Sunday just over a week ago I was extraordinarily lucky.
Well; a few weeks before I was making a purchase at De Afstap in Amsterdam when I noticed on the counter a reference to an upcoming workshop/presentation by Christel Seyfarth.
Now you know where I am going from here, don’t you?
I have seen Christels work on the internet as many of us have, and I never thought I might see her work and hear her speak.
And now I have.
And what can I say – WOW!!!!! the photos don’t do her or her creations justice. But still WOW!!!!!
It was magic to hear her speak of her design process, her colour use, and the drivers from her natural environment on the island of Fanø off the coast of Denmark, and in particular the sea.
And of course I love that she starts something and is not always sure where it is going. Now that I really understand as that is very often what I do.
I also knit in the round.
I also knit with many many colours.
I have also said “not sure if it is working – then add some more colours, just keep going”
That however is as close as I get.
I never ever knit in the round and cut my work and finish it in the way that I saw on Sunday. STEEKS – EEEKKK.
I have never ever created a piece with a steek.
I have never ever cut my work.
I don’t even knit fair isle. That is nearly untrue, in the past I have knitted fair isle – when I had a knitting machine, ever so long ago. I also tried hand knitting fair isle when my kids were still kids, again a very long time ago. I abandoned it as a method when I discovered intarsia.
I did knit a waistcoat with facings, again many many years ago. I have never done that since.
But Christel is so passionate about her creations, her methods, her colours, and the sea that she might even draw me towards facings and steeks (eeekkk), but not fair isle. I already love the sea and colour.
And then there is that reef knot. I am not going to tell you about that though.
Do you know that even the shawls are knitted in the round with steeks? I am amazed by her skill, her finishing, her trims, edges, facings and the colours. I love the colours.
If you ever get the chance to listen to Christel speaking, and to see and touch and marvel at her designs, as well as to view her wonderful photographs of her island – Fanø, and of China and other places and things which have triggered designs for her. Then you must take up that opportunity. I am so glad that I did.
But then I have been a very lucky person.
We visited the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Pompidou Centre in Paris on the 8th January 2011 as part of a very short visit to Paris and we were very lucky to view “Celebrating the Female Artist at the Pompidou”
Marguerite Suozzi of The New York Times says “the sheer scope of elles@centrepompidou, a vast exhibit — over 500 works by 200 artists are on display — at the Centre Pompidou makes it noteworthy.”
Shown below photos that I took of 2 of the works by Niki de Saint Phalle – Crucifixion and La Mariée, both created in 1963.
There it is, I have been blithering on about communication and I missed a really great question from a lovely artist/designer on Facebook. Today I did something I have not done on Facebook before – I checked the tab “Just Others” and there was the question from May 2010.
The question was “Where can I learn more about your method of intarsia freeform knitting?”
Now that should have sprung out and said “Hey, Here I am”!!!, and I missed it.
There are books out there and much on the internet explaining Intarsia, but my free form Intarsia, there is no resource available as yet that I am aware of.
And so there is no single easy answer to the question, although I am working on an answer to it as I am putting together a book proposal.
For the design on the piece I consider the shape of the canvas, which might be a sweater or a cloak, or a jacket; and the person or exhibition for whom this piece is being created, and then I work to the idea or concept. In other pieces I might simply change the colours and yarn types as I feel, as I view what I am creating.
Very very basically, I sort yarns by colour, texture and weight (more or less as I don’t let the weight drive my work) and then I knit (play) always with the idea or concept in my mind or on the sketch.
The biggest hurdle for most knitters is to plan too much, and while I do plan, that is I have a canvas, which is the shape of the knitted piece, and concept and colour group, then I just knit.
I would love to run workshops on working with intarsia generally and including freeform work, or on “Playing with colour and yarn”. I hope I will have the opportunity to do that when I return to New Zealand.
I am working on a proposal for a book which will have basic knit designs, Instruction on working in the Intarsia method, a planned intarsia design for each knit design, as well as exercises to play with the yarns and colours and so go on to work on a free form intarsia design within the knitted design.
There is a lot work even in putting together a proposal as I am sure you all know, and of course I have to convince a publisher that it is worth their while.
The competiton was held by the Compendium Gallery in Devonport, New Zealand in 1992,
The Brief – To Create the Great New Zealand Cloak, My Piece – “Island” When I planned the cloak – I did want to include reference to Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, who created wonderful cloaks mostly of a rectangular shape with a woven tie at the shoulders or neck. Their cloaks were woven, usually of a flax fibre. The best and most valuable Maori cloaks included bird feathers, the most striking for me being those created with kiwi feathers. Some were all over feathers attached to the base woven flax cloak. The flax is dyed in a specific mud to get the very dark almost black colour in the work. The flax was woven in intricate geometric designs using the dyed black with the creamy natural fibre and their stories are woven into the designs in the cloaks.
My cloak was created in one piece from the bottom edge to the shoulders. It is an island from the sea to the sky with mountains, sea shore, surf, farm land etc, as best as I could represent a land from the sea. I considered adding a component relating to my own Viking heritage of the sea – but had decided that will be the basis of another cloak in the future.
The black stripe down the sides from the shoulders have linen tassels is to provide that link back to New Zealand Maori whose cloaks were the natural flax creamy colour with black tassels. A feathered cloak would not have tassels. My reference is in reverse – creamy linen tassels on black yarn strip. I called my piece “Island”, because New Zealand is made up a group of islands.
I feel that I created an art piece in the form of a cloak, an absolutely wearable cloak. It sits well and floats from the shoulders. It is light and warm and envelopes one in luxury. When you are wearing it and walk along the shape of it moves in light waves and ripples like the shallows on the sea shore. I am still delighted when I wear the cloak and am always delighted when it is borrowed as it has been many times. This cloak has attended an opera, music festivals, celebratory dinners, and graduations. A perfect piece.
This the link to my earlier story of The Great New Zealand Cloak” competition / exhibition – http://www.connielene.com/the-great-new-zealand-cloak-exhibition
When I created this cloak I decided that I was possibly an artist who knits.
I was wandering about the internet – which is remarkably easy to do – and I happened upon a blog I have not read before and there in was the challenge. Knit Sisters Blog – A year of knitting dangerously
Excerpt from the blog: and do follow the link above and read the rest. It is good reading.
Item 1 on the list is – Learn something new
…… However, there are a couple of techniques that I’d like to tackle this year: entrelac and twined knitting. These seem worthy goals. (Please do not unkindly point out that I have not included intarsia in this list; I feel that intarsia should not be asked of anyone.)
I will not be unkind regarding the exclusion of Intarsia.
I will however take umbrage at the vague suggestion that taking up intarsia as a challenge could be somehow “unworthy”
Now I really am in a state of distress, my heart is going crazy. How could any form of knitting be considered unworthy? If you had remained silent, I would never have know of your view with regard to Intarsia.
Below are some points for Intarsia knitting which I personally regard as an important item in the arsenal of any knitter – especially the freeform colour work.
And I do have to say it again – I really want everyone to play with intarsia.
I do have to confess, even though I have done so many times before – I do have other knitting skills to be learnt on my list as well, such as the knitting of socks – (still on my to do list for 2010, and they were there in 2009 as well, and I am sad to say I have 2 IOU’s for 2 pairs of hand knitted red socks, for Best Beloved and Son) – and if you take up the challenge to knit a piece of freeform intarsia, I will add Entrelac and twined knitting to my list for 2010.
So to Knit Sister – Sarah
Take up the challenge – Knit dangerously with Intarsia please
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