists who had hacked electronic knitting machines and developed software tools in order to send them digital images.
I’m very much standing on the shoulders of giants in using these tools, but I felt strongly that I could bring something to this field, not as a programmer, but as someone who works with digital tools, moving images, communities and contributions.
The initial project sought to:
- collate and share research on field of artists working with knitting / digital
- work with the NEPHRA knitting group to document our own practice and discussion around – digital / textiles, creating tutorials for techniques
- create of a large-scale knitted banner for the 8 Hour Day movement – PUNCHCARD ECONOMY, for exhibition at FACT Liverpool in December 2013
- develop proof of concepts for knitted animations and explore new approaches to making moving image textiles
From this I went on to create further knitting projects and collaborations (I will eventually add to this site).
In the meantime, you can read more about me and work, visit my website – http://portfolio.smeech.co.uk
This project was kindly supported by the Arts Council of England.
Punchcard Economy was commissioned by FACT, Liverpool