Knitted Buildings

George and Elizabeth

George and Elizabeth

A Building I Don't Like But Will Miss When It Is Not There

A Building I Don't Like But Will Miss When It Is Not There

Another View

Another View

Parade

Parade

The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour

Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and Ladders

Self-Storage Blanket

Self-Storage Blanket

Although I had previously done some knitting based on a built structure, having made a tank top inspired by the patterns of a rusting gas storage tower some years earlier, I had not thought much about the concept again prior to starting the Knitted Buildings series. The idea for the first wall-mounted piece, George and Elizabeth, came when I noticed that the blue of generic plastic bags exactly matched the blue of St George's tower. It occurred to me that I could use 'plarn' (plastic yarn) made from these bags to make a knitted representation of the building. At that point I intended the piece to be something relatively easy I could do while I resolved some problems with another project but then I got completely sidetracked as I began to see the possibilities.

Knitting of course lends itself well to the geometric patterns of buildings, particularly modernist buildings, and I have used a technique of varying needle size across the pieces to create perspective. Whilst the knitting techniques have been relatively easy to develop, if fiddly to do, working out how to mount the pieces for display has been very much a case of trial and error, with the method evolving as I have gone along. Currently I have arrived at a technique of hand-stitching the knitted fabric to a cloth backing, with cardboard inserts for additional stiffening and wooden battens for hanging.

The Leicester buildings I have chosen to depict are ones I see regularly on routes that I need to walk, that are part of the character of their areas and the city as a whole. I see these buildings as being a bit like people I see in my local area that I recognise but don't know. By recreating them in that most domestic of crafts I hope to convey the sense of homeliness and familiarity that I feel when I see these buildings.

A different approach was required when I was commissioned to produce a piece of work based on Sheffeld's Park Hill flats, a building that I did not have the same sort of personal experience of. In any case a single view could not really do justice to such a vast structure. The final piece, 'Snakes and Ladders' is an imagined view based on photo collages, in which I attempted to distil the visual essence of Park Hill.

The most recently completed piece, 'Self-Storage Blanket' went back to the idea from the original tank top, to use a building as a flat pattern on a functional item ? although in the end the finished piece turned out to be so heavy it isn't actually functional at all.