Knitting as Performance
I first heard about textile artist and designer Liz Collins a few months ago when a friend sent me a link about an installation/performance piece called Knitting Nation Phase Seven, that Collins was showing at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. I was fascinated by her site-specific installations and how she used knitting machines and the act of knitting as the performance itself. Collins uses these performances as commentary on our interaction with machines, global manufacturing, trade, labor, and fashion. The resulting works are just as visually rich as they are conceptually.
In one piece, Knitting Nation Phase Three (2006), Collins inlisted the help of other “performers”, or knitters, to create the work. They all sat up on the mezzanine of the space and were told to knit with one color of Collins choice and two of their own. What appeared over hours of knitting was a large colorful blanket of fabric which explored the intuition of the knitters just as much as the direction of the artist.
To learn more about this piece and others in the series click here and for more about the artist click here.