(Jeff_L) #1


Ian mc Innes

lated thought and action, a physical manifestation
of an individual synthesis and interpretation and
response to the symposium. The knitting made
direct connections with delegates because of its
familiarity as a textile and process. This provided a
powerful tool for communication. I found it chal-
lenging to verbalize the process and product, it
demanded an external communication of what had
become increasingly a deep internal immersion and
non-verbal activity. Explaining the relevance of the
activity and the pieces provided a more acute reflec-
tion. I saw the knitting process as a useful set of
tools with which to explore thinking through mak-
ing and making through thinking.
The success of the outcomes was not reliant
solely on the materials and process of manufacture.
It was also due, in part, to the environment and the
language. The way of thinking was not familiar to
me as a starting point for the origination of ideas in
drawing through knitting. There was also the chal-
lenge of time, tasking the narration in response to an
intense and fast paced symposium with what is fun-
damentally a slow process in shaping thoughts and
commentary into linear structures. I found it intimi-
dating, inspiring and motivating and sufficiently
supportive to take risks and discover new ways of
thinking and making through the act of doing.
I felt a tension emerged between the activity and
the context in which it was initiated. The process
of making and the qualities being developed took
on their own momentum and context. There was a
point at which the activity took over and started to
reveal interesting qualities in their own right, which
in turn informed further work.
To produce a single piece would be the equiva-
lent of writing an essay, which would be demanding
whilst at the same time assimilating the content of
individual presentations. I therefore aimed to pro-
duce knitted “notes”, a series of linear structures,
each one individual and yet relating to one another
and contributing to a whole that aimed to capture
the mood and themes presented at the symposium.
The linear structures communicated graphic and
tactile qualities and a physical dimension in the
performance properties of yarns in different forms
of varied sizes (Fig 9).
Suspending myself in another intellectual,
conceptual domain stimulated and stretched my
existing knowledge, skills, and understanding.
It challenged my routine behaviours of drawing
through knitting. The time constraints and the

intense activity required a high level of attention in
listening, assimilating, reflecting and producing. I
viewed the outcomes in a new context, valuing the
thinking and origination from an alternative per-
The author acknowledges the invaluable contri-
bution of Senior students and staff from the School
of Textiles and Design, Heriot Watt University,
Edinburgh: Colin Turnbull, Knit Production Tech-
nician and senior students: Laura Burton, Danielle
Gray, Cath Hodgkinson and Stephanie Laird and
staff at Columbia University Teachers College.

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