Details of the installation of Social knitwork, at Social Scaffolding, at Create@#8, Shepton Mallet, 19 April - 7 May 2023
(Please visit the Social knitwork, Shepton Mallet Social Engagement page for documentation of co-creation and participation)
and this is how it looked on Day 12! (Click for the full images)
What a transformation!
It was thrilling to see how the net changed day by day, as visitors tied, wove and plaited strips of torn, used sheets into it; some visitors added knitting and crochet, and lots made pom poms with me. Many people also wrote their thoughts about the installation onto brown luggage labels and tied them to the net too. Click for more about the socially engaged aspects of Social knitwork in Shepton Mallet.
Here are more images of the space on Day 1, just after I had installed it:
It was installed site-responsively in an internal room in the empty shop. The room had a doorway and quirky windows plus two changing rooms with long white curtains made with scaffolding poles. It had just 3 hanging, bare light bulbs and pale pink, bare plaster walls. It was perfect!
I installed my three Parts of me 2021 sculptures in the changing cubicles, suspended with chains and partly obscured by the curtains. I used one large, black piece of garden netting, suspended from the ceiling with black elastic, to create a den-like space. It was like sculotuing with netting and elastic.
I then installed 6 other knitted Made flesh sculptures around the outside of the den so that they were visible through the net. I was really pleased with it. It was aesthetically interesting and immersive.
And here are more photos of the transformation of Social knitwork after just 12 days:
I wanted the den to be accessible to wheelchair users and others, so, to begin with, the only way in and out of the installation was through the den. It was then possible to explore the hanging sculptures in the other spaces by walking through the den. Because the net was suspended with elastic, it was very flexible, so could have accommodated even a large motorised chair. However, I didn't anticipate that visitors would tie up the entrance to the den with long knitted pieces that I had provided - on the first day! I decided that I'd open up a new entrance, to the left of the doorway. It wasn't as satisfactory a solution as the original entrance, as the way through wasn't as wide, but people who were happy and able to crouch or crawl could still get into the den the original way.
Something else I didn't anticipate, is how heavy the net would become with all the additions. I knew that the form of the den would change with each addition, but, in fact after just a few days, the net slumped so much that it was becoming hard to sit in it, or to walk through it. It was easily fixed, though, by tying the up several of the elastic fixings. Obviously, for the next iteration, as the net will be even heavier, I'll need to consider how to hang it so that this doesn't happen again.